The Nightclub Interview Problem

Today I created a way to respond to something most aspiring club DJ’s dread hearing from a club manager:

“How many people can you bring in?”

A quick disclaimer. I haven’t tried this yet. I assert that it could work, but I need to hear feedback to fine tune the idea. The issues that come up while testing would be useful for adjustments. And it wouldn’t work on every club manager, though it does improve your odds of getting a gig. My hope is that I can use my skills to help someone overcome a challenge that I could not. That would feel great.

So if any bedroom DJs want to try this out while looking for a club gig, a) don’t tell me I said it would work, because I didn’t and b) if you do try it, tell me what happens! Feedback would be a fair repayment if it worked, wouldn’t it?

Now or those of you who have never applied to DJ at a club, you need to know that every single time, the manager asks if you have lots of friends to bring in. This feels annoying because DJing feels like it should be solely about the music (or, if we’re honest, the music and the DJ).

Now if you are a DJ, and the phrase mentioned above triggers you, I have to do you a favor before I teach you how to handle this. I have to bring some reality into the room. You might not like it at first, but you can look back later and appreciate how another perspective helps you improve.

Club managers work for the club. The nightclub mostly exists to make money. It might also exist to help the owner and the staff treat their friends, have fun on off nights, and feel like an acceptable place for indulgences. Anyway, it’s mostly there to make money. And the club makes money by having a full room of people who paid for cover and buy alcohol. So the manager isn’t even looking out for his interests. He’s looking out for his interests and the nightclub’s.

Now my solution. This is an exercise in commitment and sleight of mouth.

For anyone new to persuasion, commitment means something slightly different here. It refers to the idea that you have an immense difficulty disagreeing with something you just said. If you don’t believe me, try disagreeing with your answer to the small question I asked about repayment four paragraphs ago. It will be difficult to do.

Sleight of mouth is a bit new to me. You are essentially leading someone to reframe their own intentions into different terms. You’ll see what I mean in a moment. For now, I can’t resist this example: I think children sort of use it without realizing it, except they don’t have any benevolent end result in mind. “Why?” “Why?” “Why?”

Now we have all the tools we need. Onward.

You are a DJ speaking to a club manager. You want to play there weekly, or whatever suits you. You believe you can handle the job, or that you can learn how. But you haven’t built a social media following and your real-life social network feels unconvincing. So what do you do?

First, it’s important to introduce some non-DJing talents early on in the conversation. Maybe you’re great at photography and video. Maybe you can sell. If you are good, you can probably think of some ways to use them to help at a nightclub. Now read this script and see why that’s useful.

Club manager: So how many people can you bring in?

Aspiring DJ: I’d like to answer your question better. What is the purpose of bringing more people here?

Club manager: We’re a nightclub, we need people here to make money.

Aspiring DJ: Okay, I understand. And in the past, how many people has a good DJ brought in on his own?

Club manager: <some number, which you can give a sincere reaction to.>

Aspiring DJ: So it would be good if I could come close to that amount, and if I could bring more people, that’s even better. Okay. This is actually a great opportunity. I can help the club exceed that value in other ways.

Club manager: What do you mean?

Aspiring DJ: We discussed my skills as a _______. If I used them to _______ and eventually _______, that could help the nightclub’s bottom line, could it not?

Club manager: Yeah, but we still need you to bring in people.

Aspiring DJ: I agree, it’s important to bring people to the nightclub. Have you ever had a DJ offer to help with <those things> before?

Club manager: We had this one guy but he didn’t deliver.

I think this is enough to give you some ideas. The general framework is to ask open ended questions to reveal why a manager needs a DJ who can bring bodies to the club. If you can show ways you could satisfy that need in a different way, you might overcome the requirement.

If you think my post might have value to someone, send it to a DJ friend for me.


How To Spot Limiting Beliefs About Money

My usual is to write something new. Today I’m just reporting what better persuaders taught me.

