tiistai 25. tammikuuta 2022

Key Concepts part 4. The conditions in which social epidemic spreads

 The hardest thing for us is to internalize the importance of the environment and conditions in spreading the message. One reason is our inability to perceive abstract things. We react more to the changes of others than to the changes of the surrounding reality. We believe our decision-making ability is better than it actually is. The role of the environment and its conditions in getting an epidemic across the tipping point is as great as the infectivity of individuals and the message. Epidemics are sensitive to changing circumstances when it is time for them to spread. The emergence of epidemics does not require major changes. Even the small ones are enough. Usually, the urge to change beneath the surface is released with the help of small changes.

Our behavior can be modified by creating the conditions for the spread of epidemics. Zero tolerance for drunkenness can reduce the mild effects of alcohol. In the 1980´s, transportation authorities tested the New York subway for zero tolerance for pumping and other minor offenses. With it, they succeeded in significantly reducing even large-scale crimes in the subways. Not all small changes automatically result in large ones. In addition to small changes in the environment, epidemics are best spread through small and dense communities. As communities, we are vulnerable to the ideas and the peer pressure. The latter may play a critical role in the spread of the epidemic.

Gradually, we can form close groups with the help of a certain ideology. Through them, the spread of the epidemic is accelerating. The ideal size for small dense groups is a maximum of 150 people, according to anthropologist Robin Dunbar. He has studied other primates as well. We have the largest capacity and that is due to the size of the frontal lobe of our brain. This is bigger than our classmates. According to Dunbar's research, the border runs in a group size of about 150 people. Larger groups form cup municipalities and disagreements. By this logic, the best results in business would come in units of about 150 people.

The idea of a tipping point can be summed up in one brevity: As we try to change our behavior and cause an epidemic, it is important for us to get those people to spread our message that it is good to get others on their side, knowing a lot of people. In addition, it’s important for us to get the message done so remember that it grabs easily and makes us act. In addition, it is important for us to succeed in reshaping our environment with small changes so that the epidemic can cross its climax, after which it will start to accelerate.

maanantai 17. tammikuuta 2022

Key concepts part 3 Sticky messages

Infectious messages are universal and have stood the test of time. We can call them sticky. They have similarities. In the following paragraphs, I will explain how we can take our messages better. An infectious message needs to be understood, remembered, and effectively changed in opinions and behavior. Infectious messages have more than one of the following characteristics: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotional, and are usually told as stories. (You can read more about these characteristics from Dan and Chip Heath´s book Made to Stick.) 


A simple message contains an easy-to-understand royal idea around which the message is based. We find the core for stripping our message to its core. We do the stripping by removing many ideas from the message and letting the main thing shine. It is about our limitations to receive information. The more we are able to compress the information into a concise message, the better our message will stick. Our message must also be relevant. One way to make a message concise is to use the information that the recipient can already find. It’s easy to succeed in creating a short and concise message, but it’s hard to create a profound purpose in the same package.


We must ask ourselves whether the audience will be surprised after they receive our message. We have to deliver something the audience do not expect. We must focus on the unique characteristics of our message. We must tell the audience something they have no idea about. If we tell a story, we must make sure its end is completely different than most stories about the same thing or have a completely different conclusion.


If we can sense things with our senses, they are concrete. Concrete language helps us to understand concepts. The language used by many experts is full of ambiguous concepts that we do not understand. Specific things are easier to remember and that is why we should use concrete terms. One of the best concrete tools is photography. Images and sounds connected to the message makes it more concrete.


We get to fight for the credibility of our messages with the beliefs, prejudices and social pressures of the recipients. There are several ways we can improve the credibility of our messages. Good and bad examples are some of them. Precise details also work to increase our credibility. The details are intended to support the core of our idea. We may also use statistics to support the post. When using them, they must be presented in a way that is comprehensible to the recipients.


Relying on our feelings is a good solution because it encourages us to act. We need to appeal to the feelings that the recipients of our message already have and connect them to our message that they don’t care about yet. After all, the most important thing for us is our personality. If we are able to combine the creation of emotions with our own interests, we will achieve the best result. Everyone usually asks themselves first, “How do I benefit from this?” Admittedly, this may not be a conscious choice. A message combined with our personality also brings results.

Story form

The stories work in two ways. They mimic reality and motivate us to act. These things create action. Mental simulation works because we were not created to imagine events without the action of the brain blocks that function in the actual doing. Mental simulations help in emotion management, problem solving, and visualization of the future. Stories realize abstract things. They inspire us to implement our ideas. They often help us get over old habits and presuppositions. They are concrete and for the most part they have both unexpected and credible elements.

The stickiness of our ideas has many enemies, such as losing too much information at the core, focusing more on presenting our ideas than on content, paralyzing decision-making, and too much the curse of knowledge, the power of presuppositions. When we have a good idea in mind, we can use a checklist for stickiness:

  • Is it all about the core message? (Simplicity)

  • Does it attract attention? (Surprise)

  • Does the audience understand and remember it? (Concreteness)

  • Is the audience able to identify or believe the idea? (Credibility)

  • Do people care about the message? (Emotionality)

  • Can people act on it? (Story form)

Messages do not need all characteristics to be sticky. Some of them are necessary. 

