Cialdini studied Pyramid Schemes

Plus: Don Norman

:::Issue #24. Why are you receiving this? You’re friends with Cam Houser or you just joined the Minimum Viable Video waitlist. This is where I share uncommon stories of creativity, entrepreneurship, and video:::

Happy New Year, rulebreakers and actiontakers!
New Year’s was low key. Me and the missus had some lambrusco and watched some fireworks from the balcony.

What I’ve been up to:

🧑‍🎓 Prepping to take the Keystone Accelerator, an online course about online courses. This course is led by Billy Broas and Tiago Forte and I’m excited to learn more.

🦻🏻 Watching a movie called The Sound of Metal (Amazon Prime video). Riz Ahmed plays a drummer who loses his hearing. The film is a brilliant meditation on coping with unexpected shitstorms life throws your way. I related to this movie deeply given I have a chronic illness that has required steady reinvention. This movie is worth watching for the sound design alone.

Rulebreaker Quote

Technology does not make us smarter. People do not make technology smart. It is the combination of the two, the person plus the artifact, that is smart.

Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

If you are trying to make a dent in the universe, remember that a skillful relationship with technology is what will help you do it.

“I received an invitation in the mail to experience ‘an amazing opportunity to achieve wealth, prosperity, and financial independence beyond your dreams.’”

Robert Cialdini writes about influence.

This book feels hokey at times, but one thing I have to respect about this guy is how he has no issues with getting himself in strange situations to better understand his area of study.

I was trying to learn everything I could about influence professionals’ persuasion practices…I received an invitation in the mail to experience “an amazing opportunity to achieve wealth, prosperity, and financial independence beyond your dreams.” I was certain it involved some kind of pyramid scheme, which normally would ensure the end of my interest. But because I was curious at the time to learn how its promoters planned to sell the scheme, I called to reserve a place.

He proceeds to get on a two hour bus ride surrounded by people he describes as ambitious and desperate, where a pyramid scheme organization gives him the hard sell for the entirety of the trip.

I admire people who have no qualms with getting themselves in weird circumstances to better understand the world. I’ve done this more times than I can count—from trying out for The Voice to a 4-day fast in the woods to hitching a ride on a train—and every time I learned something interesting or came away with a great story.

TAKEAWAY: Put yourself in unfamiliar, atypical situations every once in awhile to expose yourself to new ideas.

Pre-suasion (Amazon)

Welcome video for this newsletter

Continued experimentation with new ways of attracting readers to the newsletter. This one focuses on better editing and a COVID-responsible lack of a haircut.

See you in the Zoom grid,


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Just for fun: slow motion bird footage…