I wondered how to spot a limiting belief about money, business, and income. My current belief is that it’s hard to spot these beliefs in your own head because, within your perceptions, they seem like reality instead of garbage. So I asked two great persuaders the question.

Note that I ordered their replies reverse-chronologically. You’ll see why.

@JasonL3d’s reply shows how to elicit limiting beliefs. When he says “resistance,” he means something like “logical or emotional repellents to the statement.” These are your mind’s limiting beliefs at work. For example, if I say:

“I can sell a luxury product.”

The first thing that comes to mind is a limiting belief. I’ll get to that limitation in a moment. For now, you’re probably wondering how to get rid of a limiting belief once you’ve identified it.

@IggySemmelweis has a presupposition exercise built into his reply. The idea is that you listen to what a statement presupposes as truth. Then you remove the belief if you don’t like it.

The limiting belief from before came in image format. I pictured a Jaguar dealership and told myself I don’t have enough money to be a credible Jaguar salesman. Which is absurd, by the way. Pass on that one! I can sell a Jaguar if I want to.

Follow @IggySemmelweis and @JasonL3d on Twitter for more persuasion goodness.

The Copypaste Metropolis

I’m about to tell you how Canada can copy-paste as many new cities as it wants. This is based on the idea that North America will probably need to drop the cost of living after automation takes over. Lots of people suddenly won’t be able to afford food and housing.

If you look at a map of Canada, you’ll notice immediately that the cities are all along the southern border. As a Canadian I can explain this layout with two reasons:

  1. Proximity to the United States is good for the economy.
  2. Even a little bit further north, Canada is absurdly cold.

Trade results in people feeling attracted to the southern border. And lots of places in Canada offer the opportunity to see a snowbank the height of your house. Hockey is great and everything, but so is an affordable heating bill.

The great news is that humanity is getting closer to a new revolution in construction. The image I heard recently described a solar city in the desert. I like that because I think desert looks pretty. The transportation, industrial and commercial spaces were imagined underground, which offers enormous improvements to population density. Affordability would also improve in this hypothetical city of the future.

So that’s great and everything. Now while Canada has its own patches of desert, I doubt solar panels work when they’re covered with snow. So what can we do?

Like the desert city I just described, Canada has plenty of space where we can hollow out the earth and start building. In fact, parts of Winnipeg are already like this. I believe students of the University of Winnipeg get from room to room via underground tunnels. That’s because like most humans, the average height of a Canadian is inadequate to walk over a thirty foot snowbank. So we have a head start here.

The idea is that keeping things mostly underground would save costs on heating. It’s harder for heat to escape through solid materials compared to air. The heat from homes could be cycled down into the underground (I presume air would be cleaner if it starts in a house and then enters the roadways). You can imagine as much snow as you like on the surface, and the temperature underground will remain manageable.

One problem is the question of location. Once you open up the snowy parts of Canada for underground settlement, there are many options.

If you read Taleb’s writing, you might anticipate that a government planned metropolis will miss out on the benefits of human disorder. In other words, Toronto and Montreal became successful large cities because others were allowed to fail. Something tells me that loss aversion will keep government officials and the public hanging onto the success of a planned city — even if allowing failure would likely lead to a better outcome.

So suppose construction companies found locations in Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba with a large flat expanse. It would be a great place to practice building underground cities in different conditions. Again, the focus is on getting costs as low as possible. The cities that fail could be converted into industrial space or repurposed for other uses.

This is hopefully better than my plan to flatten Vancouver’s mountain range.

Handling A Fictional Objection

I have more ideas about persuasion than I have opportunities to practice. So my usual habit is to practice in my imagination.

This story is incomplete. I’m giving the minimum details required to make sense. If you like this format, tweet me and I’ll do another.

Now suppose someone just rejected an offer you made. Here’s one way you could handle it.

