Cost vs Benefit of Rioting

A big news topic right now are the London Riots, and it has got me thinking about why they happened and whether we can expect more of this around the world.

The simplest way to think about the riots is on an individual level. Why would someone like you or me go out on the street, cause damage and trouble for other people?

Having just watched this TED talk by Dan Ariely about why we (sometimes) cheat and steal. He made a very good point about Cost vs Benefit.

If you have nothing to lose and you are at the bottom of the food chain, then whatever you do, can only result in something “better” (for you).

This is the case for so many people in the UK (and around the world). We have been through a financial crisis, right now we are facing a second-round debt crisis. There are millions more people who are unemployed, living off the state – losing money they invested in their retirements and much worse. These people are at their wits end  - “nothing to lose”.

They would hesitate very little if they were presented with an opportunity to make their situation better – even if ever so slightly.

Therefore, what they need is a catalyst. At which stage they JUMP into the opportunity.

This is what I observe happening in London right now. The catalyst (whether true or false) was the provocative shooting of Mark Dugan. For a small group of people who had been abused by the police, UK government and even their own citizens, seeing this happen was a catalyst – they choose to act. A small group of people were the first movers, and it was from them that a riot was started.

From this small group a movement was formed – other people at the bottom merely had to join the movement and they could take advantage of many things that would make their lives “better”.

So the cost vs benefit analysis:

Cost: Jail time for rioting / looting (theft, vandalism).

Likelihood of getting caught prior to the riot: high.

Likelihood once riots had started: low

Benefit: Free TV’s, food, anything they they could steal. This makes life a lot better.

So prior to the riots, people had the choice to steal or just get by – but there would be a high chance they would get caught because they were on their own not in a large group. So the Cost > Benefit prior to the riots.

However, once the riots started and reached reasonable mass, there is a sense of anonymity in the group “I won’t be caught, because they won’t know it’s me.” So now, the probability of getting caught goes down and the Cost < Benefit once the riot protects your identity.

For this reason, more and more people are joining the riots and taking the opportunity to “improve” their situation without the risk of getting caught.

Now, I don’t think this is a London-only phenomenon. There are desperate people all over the world, the USA, Europe – never mind China, India and many other developing nations. So, the question remains…what will be the next catalyst?

What do you think about the London Riots and where they are headed?

Further reading:

When is Polarisation good?

This is more a question-blog than anything else, so please comment with your perspective below. It is also up on Quora so check out what’s going on there.

Polarisation is when you say or do something that creates a reaction that splits people into two or more groups.

When launching a business or cause, a marketing tactic that is quite often great to use is shock tactics or guerilla marketing. But, the result of this sort of tactic often results in polarisation – your audience splits up into two or more groups.

So, when launching a business, what factors must be considered regarding scare tactics and polarisation – state of the market, education of the customer, timing, brand etc?

Let me know if you need more information…see you in the comments :D

Bakers vs. Eaters

An eater is a person who sees a pie, and says “I want to eat as much of that pie as possible”. The pie is a finite thing, so “what I eat, someone else doesn’t eat. What someone else eats, I don’t eat. I need to eat as much as possible.”

A baker, on the other hand, see the world as a potential for baking MORE pies and baking BIGGER pies. A baker believes that a rising tide floats all boats.

Bakers are more trustworthy. They make it so that everybody can win.

What do you do: bake or eat? Tell us in the comments below, we want to know why!

Big thanks to Guy Kawasaki for this analogy, and for helping enchant the world. Guy is the author of Enchantment: The art of changing Hearts, Minds and Actions. I have read this book, courtesy of Sam Dalton (thanks!) and it has been my favourite book this year – let me know if you would like to borrow it before you buy it.

Accepting gifts. A lesson I need to learn.

As an entrepreneur, I have gone through and continue to go through ups-and-downs.

When I have an up, I am surprisingly giving of time, money, coffees etc.

When I have a down, I am also giving, but only of time – I no longer have money for coffees.

As a result of this happening in my life, I have developed some habits which make me a real arse!

