Producer Groupthink

I am writing this post for a select few people. If I tagged you or somehow directed your attention here, the post is for you. Music music music. Follow along.

Until a few weeks ago, I thought doing job-related work outside of work hours was bullshit. Doing work-related tasks outside of work hours for free wasn’t just stepping in it. That was wading through it knee deep.

If I was anyone else, I probably wouldn’t have noticed this belief slipping away. But it has. I just sat down to study work material for twenty minutes completely by choice (actually I was jiu jitsuing nervousness away).

In part my beliefs are changing because of groupthink.

It is subtle, but everyone in my company has a desire to succeed. The ambitions aren’t spoken, but I presume everyone else has an image of a better future burned into their mind. Everyone has their own ambition reinforced when they feel like their peer is trying about as hard as they are, or harder.

We all behave within a certain subset of human behaviors. We show up, we fuel ourselves with positive feelings, and we do a good job. In short, we try.

I’d like to bring the power of groupthink to music producers. I’m certain most of us who haven’t “made it” yet fall into two categories. Either…

A) You produce, but if you tried, you could produce a lot more, and you sometimes feel down about your work or your odds of success.

B) You put a lot of time towards producing, and usually have positive feelings about it, but you’d appreciate having a source of motivation outside of yourself.

I assert that I know how to produce motivating feelings in a group of people, and link the motivation to the regular music activities you do at home. I was suspicious I could do it for a while, but the same techniques were used at my workplace. So I know. The result might be subtle for some, but others would find their net output goes up drastically.

The plan’s tl;dr is tribal bonding, commitments, imagination exercises, and some group chants (“Hoorah”). It works.

The long version is that when you have a group of people who you like, you have access to people who want you to succeed. (I can design the culture that way. Easy.) You might not realize it, but disappointing your friends might hurt even more than disappointing yourself. These friends can hold you accountable to your own progress. And it’s surprisingly easy to get your imagination fired up when you have other people doing the exercise beside you. Sometimes imagination is used as a demotivator — to bring your mood down. I can show you how to use it to fire you up. As for the group chants, I’ll get back to that.

I personally feel like the motivation alone would make regular attendance worthwhile for other producers, musicians, DJs, etc. It would create other opportunities for us as we expand. I have things up my sleeve, but use your imagination for now.

Lastly, forget the chants if you’re reading this at home. If you love this idea, stop and pump your fist in the air for me right now.

Then share the post with a friend. Thanks.

Kayzo’s Facebook Persuasion Game

Today I received a message from Kayzo’s Facebook account. I want to highlight how well the message’s persuasion is crafted.

For those of you who do not know of Kayzo, he is a music producer and DJ who has had a successful few years in dance music. I doubt he will slow down anytime soon. His music is great, but any artist who succeeds also has great marketing. I’ll dig into a piece of that here.

First, it’s unusual to receive a Facebook message from a well known artist. Even if you know it’s bullshit sent by a bot, everyone harbors a small hope that the artist sent the message themselves. So when the notification pops up on your phone, that’s exciting.

Kayzo’s direct-mail advertising is immediately different from other artists’. The usual format is:

“Hey! My new track is now available. Check it out here and let me know what you think! [link]”

That’s standard, and boring. I even avoid clicking those messages when it’s from an artist I like. Now look what Kayzo’s message said:

“Hey Roland. i dropped something new. do you wanna check it out?” and then a “YES!” button below the message.

This is great persuasion. The question at the end gets your curiosity. The track’s name isn’t even mentioned. You have one way to find out, which is committing a big, bold “YES!” By giving you only one choice, and a positive one, you get a peek into a reality where you are super, super excited about this track. Would you love to read more of this blog? YES!

Then when you click “YES!”, it actually pastes it in chat. At which point you are prompted with this message:

“Whistle Wars finally is out and on Spotify! Check it out and add to your playlists!” [Spotify link]

Now I didn’t click the link. I just waited because I was busy watching a Periscope. But that didn’t matter, apparently, because Kayzo sent me another message right after asking me what I think of it.

The genius is that I was only given two options.