Agree with their objection and tell them, “I know you have a few reasons to decline. You can think of new ways this could work out in the next few days and let me know as they come to you.”

Then affirm that you’ll contact them at a later date to discuss the matter again.

“I know you have a few reasons…” paces the objection.

“You can think of new ways this could work out…” leads into a suggestion that stimulates creative thinking.

And finally “…in the next few days and let me know as they come to you” adds some time based scarcity. If your offer had some value, their mind probably picked up on it. So you can let the issue go for a few days while the recipient thinks about it before you come back.

I actually don’t know what to do after someone walks away from the table, so there’s that.

If you liked this post, follow me on Twitter. And you might like to check out these fellows too because they are more persuasive than I am: @ScottAdamsSays, @JasonL3d, and @x808beats.

Online Sales Club

In this post I am going to tell you why it’s a lot easier to learn online sales in a group instead of on your own.

As a solo venture, you do the work all on your own, and that includes learning from your mistakes. Your reap the benefits of the experience and your future self owes you gratitude for doing it. But what if you have some friends learning too?

The journey offers a lot of experiences to be shared with others. I’ll address one potential problem to avoid in a group setting in a moment. First, the benefits.

If you are just starting with dropshipping, copywriting, content marketing, the sales pitch, advertising and branding…


And we know from past life experiences that it’s a lot more interesting if you have someone else to share your thoughts with. You can learn from listening to others give you feedback, and by giving feedback on their experiences.

You can help each other learn which services to trust and why. Suppose one person in your group finds a great designer on Fiverr. Another has a past experience with outsourcing their website maintenance. And a third friend is great at writing blog posts.

A small group can learn together as a collective a lot faster than one person can on their own. Conversation about one venture can help someone else in another. Even what you read in passing can have a good influence. Plus it’s fun sharing victories.

Picture a group chat of however many people you like messaging each other and contributing help through work, knowledge and encouragement.

Now a downside. Careful.

In a solo venture, you test your courage by going off into the unknown. Your trust is solely in whatever resources you start with and your own self to guide the way. Over time, you can learn that things generally work out after a few tries. And that’s great.

But in a group setting, a lazy attitude can creep up on you. Maybe one person decides they’ll let everyone else go first on something. And then that behavior spreads.

My suggestion is that this type of problem can be handled in at least two ways:

  • The problem can be privately or maybe publicly addressed. Feel it out.
  • With ritual challenge. Make sure everyone has a turn bringing something to the table.

Right now I’m discussing dropshipping with one friend, and copywriting with another. In real life, I have a friend and a colleague collaborating with me to host a seminar. We’ll see how it goes. I wonder what other products are hidden just beyond my fingertips.

If you were going to sell online, who would you want to learn with?

Bootleg Opportunity

@TheFPIA is my favorite influencer in the rave scene’s Twittersphere. Today they are raising hell about the music industry’s decision to restrict bootleg remixes the same as they do pirated material.

I don’t feel that I know enough to have a useful opinion on that topic, but I do know opportunity when I see one.

My proposal is that @TheFPIA uses the energy from the bootleg restrictions to direct attention towards new music producers who want assistance learning. To me it seems like their platform is a great opportunity for this purpose.

I’ll show you what I mean with a layout of the idea.

When you are new to dance music and have no network of your own, it can be difficult to find useful teachers. Most new producers are teenagers or in their early 20’s, and you have to give to get back. That’s difficult to do if you don’t have anything to give. Probably some producers aren’t even thinking of it (entitlement). So my estimate is that most new or new-ish producers believe one or more of the following:

  • A teacher would be useful, but I can’t find one.
  • I could look for a teacher, but they wouldn’t be interested in helping me.
  • People should just help me and I don’t understand why they’re not?!?!
  • I don’t know how to provide value in return.

I know that @TheFPIA have a sincere interest in talent development. I don’t know any of them personally, but I can tell that like me, they love the rave scene. So I’m working off intuition here.