Imagine, you really like me (god forbid!). We’re having a meeting and we grab a coffee (or in my case a water). You offer to buy me a coffee, and I make up some excuse that I don’t want it, need it etc. When, really, I could do with a coffee. You struggle to try to convince me to let you buy me a coffee and eventually…lose. What did I do there?

I took away your opportunity to do something good.

For so long, I have thought what I was doing was a good thing. Until, a great friend and mentor of mine, Alan Froggatt, pointed this out to me.

Good people enjoy doing favours, because we think that one day they will allow us to ask for a favour. But, as Alan puts it, I am “stopping the circle of gratitude” by not receiving.

My reluctance to accept gifts is problematic. So why do I do it?

The true and honest answer has been that I didn’t want to be tied to the favour. When I am in a down, I feel I have no way to repay the “debt”. But that is no good – it’s damaging to my friendships and relationships. But, it’s a fear.

So, from now on, I will accept that I need to change. I will be open to receiving gifts and to owing favours.

By the way, I’d like you to take responsibility in kicking my arse when I forget this lesson, and buy me a coffee ;)

I would like to thank Alan Froggatt, once again, for opening my eyes to this! He has changed my life in many ways this year, and I encourage you to say hi to him on Twitter.

I’m the biggest idiot in the room

I know bugger all.

You know a lot.

I want to know what you know and learn from you.

So I listen.

…especially to your comments below.

Day 2, 3 and 4 of the New Lifestyle

Well, it’s been a hectic last couple of days. If nothing else, this new routine has revitalised me and motivated me back in to “extreme” action.

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride with the polyphasic sleep routine. Most of all it’s been really difficult in the early hours of the morning when everything is dark and quiet. Here is the time I find it hardest to stay awake.

In fact, between 1-5am when I should be staying up but am really tired, I have decided to take an additional nap. This has worked really well. Firstly, because some of my day time naps – where I often don’t get to sleep – are then “transferred” to this early morning “extra” nap. Secondly, it’s made such a difference – when I wake up after the 5am nap, I am very refreshed.

Unfortunately, this morning I kind of messed up the routine – I set my alarm on my phone, but, alas, it was on silent and neglected to wake me. So I got a full 3.5 hour nap :P

Admittedly, this was great too. Albeit, it has messed up the rest of my day.

I wanted to address some comments that have been made over the past few days.

“There is now way you can get enough sleep in 30 minutes, you have to get to sleep first.” Admittedly, this was true the first 36 hours, it was really difficult to get to sleep in the first 30 minutes. But as you “tire” yourself from lack of sleep, this becomes gradually easier. Now, I get to sleep in between 5 – 10 minutes, and dream for about 20. Which leads me to another comment.

“2-3 hours sleep can’t be enough to be healthy and restful.” I can see why this would be the logical view on things. Since we progressed from baby to child, we have been consistently trained to sleep for longer periods of time. This is called monophasic sleep. And this is when we get to rest. But in reality, you only need REM sleep to reboot and refresh your brain. This is what we know as dreams. When you sleep at night your mind goes through cycles where you shift into and out of the dream state. You don’t really need ALL that sleep, only the REM sleep.

Polyphasic sleep tries to cut out all the unnecessary sleep and get the real action – REM sleep. It takes some time to “train” your mind, because what usually happens when you go to sleep monophasically, is that it takes time before you reach REM state. In polyphasic sleep, you have to enter REM state immediately as you close your eyes. This is why the first 1-2 weeks is the hardest when switching routine – you don’t get enough REM sleep. For more info, I found this short article very enlightening.

I can attest that the training is working. I usually have dreams when I take my naps, and I can get to sleep quite quickly now. So, it’s working. Surprisingly, this hasn’t been too rough a ride over all – of course some parts are almost unbearable.

Some positive benefits:

  • I can do more around the house. I have been cooking some of my specialities for the family. I can help more with cleaning etc. And, I can tell you this has DONE WONDERS for my relationship with my family.
  • I achieve more. I have a higher motivation to “just do it” and I have more time to “do it” all.
  • I am reading more, getting to think more, talking with the family more. All this builds my knowledge, understanding of the world and the people around me.

There’s lots more to come. Stay posted by subscribing.

