Once a businessperson learns statistics, they finally realize that most people aren’t anything like “most people.”

Here’s what that means and why it’s important...
We think most people who interact with our business look a certain way. Most people are male. Most people are 18-24. Most people liked Jurassic Park.

These are averages, not majorities.
Averages are possible for completely random samples. The average color is gray or some awful shade of brown that you get when you mix all of the colors together.

How is the average color a color nobody ever uses?
And averages almost never represent majorities. If we look at how people shop at Walmart (making up an example), 1/3 of people might buy $10 of goods, 1/3 might buy $20 of goods and 1/3 might buy $120 worth of goods. These are clusters.
So the average customer buys $50 of goods???

No! Nobody bought $50!
Once we understand these fundamentals of statistics, we understand how rare it is for averages to be valid at all, and how rarer it is for averages to represent “most people” in any way whatsoever.
“Most people” and “the average person” are extremely dangerous concepts in a business. They paint pictures that are usually entirely untrue and not representative at all of reality.
Then we deliver marketing campaigns to people who don’t exist. We build products for people who don’t exist. We set strategies around customers and markets that don’t exist.
Teams who are precise in understanding real people and how to tell how much randomness or clustering is happening are playing on the next level.
Maybe discuss this with your team some time this week, audit your habits, and drive change. You’ll see an immediate shift in the quality of ideas and the impact of execution.

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More from @evanlapointe

28 Feb
PTO is a great approach to busting up the silly Pavlovian reward systems around “maximum busyness.”

But they need to be supplemented with equally effective systems for avoiding busyness while at work, too. Promotion needs a similar evolution. Here’s what I do...
It’s called OVP for opportunity, voice, promotion.

Most companies are PVO. We promote people first, which gives them voice and opportunity.

That’s why 82% of people promoted to any form of management fail. It’s a dumb way to go about it.
OVP flips this around.

We start with opening opportunity up to everyone. We have a wiki of our challenges, issues, obstacles, horizons. Anyone can contribute, define, research, or tackle.
Read 8 tweets
28 Feb
Generalizations are unintelligent by their nature. Here’s how to translate any generalization into actual, usable truth.

Start with this idea. Every generalization is a simplification of a statistic.

Men are taller than women.
Women are better at multitasking than men...
Behind those statements are statistics. They might look like...

...the average man is x’y” and the average woman is a’b”

And behind those averages are distributions, often normal distributions...
If it’s a normal distribution, we need to look at minimum and maximum values.

That’ll tell us how wide the distribution is, which will give us a sense of how “normal” average is. If there’s a wide distribution of heights, maybe only 5% of men are within a few inches of average.
Read 15 tweets
12 Jan
The CORE of a company is what you see when you take the cover off of it and look inside. It is the system of cause and effect that creates everything the company discusses and makes.

Here's how a company works and what you can do to make a company incredible...
1/5 First, companies have Roles, not missions.

A mission is like letting some dude point north. North isn't set by that dude's finger. It's set by the physical properties of our planet.

Missions are descriptions of supply with no regard to demand. That isn't how companies work.
A business must understand its Role. It must understand why the world is glad it exists, because businesses exist at the world's pleasure. Temporarily, they can game the world. But every day, that gets harder to do.
Read 24 tweets
11 Jan
The 2 main reasons leaders struggle (especially new ones):

1. They mistakenly believe that the people involved are better humans than they actually are.

2. They mistakenly believe that the people involved are worse humans than they actually are.

(+ a few more notes...)
Agreeable people tend to believe that everyone else is like them. Compassionate, cooperative, understanding, empathetic, able to think ahead about how choices affect other people.

They are wrong a [significant] percentage of the time.
When they are wrong, they get taken advantage of. It happens in negotiations, it happens with bosses who pretend to be caring, and it happens with employees whose consistent self-centeredness is wrongly forgiven with infinite second chances (rather than getting someone better).
Read 20 tweets
6 Jan
A really useful way to update your understanding of how the brain works:

Rather than left/right brain, it's important to add a third: center brain.

The inner brain is where you evaluate memory, relationships, and fear, to name a few.
When we make decisions, it's not just about logic vs creativity. It's the balance of logic, creativity, memory, relationships, and fear, at a minimum.
Most people that we call left-brained aren't left-brained at all. They are center-brained. They don't operate on logic, they operate on memory, which is entirely different.
Read 12 tweets
10 Dec 20
As a system, the brain is super complex. But there is linearity to how the brain works, and that makes things WAY simpler.

Here's what happens with sensory data in the brain, and what you can do about it...
First, the majority of sensory data hits the Thalamus. In a nutshell, the thalamus will assess novelty.

Ever read 8 pages of a book and can't remember a single word? Ever driven down the highway for 20 minutes and didn't really pay any attention to your surroundings?
When we see something interesting, the thalamus knows it.

So....is what you're saying or showing really interesting? Designed beautifully? Novel in a delightful way?

If not, you're putting their brains in highway mode.

That's the case for design. Not ROI....BRAINS.
Read 15 tweets

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