The idea is a simple website intended to pair students with mentors. A student would be anyone looking for mentorship. It’s likely that most music producers would want to be paired with an experienced music producer. But it isn’t a one variable world, so the mentor role can be filled in a variety of ways by anyone with experience in the industry.

As an example, I follow some Monstercat Records and Insomniac Events staff on Twitter. These guys are not music producers. I do this because I know that simple recognition can build into friendships, which I like. And while my primary interest is increasing my exposure to luck, I have no reason to hide that. I want people to know what my interests are so they can help me if they want to. In the meantime, I can look for ways to help them.

So that’s the non-producer example. That could mean artist management, marketing types, or others with industry experience. Anyone with advice to give.

Of course, experienced music producers would be the main attraction. You could break those down into touring pros, “behind-the-scenes” types*, and producers who retired from the scene but still want to help.

I don’t want to fill in too many details about the presentation of those valued teachers. Instead, I can suggest ways to make the deal more attractive to both sides. I’ll start from the student’s perspective, and explain how to be a good candidate for teaching. I call this “advertising.”

Before you learn from a teacher, a student must signal that they are worth teaching. If you want to learn you might want to consider this part because you know that every little bit helps. Attitude is a big part of a relationship, and that means a student benefits from sincerely adopt a few qualities during interactions.

  • Be willing and able to meet the instructor on their terms, not yours. That means being polite, attentive, and respectful of their time.
  • Accept that their talent is superior to yours by definition of the relationship. Advice is valued. It’s always considered, almost always acted upon.
  • Directionally agree that any teacher is doing you a favor.

If a prospective student already shows good manners and a desire to learn, they are more likely to find a teacher.

But what about delivering value in return?

First, I want to offer two articles about finding mentors. The first is by Ryan Holiday. Note point #6. Then you can check out this one by Raghav Haran.

As I mentioned way up at the top, it can be difficult to give back when you don’t have anything. The good news is that a lot of experienced music industry people will want to help just because if a student shows gratitude and eagerly learns. And there are other supplemental ways that a student can help.

A student can learn what their teacher likes on the Internet and link something once in a while, noticing how it is received. They can offer public praise. (All adjusted via feedback. Remember that silence is also feedback.)

Occasionally value can be negotiated in the form of labor. That’s probably up to the student and teacher to figure out unless there is a generality I’m missing.

In website format, a guide on providing value could be presented to prospective students. There could be some filtering effect too, like an application process before being admitted for selection. The website could also match students with teachers by city, by communication medium (Skype, WhatsApp, video presentation), and DAW. Note that only a minimum level of effort is required on the website itself — this would be a niche website. Nobody important would care how it looks.

For teachers themselves, uh, let’s keep this between us: Material rewards are not involved. That means the selling points are social and practical. I can see a way it would work, too.

Suppose you are a music producer with 20 years of experience. Ask anyone out there, if they are successful, they are still improving somehow. So teaching could be framed as an opportunity to clarify their own thoughts. “What do I really think?” and “How does my music actually work?” Or even, “What techniques do I want to pass on, and which ones are unique enough to keep private?”

That would be one selling point. Teaching is a great way to clarify your own thinking process, spot useless movement, and improve by raising things briefly into consciousness.

Another selling point is the act of delivering a social good. Most successful people like passing on knowledge when they recognize a bit of their former selves. It feels good to help others. The website’s recruitment could focus an introduction on paying it forward.

The final selling point — humorously — is an exercise in ego. Many music producers and DJs are used to being the center of attention. It’s literally their job. But it can be useful to do the opposite and focus on somebody else. Even a relief. That might be the best way to frame this part, as an opportunity to escape from your own problems and help somebody you like with theirs.

I’ve covered the student and the teacher. Now a brief word for the idea’s operators.

I introduced this as a website, but I see that it doesn’t need to be complicated. A simple WordPress blog like the one I’m using could host profiles in the form of a blog post. Name, age, location, a photo, a bio, and examples of their music as it is.

