Archive for January, 2012

tweaking your environment

Maybe you’ve heard the joke about the fish in water:

Fish 1: How’s the water?

Fish 2: What the hell is water?

It’s a funny way of saying that when we’re part of something for long enough, we don’t notice we’re part of it. It becomes all there is. Despite all my rage, I’m still just a rat in a cage!  Anyone remember that line from that Smashing Pumpkins tune (click here) ?


I was reminded of this when reading Ikigai by Sebastian Marshall, who talks about very simple tweaks – ie such as placing your gym bag next to the door of your room – physical reminder that makes it easy to pick up do that activity.

I keep my guitar directly in front of my bed to remind me to practice.

A book next to your bed, a book in your bathroom – to keep reading.

The purpose behind this is to create an environment in which the change you seek naturally occurs.

I mean this is just changing the things around you, what about the people that are around you?

hey you, don’t buy this jacket!

I was nerding out one day watching a question and answer video on Tim Ferriss, where he recommended 3 books, one of them being  this business memoir called Let My People Go Surfing.

I read the first few pages and instantly got drawn to this unusual story.  It’s a topsy turvy life story by Yvon Chouinard, who reluctantly started a business based on his love for the outdoors, mainly rock climbing and hiking, etc.

He started to create tools and materials that he felt he needed. He realized others liked and desired these products too, so he created this company as we know today as Patagonia.

I like this guy a lot cos he challenges conventional wisdom on business.  Not to just aim for pure profits, but make society better.

Anyways, I got curious yesterday and thought.. I wonder what Patagonia’s blog like?  So I  found it and  came across this beauty post explaining their latest advertising in the New York Times.

DON”T BUY THIS JACKET is the headline!  On America’s greatest consumer holiday – Black Friday!

I mean you must be thinking oh how clever. Addressing the consumerists. Say don’t buy it, taking the opposite approach to capture attention. That’s what my initial reaction would be to this if I didn’t know the Patagonia back story.

AND yes! That’s what it is  – however this is not just a stunt.  Patagonia throughout it’s history has had this philosophy:  don’t buy more if you don’t need it.

It’s controversial, yes, but the motive is  to cause you to re-examine your purchasing practices. Do you really need it? Maybe you were leaning this way, but this might push you to be even more mindful. Perhaps to check out Patagonia’s website to learn more if it’s a strong interest to you.

This is my kind of advertising.  Some people hate marketing, but don’t realize this is the equilibrium we live in. This is how you fight back.

starbucks price increase? nooo


I try to convince my friends that the reason to use twitter is learn about all this amazing insightful stuff on business, psychology, latest health studies by scientists, etc. Yes I follow Conan as well for comedy relief. I mean it’s what you want it to be – entertainment or learning, if you choose to follow the right people.

I came across a tweet by Ramit Sethi on Starbucks raising prices.  You can check out the article by clicking here.

There are some fancy words in the article, but this part right here caught my eye:

A key attribute of those practicing value based pricing is never explicitly saying that they are practicing value based pricing. There are always other reasons and you never say pricing at customer willingness to pay. A key part of practicing effective pricing is effective pricing communication and managing customer perception. Failing that you will face backlash as some brands recently did.

Its true, its all about elasticity of pricing and the lack of concern by Starbucks coffee drinkers.  They’ll pay whatever asked for their favorite cup of coffee.

These caffeine addicts almost want a reason by the company so that they themselves can justify paying more to themselves and there friends!

This won’t work with, say Bank of Montreal, because they don’t offer a premium service that consumers know them for.  Instead, they offer standard banking services, which gives consumers very low switching costs.  Starbucks is about the feel you get when you walk out of the store holding their brand in your hand.  Bank of Montreal is about getting the best ROI (a pretty poor one).

my iphone hack

Everyone’s got their ways to get more done. If you don’t, you will go through your day aimlessly  and by the end of the evening wonder… where did all the time go? I know I’ve experienced days like that.

This is where TO DO lists come in. I’ve been experimenting with this and time tracking (inspired from Sebastian Marshall, his site is amazing).  You write 3 tasks that you want to complete.  Focus on them till completion.  My to-do list is a bit of an adaptation of this. I write 3 things that must be done – the night before – then snap a pic of it and make it my iphone background screen.

So whenever I look at my phone during the day ( a lot) I always reminded that I must get shit done.

Happy 2012.

ps: pushing the off button and the home button at the same time –  takes a screen shot.