maanantai 10. tammikuuta 2022

Key concepts part 2 The tipping point, the significant few

 The moment after which there is no return to the social epidemic, i.e. the situation after which the pace of change begins to accelerate on its own, is the tipping point. The point is also familiar from virus epidemics. The virus spreads when the spread reaches a rate that cannot be limited. It is moving forward at such a rapid pace that there is no choice but to worry about the consequences. Scientists can also call this point, the critical mass. Before you get to the point, things look linear and after that the pace of change is fast. The point also applies to commercial trends, the spread of new technology, and anything that changes rapidly like a virus. Sudden change in the concept is the core issue. Much of people’s behavior is contagious, whether it’s buying behavior, voting, or anything else. Even small things can cause an epidemic. Epidemics have three parts:

  • People spreading the epidemic

  • The epidemic or its message itself

  • The environment and conditions under which epidemics spreads

The significant few

Throughout world history, there have been people who have had a greater impact on others than others. They spread epidemics faster than others. Sometimes they have been in more prominent roles and sometimes they have been under the surface. In these cases, a lot also depends on whether a particular person is in the right place at the right time. Being in the right place at the right time is not enough if a person does not have social gifts. Few influencers are united by social gifts. They form epidemics effectively. If you want to sell something or influence others then I would recommend persuading them to your side. People who influence the opinions and actions of others can be divided into three different types:

  • Connectors

  • Experts

  • Salesmen

The most important condition for connectors is to know a lot of people. They all know. They have innate abilities to get to know others. They are important not only because they know a lot of people but also because of who they know. Many word-of-mouth epidemics materialize when they spread the message to those who influence the opinions of others. The more complex the message is, the harder it is for these people to create a critical mass for the message. Connectors also matter more when the message has already spread.

Connectors are not the only human type that affects others. In addition to them, there is a need for sources of information that are not always the same people as the connectors. Data sources are called experts. They naturally become acquainted with new things and pass on new information. Representatives of this type of person are always ready to correct misinformation. They not only collect information but also share it immediately. These people are the ones who most often find new information to spread.

Salesmen are the third initiators of epidemics. Many have heard the saying “could sell ice to Eskimos”. This describes salesmen. There is something extra about them that makes them agree with them. They are convincing in what they do no matter what. Salesmen are adept at justifying their case. Charisma cannot be bought in a store. Salesmen can find it. Charisma can arise from small gestures that are invisible to outsiders, such as nodding your head. Small gestures are more important than verbal output. The main reason for the persuasiveness of salesmen is not these little gestures but their timing in the right rhythm with the other party. In addition to their gestures, they are able to regulate their volume and speech rate according to the other party. This is an innate ability.

Connectors, experts, and salesmen are individuals who know how to convert desired messages into formats that make them spread. The messages do not need to be changed much but small changes can cause the desired reactions. In the case of some connectors, the above types combine and their influence increases.

maanantai 3. tammikuuta 2022

Key Concepts, part 1.


Degrees of freedom

Degrees of freedom mean e.g. in science, the amount of variables that are not directly dependent. If we think of vehicles, then the train on the rails has one degree of freedom. It only gets forward and backward. Cars have two degrees of freedom. In addition to the previous directions, they also move in a circle clockwise and counterclockwise. Planes have three degrees of freedom because they move up and down in addition to the previous directions. Some industrial robots have up to six degrees of freedom or more.

An employee who receives his income from one employer has one degree of freedom. We can increase the degree of economic freedom in different ways. The number of degrees of freedom applies not only to movement or economic matters, but also to many others. If we control more things, we can increase our freedom. The usefulness of increasing the number of degrees of freedom does not directly mean that more is more. Often one degree of freedom is too little and four too much. The more degrees of freedom, the more deeds, time and money are needed to exploit them. Our systems are also becoming more complex as we increase the degrees.


Couplingss mean the interdependence of things. The world is not very dependent on one person except perhaps the heads of state of the nuclear powers. We can have both tight and loose couplings. Most often, the truth is found somewhere between them. A tight coupling can be found between the steering wheel and the front tires. A connection between them is necessary. The front wheels can also move forward or backward by putting the Reverse on and depressing the throttle or forward without reversing. Tight couplings break more easily than loose ones. As they break down, the whole system breaks down. As the size of the system grows and the connections become tighter, it will sooner or later lead to problems. At the same time, the probability of the entire system breaking down increases. When the tight system breaks down, it is more difficult to keep the damage small and it is more difficult to limit it. Repairing some parts will result in greater damage and worse collapse in the long run. Minor repairs can dramatically speed up system crashes.

Examples of tight links include large banks that are too big to fail because it would lead to the collapse of the current debt-based system. An example of a loose connection is a person whose expenses are much lower than their income, because then the loss of income does not immediately lead to disaster. The problem with loose connections is that we have to compromise on efficiency because not all resources will be used. One of the biggest problems in today’s world is too tight connections. Especially through the internet, most things are interconnected. Today, most investors can be connected, no matter where they are in the world. Almost everyone can buy shares of the same companies through their brokers.


A linear system is one in which the input impulse affects the result without feedback. The result does not affect the result of the next impulse in any way. Such a system is very predictable, but by no means particularly effective. A linear system of a fixed-rate bank account because you have a fixed and predictable interest rate that does not change. A fixed rate bank account is not very efficient because it is independent of changes in interest rates during the savings period.

In a nonlinear system, the input pulse also affects the outcome of the next input pulse, changing the system. The outcomes of such systems are difficult to predict. This is because the dependencies of inputs and outputs are not easy to assess as the systems change all the time. The world and its events are mostly non-linear. This is the reason why less is more, the principle works in most of the things we face.