But what would someone get out of running the website?

Running a website offers experience with WordPress, advertising, and writing. This blog doesn’t pay me anything, unless you count the experience I get writing it. Then it pays a lot. And I also count the social return I get — meaning, people look at my content and they remember my name. If I do it right, people close the page remembering that I wrote something that either felt good or was useful. It could be the same for a music networking site.

There are options for upping the ante. Interacting on social media is cool and all, but meeting in person will always be uniquely interesting. If the website was operated out of LA, it could integrate well with music events. One more reason to talk to everyone you meet, one more thing to offer them.


*ghost producers.

Trump and Chimp Politics

Yesterday via Periscope, Scott Adams discussed President Trump’s recent trip to Asia. I’ll link it at the end of the post. The part I’m talking about is from the start to about 14:30.

If you are a student of persuasion like me, you know that Adams offers credible insight into world events. And as I listened to him speak, I recognized a pattern that I became familiar with in my early days of studying persuasion.

The Persuasion Reading List covers a lot of ground. I imagine most readers of this blog post have read at least part of the list already. I like that, so I’ll tell you about a book that is not on the list that you might be interested in.

Somewhere in the early days of Periscope, Adams mentioned a book that Newt Gingrich recommends to new congressional Republicans. It sounded interesting so I ordered it as supplemental material. It ended up being one of my favorite books on persuasion.

By now you’re wondering which book.

The book is called Chimpanzee Politics. Google shows me that Gingrich started recommending it as early as 1995. And you know might know that Gingrich was a great politician. But that’s the past. Let’s think about now.

You rarely get an opportunity to watch humans compete for power. The parts of the pattern are too spread out, and you get lost in your bias. Unless it’s televised and your leader is clearly the winner. Then you’re fine.

But the problem remains if you haven’t read the book. Before you can see examples of a pattern, you have to know what to look for. So I’ll tell you about the pattern and you can decide to learn more if you want to.

Chimpanzee Politics tells the story of an animal researcher, Frans de Waal, studying chimps in a zoo. I recall there is something like 34 of them in total. De Waal observes patterns in how they greet each other, ducking low after approaching to show respect.

I actually decided to cut something out about the chimps’ conflicts. I won’t spoil the details because the story is very good. But the researcher says his notes show a clear pattern: In the months leading up to a big fight, the frequency of respectful greetings dropped lower and lower.

It is clear that if chimps are similar to us, the respect you show for others is an important variable in your status. While De Waal does not directly say this, the idea is that if you want to climb the ranks, you give respect, gratitude and other social goods to the people you want to have your back later. This is a story you can see play out in office buildings, school yards and your nation’s centers of power.

Now we return to President Trump’s trip to Asia.

We watched Trump visit China for a special dinner. He was the first leader to dine in the Forbidden City since 1949. So the Chinese leadership showed him respect.

Then the Trump family brought Ivanka’s daughter, Arabella, onto the scene. She speaks Mandarin, which Adams points out as affirmable evidence that the Trump family believes China will be important in the future. That’s a form of respect. Arabella will probably be popular with the Chinese population too.

Another small but important detail you can pick up on after reading Chimpanzee Politics is the way President Trump addressed Chinese trade practices. Instead of trying to bully, shame, or scold, he treated them as equals. That would probably feel a lot better for the Chinese leadership than the alternatives.

I also saw @ThomasWictor point out that Trump seems to leave his own security and put his life in the hands of the host country’s, at least at times. This too is a show of respect that you can only see if you understand how to look. It sends a message of trust while being totally safe — you know that the country receiving him would be embarrassed and in for a bad time if something happened.

So that’s what I see through a lense of respect and power.

I recommend this book as a followup to Cialdini’s “Influence” because the concept of reciprocity ties in well.

You can buy Chimpanzee Politics here.