GA Bartick on How to Sell

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Why did I do this show? Sales is underrated! I love thinking deeply about sales and I have learned quite a lot studying GA’s work.

What did I learn? My favorite lesson was in thinking about how sales has changed over time (or not!).

What was my favorite part? I loved GA’s story about how he named his book. What is the silver bullet for sales?

Doug Hubbard on How To Measure Anything

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Why did I do this show: Doug’s work is an astounding depth of highly practicable advice on how to make decisions. Quantifying the value of information (you can do that!), overcoming cognitive bias (you can do that!), using actuarial techniques to apply to any decision making process (you can do that!), and on and on. Read Doug Hubbard!

What did I learn: Ok, here’s the real thing about Doug’s work: nobody has heard of Doug Hubbard. The implications of that are mind boggling to me. We have in our hands the way to really improve the world if we all respected and admired Doug the way I do. Yet we don’t! Figuring out why is becoming an obsession of mine.

What was my favorite part: Doug dropped a great phrase on me, analysis placebos. Love it

Bryan Caplan on the Myth of the Rational Voter

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Why did I do this show: I have been studying politics of all things to better understand how we make decisions under uncertainty. Anthropologists that study risk make the link between decision making under uncertainty and the political decision making process. Bryan is such a fantastic person to study because he is an incredibly thorough researcher. You get an integration of almost all thinking in a field with you read one of his books and I wanted to understand politics.

What did I learn: I learned about Bryan’s concept of irrationality and how that captures the real political decision making process that underpins all decisions about uncertainty. There is much to continue learning here!

What was my favorite part: I think my favorite part was linking the organizational political process to Bryan’s work which isn’t something he’d thought about.

Mahbod Moghadam on Controversy

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Why did I do this show? I first came across Mahbod on Erik Torenberg’s podcast several years ago. I was fascinated by the guy’s willingness to be a complete contrarian but also pretty open and self-aware. Very unusual person and one that I think is very easy to underrate. This was a bit of an experiment for me and I wasn’t sure I was going to publish it. It was on the shelf for a long time. But I dusted it off and gave a listen and found I enjoyed it so here it is!

What did I learn? I learned that Mahbod doesn’t like capitalism! Ha, what an interesting dude.

What was my favorite part? I can say my LEAST favorite part was accusations of racism and the like against all sorts of people. Ad hominem is definitely not my style, ha!

Joe Henrich on Cultural Evolution

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Joe Henrich is Professor and Chair of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University. He has written two books that have been incredibly eye-opening for me: The Secret of Our Success and the WEIRDest People in the World. Joe has put cultural evolution on the map as the best way for understanding why the world looks the way it does today.
In the interview we cover:
-How cultures are a statistical concept and what philosophers get wrong when analyzing culture
-What culture ‘wants’
-What is the speed minimum of innovation?
-Are there things we can do to accelerate cultural evolution further?
-How should we analyze subcultures?
-Is Insurance really the fundamental application for culture?

Why did I do this show? Joe is an absolute intellectual heavyweight in Sociology. This is a dream interview for me!

What did I learn? This is a bit meta but I was fascinated by Joe’s intellectual discipline. He never really strays from the research much as I tried to lure him to speculate about all kinds of ideas adjacent to his research but mostly undiscovered territory. How infrequently cultural evolution has been applied to business. More to come on this I promise you!

What was my favorite part? Easy, I got Joe to not disagree with my view that insurance is the most fundamental use of culture.


Uwe Dulleck on Credence Goods

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Why did I do this show? It seemed to me that Credence Goods are a really important and underrated part of economics. I had no idea they existed until a few months before recording with Uwe as I was studying the sociology of selling insurance. There’s a whole category of analysis about buying under conditions of uncertainty and Uwe wrote the definitive theoretical paper on this.

What did I learn? It’s really hard to pick apart the things I learned in the episode with the things I learned studying for it. I think I mostly learned about how to use game theory to think through sales problems.

What was my favorite part? My least favorite part was how I didn’t really nail the part on Uwe’s working integrating of patent research with academic citations. It’s really neat!