“Like it?” or “Love it?”

In either case, they use commitment and consistency to funnel me into liking the track. If I like the experience enough to click a button, I’m set. Note that the word “Like” can point to anything from Kayzo to his music. The result is the same.

I did eventually click “Like it?” and received an automatic “Thanks for your feedback” response. But because it was interactive, Kayzo has me locked in to liking his music a little bit more.

There was some room for improvement by the way. “I like it!” or “I love it!” would have been more affirmative than the question formats I was presented with. But that’s ok. It still works.

Perfect Presuasion By My Mother

My mother surprised me today with some high caliber presuasion. She has definitely read Dr Robert Cialdini’s “Presuasion,” but I still didn’t expect it. Here’s what she did.

In Presuasion, Cialdini quantifies an enormous lesson in human behavior: The moment before influences the moment after greatly, greatly.

It is the kind of knowledge many of us recognize at one point or another. If you have someone laughing, that is a much better time to make a request than if they are angry at you. But that’s just an extremely obvious example. Cialdini goes much further down the rabbit hole.

As I got home from work, charged up but hungry from a long day of sales, my mother asked me:

“Do you want to eat a mexican casserole tonight?”

While she often makes dinner, she rarely makes that dish. And it’s an awesome recipe. “Mexican casserole,” which is ground beef, beans and cheese baked in the oven. It’s everything I want. I gave an enthusiastic yes. And then she surprised me.

“Do you want to make it yourself?”

I didn’t even hesitate. I went in on it. Yes, even though I have to be asleep in two hours, and learning new recipes is hard, I do want to make that dish. Thankfully, it’s an easy dish. I knew that at the time. This will be important later.

Now only fellow readers of Adams can fully appreciate this. But I’ll do my best to explain.

Past attempts to learn a new recipe are typically nonstarters. I buy the ingredients and it sits there in the fridge until the greens start to wilt. It’s hard to get the motivation to make good food when you have bad but accessible alternatives. But this casserole recipe has a huge payoff, and I might have even commented aloud how simple the recipe is. On top of the spoken comment, my mother also bookmarked the recipe for me with a big orange marker.

The consistency principle states that someone who takes a small step towards a larger action will be less resistant to the idea in the future. So I was already committed towards this idea weeks ago. (If you ask me, the commitment principle qualifies as presuasion, even though it’s from the previous book.)

My mother’s real genius is the timing of it. She might be unaware of this, but many salesmen experience a thing called a “sales high”. You get charged up with energy from having enough people say yes, earning you a commission. It’s a flood of reward in your brain, which charges you up.

In my experience, the charge lasts for an hour or two afterwards. Just enough time for me to get in the door hungry and motivated to say yes to a request that requires a lot of energy. Presuasion gold.

As an extra shoutout, she also took the time to “Grease the path” as @jhreha would say. When you want someone to pick up a new habit, you “grease the path” for them by removing obstacles to their initial success. My mom did this for me by choosing an easy recipe (it’s four ingredients) and placing them together on the countertop. I couldn’t refuse.

I still can’t tell if she did it on purpose.

Temporary Tattoos from EDC Las Vegas

Today I will tell you how Insomniac Events is using temporary tattoos to convert people into die-hard fans. I doubt they are doing it on purpose. Even so, it will work like a charm for the future of the rave scene. First some context.

Dance music will continue to grow as long as the total number of fans is going up. That means the scene needs to add more fans each year than it loses. This is true at the global level as well as the local level. Local clubs need local fans, and global festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival need a powerful draw. Let’s face it. If you’re hopping on a jet for this, you expect something special.

One approach is to add more fans to the mix. That is what happens with EDM going mainstream. Each year, dance music has more fans join than the previous year. But there is another option. The total amount of fans will grow if less people leave the scene each year. That might be a more appealing option. Let me explain.

After you go to a few raves, you start to adopt rave culture into your identity. Suddenly, the unPLUR first timers who rudely push through the crowd stick out in your memory. You don’t like them as much. As welcoming as our scene is, they bring the cultural experience down by being uninitiated.

