Archive for the 'psychology' Category

watch your words

I often tell friends to never fuss on spending a mere 10 or 20 bucks on a book they are even 10% interested in.

Why you may ask? There could be one line of wisdom or practical info you can apply immediately to your business.

That ten dollar investment may pay for itself 10 times over. Maybe even more.

Anyways, the other day I was cleaning up my spare room where I keep my library.  I came across one solid book on communication called Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane that I had read about a year ago.

There was this one bit of consumer psychology that has stuck with me AND may stick with you! Check out the video below to find out:

baby steps part 2

Hi folks, Happy March!

This post is a continuation from the previous one where I talked about taking baby steps to complete projects.

My 2nd project was creating a separate rug cleaning and repair website for the business I help run.

Once again I started out with a ghetto wordpress site. I made it in 4 mins to get the ball rolling:

Calgary_Area_Rugs Crappy Verision

This was the 2nd iteration:


It’s important to do even one TINY action step to get going.  I remember the big obstacle for me was writing out the main contents. So I broke that down: write out the Directions/Map part of the site first, etc.

Once that was done, the site underwent multiple edits to make sure all the links and forms were working, also make sure SEO stuff like google sitemap was installed… my developer has a lot patience.

After some research on other cleaning websites and other effective sites,  asking coworkers, asking clients and trying to imagine myself as a user interested in rug cleaning/repair online, I came up with this:

Click on the image to open the site!


It shows a map of where to drop rugs, some cleaning tips for small stains, our phone number AND a form to contact us for a Free Quote. All on a wordpress platform. Cha-bang.

Feels good to be done. I’ll improve it over time.

Onto the next project.

P.S. this is a snap of  me levitating for 54 seconds..beating my hardcore fitness freak friends!  Felt good.  No idea how i’m so good at this particular feat of muscular power. We all have hidden powers.

photo (62)

take baby steps


I find hardest part with committing to new projects is the dedication to see it through.

Last blog post I talked about my site (yes I’m still talking about it, whatever).

Well, what I didn’t tell you was I also had a 2nd website I was also meaning to work on!

What happened was I wasn’t making much progress on EITHER of them, despite even having an accountability partner (more on that some other time).

So I decided to focus on ONE project – I made myself a quick ghetto wordpress powered website just to get my momentum going. You can see it below:

Nearest_Shawarma Ghetto Site

Once I got this ghetto site done, I felt good. It gave me some momentum. I then spent time thinking of how to improve the design, usability.

On week 2, I finally improved the site. Hired a solid wordpress developer from Odesk to implement my ideas and bham! Finished last Friday before the weekend festivities.  Here is the final site below:

Nearest_Shawarma Final Site Feb 2014I think the lesson is focus on ONE project at a time. Set a deadline for it and Finish it. Then move to the next project.

I’m going to now apply this lesson to that 2nd website!

Talk later,


P.S.  This past Sunday all of Calgary woke up at 5 AM to watch the Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Game between Canada and Sweden (Canada WON!) . It was a packed house at all the bars.  I’m still suffering from jet leg.

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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).


Everything you’ve done up until this point is because of certain habits.

Back in 2009, I had a goal of reading 40 books. I read 28.

Then in 2010, I had a goal of reading 50 books, I read 40.

This year my goal was one book a week. I’ve read only 30 far. I’m built weak I know.  By the way, I’ve come across recently an article on reading a book in one hour  from the Personal MBA website by Josh Kaufman. Click here to check it out.

Anyways I know you’ve heard how good reading is for you. You don’t accept things on face value.  If you read a variety you relate different ideas together, string them together. Gives more confidence about what your talking about it…. I mean if you can’t talk about it casually you don’t know it. And EVEN if you can talk about it casually, doesn’t mean you know it.

But this all came about taking some small steps that eventually became a habit. I actually enjoy reading for leisure now.

Back in university days, I barely read anything outside the text books compared to now. This changed rapidly, as I read books like the awesome Four Hour Work Week. I decided I wanted to go backpacking! Traveling with family is fine, but backpacking with friends sounded unreal.

One of the places I visited was sunny Australia.

Now ever since I watched the movie Point Break I wanted to sky dive. Remember the parachute scene?( click here cos it’s awesome). So I finally did it in Mission Beach on the East Coast.  I remember this day fondly. It’s that feeling you were suppose to be dead, but you were still alive!! I loved it.

Soon after landing, the Aussie Sky Dive man, John, had the nerve to ask me “Why is this so amazing to you?” I was a bit dumbfounded by his question. Then he mentioned he jumps out of a plane 4-6 times a day, 5 days a week. It became not such a big deal to him, but a routine. He was curious how his regular job resulted in one of the most adrenaline packed day of my life.

