Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"He Who Can Do This Has the Whole World with Him"

Back in November of 2013, I posted about how to ask for a favor.  In a nutshell: make it so easy that people don't notice they're doing it.  This has clear implications for software design.

I just read that Cinemark went a step further: rewarding you for doing them a favor.

Now, I can't comment on the efficacy of this app, but I love the principle.  I'll again reference Dale Carnegie: "There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything... And that is by making the other person want to do it."  He further says: "So the only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it."

Let's think about the moviegoer with his phone on.  Sure, he may not want to disturb others in the cinema.  But when he gets a Tweet of a cat doing something funny (or Instagram buzzes with a picture of what his second cousin is having for breakfast) his personal desire suddenly trumps his concern for the rest of the audience.

Cinemark's tactic, then, is based on realizing that people care about their own desires much more than the desires of others.

Why has it been so hard to get people to behave in an environmentally-friendly way?  This same reason!  People care more about their personal inconvenience and/or expense than helping literally the rest of the planet by being green.

So what did Tesla do?  Did they market their cars as a way to help the environment?  No!  That would be appealing to the wrong desire.  They market their cars as high-performance status symbols.  If you go to right now, you'll see that the biggest statement on the front page is "THE HIGHEST SAFETY RATING IN AMERICA."

In other words, they are showing you how you can benefit yourself.  They know that you really care about that more than the environment.

So whether we are building software or marketing a product, we must realize that the only way to get people to do something we want is to give them what will benefit them personally.