What do you want to know about this new lifestyle?

An immovable rock…

How do you move an immovable rock?

One of my clients is currently using a retail POS and e-commerce system that is truly terrible.

  1. The developers of the system haven’t upgraded the software and optimised it for their clients.
  2. There is no in-built SEO!?!?!
  3. It’s incredibly hard to use and complex for a POS and e-tailer system.
  4. It doesn’t do things that seem obvious.
  5. And to top it all off, the developers are not interested in upgrading and fixing the problems that persistently need addressing.

The overall problem is that we hate the system, it causes issues, takes way too long to do routine tasks and costs WAY too much money compared to alternatives.

Now you would think that the sight of a solution would get the client excited to switch and move on, no?

You would be wrong, at least in this case.

I have found an alternative solution that costs 40% of the current monthly price, is hosted in the cloud, simplifies and saves time on routine tasks, integrates with e-commerce solutions and accounting solutions SEEMLESSLY, and covers all the bases.

That’s not all, the company providing the solution is consistently upgrading and improving the service to do what its clients ask. This is fantastic!

But, when you add this all up, my client is still so scared to change that they won’t even consider it.

Right now the business is barely breaking even and needs the simple problems fixed. If we can do that and free up some time and resources to commit to other activites that will drive sales and profit, then we solve an ever bigger, emotional problem – STRESS.

I suspect that it is not that the client is an “immovable rock” but rather needs to be coaxed from a different perspective…

How do I help my client realise the value of this solution? How can I convince them to switch? Has the fear of change held back any of your clients? How did you solve their fear?


Day 1 – New Lifestyle

It’s been a pretty awkward experience so far, this new lifestyle.

Obviously, the major change to my habits was the sleeping pattern that I adopted. It has been a killer change – both good and bad.

I found it exceedingly difficult to get to sleep in the 30minutes of allotted time every 4 hours. The first few naps I took I got 5 minutes rest each – admittedly I wasn’t yet tired.

However, as it came to later in the night, I found it easier to fall asleep. My 1am nap was decent.

However, I messed up with my 5am nap, missing my alarm and sleeping two and a half hours. I felt terrible about that! No worries though, it brough my total sleep to about 3.5 hours last night.

At a few stages I felt a little exhausted, my legs felt like they had a mind of their own and I was a little off-balance.

My 9am nap was amazing, I got 20 minutes and when I awoke I was totally refreshed and keen. I tried to sleep at 1pm but couldn’t. Albeit I was awake and alert for all of today, which was good and unexpected.

So what did I achieve?

  • I wrote 3 blog posts
  • I reduced my Google Reader list from 1,000+ to 600 and am up to date on a lot of news.
  • I finished my book, the Thank You Economy and wrote a review.
  • I started reading another book about spirituality – as recommended to me.
  • I ate quite healthily and drank 6 large glasses of water.
  • I did a whole lot of admin work for Shopt.
  • I listed a bunch of Rugby World Cup Tickets on my Shopt page. If you are thinking about coming to watch, let me know.

This was an incredible day. I am surprisingly alert and can’t wait to see how this new lifestyle works for me. Anyway I am about to hit my next nap. Au revoire for now…

Have you done anything crazy lately? What was it?

Review: The Thank You Economy (@TYEBook) – @garyvee

Rating: 5 stars. The Thank You Economy (TYE) is a smart, useful and compelling book about the benefits of a cultural shift for your business. Gary convinces us that the long-term strategy for every business involves OUT CARING the competition. By being the most caring, the most surprising, the most delighting business out there, you will win customers, employees and everything in between. I highly recommend you read this and buy a copy for your CEO, especially if you’re running a business or involved in a stagnant one.

Gary has put a lot of great effort into writing TYE and has created, not only an inspiring viewpoint for a change in culture, but, an impeccable reference tool with proof and evidence for every point he makes. Gary has chosen amazing real-world-examples to demonstrate his opinions and arguments.

The over arching theme in the TYE is that the future of every business depends on their attitude toward their customers. In a world where customers are inextricably and publicly linked, and news and opinions can spread like wild fire, businesses must delight and surprise customers rather than treat them as “just another sale”. The great thing about the world that businesses now operate in, is that the tools to do this one-on-one “delighting” are openly and freely available to them. There are no excuses for ignoring your customers.

