1. Research

Let Them Eat Cake

The one-time psych major in me loves that intersection of psychology and business, especially when it involves the chance to mess with people. A great example: "How to Lead Your Customer into Temptation" in Business 2.0 this month. Marketing professor Baba Shiv requires subjects to memorize a number, with the length varying, and then choose either cake or fruit salad.

Read the article for the result. I just like that the article includes a disclaimer:

Shiv admits that it would be dangerous–if not illegal–for marketers to use some of the tactics he’s found effective. For instance, the use of hypothetical questions is commonly employed by political marketers but could violate some consumer protection laws.

It’s like the quote from Spider-Man: "With great power comes great responsibility."

On a very tangentially related note, the dessert reference reminds me of a quote from Dr. Charles Dufour, the legendary professor who once taught at my alma mater. Dr. Dufour was explaning how correlation does not prove causation by noting that rates of ice cream sales and rape both go up in the summer. His example seemed original at the time, and it was a memorable one, though a Google search found 1.2 million pages where rape and ice cream are mentioned.

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Comments to: Let Them Eat Cake
  • Avatar
    May 9, 2006

    Don’t you hate when you find out a thought you embraced as orginal turns out to be an cliche. For example Chris Anderson must cringe at Long Tail.


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