I wrote in a previous post that kandi and PLUR spreads rave culture through contact. Even non-ravers want to be a part of it. These temporary tattoos will work the same persuasive magic.

The strongest persuasion is visual. Your irrational mind pays special attention to what we see. The first time you wear kandi, you might be excited to show it off. But before that excitement hits you, there is nervousness. It can take a bit of courage to wear it out of the house the first time.

The act of overcoming your nerves and attaching kandi to your wrist sends a signal to yourself and others that you are part of the scene. It is a visual identifier. You no longer need to say, “I love it here.” It becomes a part of your identity on a subconscious level. If you don’t believe me, go look at some of the articles about how resistant people are when festivals ban kandi. They don’t like it because it is a part of their identity, and identity is powerful. Which brings me to the temporary tattoos.

Getting a tattoo is a huge commitment. It’s permanent. It costs money. It hurts. But once you add a tattoo to your body, that’s a permanent shift in your identity (unless you end up disliking the result enough to get it removed). In comparison, a temporary tattoo is a little thing you wear for a day or two and wash off.

But it’s still a commitment.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I often write about the consistency principle. The principle states that people prefer to act, feel and think in a manner consistent with the past. In your hallucinated reality, there is always a reason why you don’t like changing. But in my world, that is almost always bullshit. All you need to check is how you feel. Ever had to go back on your word before? Then you know the discomfort.

By the time dance music and festivals are a routine part of your world, it is probably getting mixed in to your feeling of identity. Identity is among the strongest beliefs a person holds.

The night of the Carnival, you add a small, temporary tattoo to your body, and then excitedly display it. People approach you to ask about it, to show you theirs, to make friends because they trust you will get along — all based on a temporary tattoo. That excitement associates itself with the seemingly temporary identity you have adopted for the weekend. In the future, you will be more inclined to seek out those situations again.

The tattoo probably also suggests the idea of a real tattoo to some people. If a temporary tattoo nudges your identity, then a real tattoo is a tackle.

I doubt anyone at Insomniac realizes what they are doing here. They probably consider it a fun addition to an already beautiful package. It’s also really good persuasion.

Once festivals become a part of your identity, it can be difficult to shake. The habits get mixed in to your sense of self. Trust me, I know first hand. As soon as you leave the festival, you long to go back.

Welcome to the tribe!

The GOP Shoots Itself in the Foot Without Coverage

A man once told me the best ideas would float to the top. I hope I write this well enough for it to get the message across. The GOP will understand why leaving preexisting conditions uncovered in a healthcare bill is bad for their party.

First, some background.

Democratic voters tend to be more empathetic than Republican voters. The science agrees with this statement. In my persuasion filter worldview, I see a bunch of people who reduce their empathy or amp it up to fit with their political identity. As a person who identifies with neither side, I can tell you every GOPer has empathy. Most of them love their parents. If you ask them, they love their country and it’s citizens. That’s the point of patriotism.

The Democrats always support having preexisting conditions covered by health insurance. They say “you can’t deny coverage because of a preexisting condition.” Thats to prevent the insurance companies from passing over everyone they know will be a bad bet. They don’t like that, and so they lobby to have that clause removed. Successfully, it looks like.

I am suspicious there is a better solution out there. I don’t know what it is yet. But in the meantime, we might be able to convince the GOP it’s in their best interests to support people with preexisting conditions. I’ll show you why.

When someone lacking medical insurance comes down with a condition, they are stuck with crippling debt to treat the problem. Most people would agree, that’s something you wouldn’t wish upon anybody.

Helping and empathy are linked. From the point where the doctor sits across his desk and looks at your family member, and gives the bad news, you and your family carry a weight on your shoulders. Somebody in your family needs help and you don’t know if you have enough of it to give. And I’d put money on not having enough to give throwing your empathy centre into overdrive.

The end result is that whether the person recovers or not, gets out of the debt or not, lives or not, that memory will be strongly tied to empathy. The people effected will tell their friends, and post on social media. They will share their story. As the story spreads, so will the empathy. It will literally reinforce the feeling in the minds of the public.