Gary emphasises persistently that every brand must be creative in everything they do. Out-of-the-box thinking and campaigning, continuous innovating, is the only way to consistently delight your customers and OUT CARE the competition. It is also very important to innovate quickly, and try be the first to market. Doing so will help keep you ahead of the game.

I suppose the most important paradigm is attitude. None of this is possible in the long-run if you and your business do not have the right culture. It is your job as the CEO to instil a culture of care in your organisation, in your employees and in every interaction that takes place between your customers and your brand. Trusting employees and giving them the freedom and resources to delight is empowering for them and inspires them to work towards the vision. It also crowd-sources the creative marketing work you need to delight your customers. Work from the top, empower your employees and inspire a culture of CARE in your company and everything will work in your favour in the long-run.

Utilise both traditional media and social media to execute your campaigns. Using them both creatively can be powerful. Gary suggests that by using social media to back up traditional campaigns and continue the conversation can enhance the emotion your customers attach to your brand. I couldn’t agree more with this suggestion. Using Facebook, Twitter and other digital tools to continue the conversation with your customers, builds relationships, trust and a bond that competitors cannot contend with.

I urge every business leader to consider this new culture, this philosophy. Out-caring your competitors shows your customers (and employees) that you give a damn. This will make them loyal, make them feel a part of a community and grow a strong business for the future. Consistently delighting and innovating is vital to keeping your brand in the forefront of your customers’ minds. But it couldn’t be any easier than right now, with the tools available to you.

What is your business doing to change face with your customers? Please let us know about what you’re doing by posting a comment below.

New Lifestyle – Day Zero

There are some things I know I need to change and there are some things that I really want to change. Today marks the day where I start a new routine, new lifestyle, new set of habits and a focused philosophy.

I want YOU to hold me accountable. I know I am disciplined, but there are moments of weakness that I need your help with – please give me a kick up the arse if I consider falling off the bandwagon – especially in the first 2-3 weeks.

These are my commitments:

  1. Sleep
    • I adopt a new Polyphasic Sleep routine where I sleep 30 minutes every 4 hours at 5am, 9am, 1pm, 5pm, 9pm and 1am.
  2. Health
    • Water – I choose water at every opportunity. I drink 8-10 glasses per day. I am allowed the occasional (maybe twice per week) fruit juice, but NEVER soft drinks.
    • Smaller more frequent meals – I eat more often, but less of a portion size. This fits well with my new sleeping routine.
    • Healthier – I choose to eat plant-based foods (vegetables and fruit) as opposed to carbohydrates and proteins. This is at every occasion.
    • Exercise – I do 30 minutes to 1 hour of walking/jogging per day coupled with the occasional resistance workout.
  3. Knowledge and Inspiration
    • News - I read the news and subscribed blogs every day (2 hours).
    • Reading – I read 1-2 hours of my book every day.
    • Writing – I write 2 blog posts every day. One post per day for Shopt (social media/commerce for business) and my personal Blog (lessons I learn and musings).
    • Video – I take every opportunity to watch educational video material, TED talks and any other form of inspiration.
  4. Happiness
    • Meditating – I reflect for 30 minutes every day.
    • Laughter – I laugh at every chance I get. I help bring laughter and happiness to those around me. I wipe out any trace of negative thoughts that cross my mind.
    • Friends – I make every effort to be available to see friends and amazing people that make my life awesome.
  5. Values
    • Community and Collaboration – I share everything I have with those around me. I learn everything I can from those who will teach me. I do everything I can to help the people around me achieve their goals, find their passions, find each other and work together.
    • Initiative and Drive – I put 100% effort into everything I commit to. I always have something to do. I will change the world with the help of those who want to, too.
    • Confidence – I believe in myself and my goals, skills and strengths. I learn from my mistakes and I learn to progress. I relentlessly pursue self-improvement and development.

This is my new lifestyle, this makes me the person I want to be. Please help me  be me.

Follow my journey by subscribing to my blog and watching my Youtube channel.