Archive | measurement missteps

Surprise! 10,000 steps was a marketing ploy

For many years, my routine was a Sunday hike followed by a Sunday blog. For a variety of reasons, both my hiking and blogging have become erratic. After skipping yet another Sunday hike, I was surprised to find that I still had exceeded 10,000 steps per day for the past week. 10,000 is the number…

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The Unintended Consequence Of The Cobra Effect

Whenever plans don’t work out the way someone expects them to, I’m reminded of the cobra effect. Coined in a book written by the late German economist Horst Siebert, the cobra effect is a cautionary tale of unintended consequences during British rule in India. The British government was concerned that venomous cobra snakes were common…

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Fun with tenure metrics: 2014 edition

People seem to be obsessed with executive tenure. Executive search firm Spencer Stuart reports the average tenure for a Chief Marketing Officer is now 45 months, based on analysis from the top 100 advertised brands. This is a significant improvement from five years ago, when studies showed that the average CMO tenure was anywhere from…

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Positive Persuasion through Peer Pressure

What would get people to reuse their towels in hotel rooms? The answer might surprise you, as it’s not saving the environment or saving money. People are more likely to reuse their hotel towels if they are told that everyone else is doing it. This variant of the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ effect seems…

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The science of subtle signals

Mark Buchanan is a theoretical physicist who writes about how physics can be used to understand biology, economics, psychology and other social sciences. His book, “The Social Atom: Why the Rich Get Richer, Cheaters Get Caught and Your Neighbor Usually Looks Like You” is a fun read in the style of The Tipping Point and Freakonomics. In an article…

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The Myth Of Fair Value

To prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season, I’m reading ‘Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It)‘ by William Poundstone. Poundstone references a wide variety of psychology studies that show consumers are unable to accurately estimate fair prices and are “strongly influenced by the unconscious, irrational, and politically incorrect.” …

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