What do we know about how people vote? Again, Democrats tend to vote out of empathy for their fellow citizen. It makes sense that when you increase the collective empathy of the nation, we’re going to get more Democrats.

So the GOP has two options. They can change now and win. It will be difficult for their base at first, but over time, they will support preexisting condition coverage. In fact, I bet it happens pretty fast. No voter on either side wants to see a fellow American suffer unnecessarily.

But if they wait, they can feel like they’re winning now, and lose later. Hard.

The DNC on the other hand has two options to win: win now or win later. So long as they keep supporting people with preexisting conditions now, they’ll collect further support from people who are hurt by the new healthcare bill in the future. The cost is high, but the end result will be a healthcare bill that covers all Americans.

But I think we’d all prefer the change happen sooner rather than later.

Over time, I’ll try to refine this point. It needs work to resonate with Republican voters. Either way, the GOP might recognize they are going to lose voters over this. They can take all the money they want: it won’t change anything if something turns the public against them. Like this will. And that should scare them.

All My Friends Go to the Rave (And How to Help Your Producer Friends)

My first rave was the result of five or more of my coworkers at a bar all having tickets to one. I didn’t. I liked them enough to feel like even if the crowd wasn’t friendly and the music wasn’t good — haha — I’d still have a good enough time being around them. So I went. And that was that.

Cut to a year and a half later. I work at a different bar. None of my coworkers went to raves when I started there. But a lot of those former coworkers sure seem drawn to raves now, given that one now works at the city’s best dance music nightclub, and the other is my rave friend. By complete coincidence, these are also the two that I talked to the most.

In university, the conversion continued. I brought people with me to raves and they eventually started going on their own.

The reasons that any of them had for coming along don’t matter. Anything either of us said to explain would be a rationalization. What changed is how they felt about it. And that happened through social influence.

When a stranger shows you how they feel about something, you generally don’t care as much as a friend, who in turn you do not listen to as intently as a family member or a person of very high status. Liking is a very big factor in whether you will allow a person to influence you. We like our friends, we like our family (sometimes), and we like celebrities. They’re all influential.

I love raves. I am very vocal about it. I openly identify this way: “I love dance music.” But more than that, I am visually crazy about it. There is no form of embarrassment that causes me to shy away from anything dance music related. I’ve probably danced on the bus, and not on the way to a rave, either. Alone.

When a friend sees this, they recognize what it must feel like in my body for this reaction to occur. In fact, your brain is hardwired to recognize it because of mirror neurons. That’s science. Because I have such enthusiasm for it, other people get the notion that “Hey, I might like this too.”

So when your producer friends show you their tracks, be excited. Be supportive, tell them about the parts you like (being specific can add to the believability).

But you can do one better.

Talk about their work in front of other people. People they don’t know. You can use this as an opportunity to practice persuasion because you will feel good helping your friends out, and learn something at the same time. The key is to just open up your phone and play it, and show your enthusiasm for the good parts. Literally play the track and make excited faces. That’s more convincing than what most words could say.

How Fyre Festival Damaged the Brand of Small Festivals

Fyre Festival is a nightmare currently going down in the Bahamas. Tickets started at $1200 and went up to the thousands.

It was the company’s first attempt at a festival. They were ambitious and inexperienced, which turns out to be a bad combination in this case.

Anyone who reads more than a few articles here knows I see the mind as a network of associations. Rationality doesn’t factor in. You see something that reminds you of another thing that shares some of its qualities, and irrationally project other similarities onto it. This view is supported by science.

The festival turned out to be a disaster. There are images of people sitting around under tents in barren decomposing grass. Who knew the Bahamas could look like such a disaster? That’s a serious blow to people’s trust of new festival organizers.

From this point forward, you can expect to see people being more suspicious of new festivals, because it will remind them of the time Fyre Festival left hundreds of people stranded without food and security.

By the way, you can easily tell when a person was influenced by this festival disaster. Just look on Twitter for people laughing at future festivals, questioning what kind of quality it will offer. “Yo this gonna be Fyre Festival all over again smh”, etc. Look for it, you’ll see.