Well John, because its not usual to jump out of a plane. There are so many ways to interpret this, but I think the main thing for me was keep doing things that stretch you, ignore your lizard brain – could be as simple as waking up on time every morning.


You may have seen the films Slumdog Millionaire and City of God. If you haven’t, you need to get a life.  These movies resonate with me. Why?  because these kids are the real deal.

The reality is these kids are hustling, testing what works, what doesn’t and getting so good that they know exactly what works. You have to see them in action.  Ten year olds here in Canada ain’t got nothing on them.

I recently came across this video while browsing Ramit’s site ( all about personal finance  – seriously you must spend a solid day going through it).

First of all - I wish I could learn to speak more than 2 languages. Secondly,  how the hell  did he learn this?

Now I’ve mentioned before there is beauty in good enough. Yes that works in the short term, creates momentum when you’re getting started. But in the long term, you have to keep getting better, practicing what isn’t so normal.  If this little kid continues at this pace, he might be fluent in 7-8 languages by the time he’s an adult. I don’t know…

Author Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours in that famous book of his that everyone enjoys mentioning to me at dinner parties – Outliers.  I personally feel shorter, just always taking it one step further.

The other things is, what I’ve always thought, but really starting to realize is most of what we know comes from tinkering, doing things. The process of trial and error. For example the internet wasn’t made for its use is now, it was a military application. The list goes on for many other technologies.

And why aren’t these imaginative kids, making less than 5-10 dollars a day, not profiled in business magazines!?!

signage with emotional appeal

I was browsing Dan Pink’s website the other day ( I like his books A Whole New Mind and Drive, check em out!) and came across some posts on emotionally intelligent signage.

It got me thinking of what makes me slow down while driving.  The only deterrent to speeding is a consequence such as paying a fine. Think about it. If you knew that there would be no consequence, would you slow down? I doubt it.

I snapped a photo of this sign from my car, while it was raining!  No one was harmed, relax.

This sign creates an emotional appeal on why you should slow down. Quite different than the usual threatening of fines. Dan Pink finds these emotionally intelligent signs everywhere, click here to see some other ones.

create your own t-shirt shop

I’ve been talking about t-shirts quite a bit, so I’ve decided to make some of my own!

I did some research and came across a few sites that allow you to do this for free – and  You can design your own shirts and they will take care of the shipping, invoicing etc.  All you have to do is come with a design and a description.  They give you a bit of commission when something gets sold. What a beautiful concept.

Now I just did this just to scratch my own itch. I’ve always wanted to try online, and so this allowed me to get the psychological barrier out of the mind.  Objective wasn’t to make profit in this case, but just do it. Learn the process behind it. I can improve it and make better designs later.

You can check out my shirt site by clicking here.  It’s called Lost In Time Shirts. It’s based on some of my favourite books & bands.

t-shirt site

t shirt site

dealing with loss aversion

In the previous post I mentioned why you should be choosier.

Choose design that can be used over and over again. Well not everything can last a long time like t-shirts (okay yes I buy vintage t-shirts too).

But what I’m discussing is people  suffer from loss aversion, which refers to people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. Some studies suggest that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains.

Whats simple way to get over this hoarding mentality? Give away some t-shirts every six months.  Helps you get over the feeling your losing something, which we all hate.  That it’s not the end of the world!  You can always buy new t-shirts to  look the mutts nuts.

imagine a free gym

It’s funny after reading a book on a topic, you then seem to focus on that aspect on  everything else you see in the world. Recently, for me, its been the free concept.

Free by Chris Anderson gives an awesome explanation of economics and marketing in 19th and 20th century and then about how companies can make money from things that are free.

One of the cool ideas he mentions in passing is a free gym chain in Denmark. Imagine if a gym charged you for not showing up? Otherwise was free as long as you went every day. Punishes you for not being healthy, and basically rewards by not paying at all! Sounds like something from realm of behavioural economics (well guess what? it is!). Chris Anderson explains the psychology behind it:

When you go every week, you feel great about yourself and the gym. But eventually you’ll get busy and miss a week, you’ll pay, but you’ll blame yourself alone. Unlike the usual situation where you pay for a gym you’re not going to, your instinct is not to cancel your membership; instead it’s to redouble your commitment.

What else can you do?  You charge  for the strength training classes,  since the kind of people who go everyday love being healthy, so probably be willing to pay to make stronger muscles! Put a juice bar in there to also monetize on the freemium you used to market to these gym loving fanatics.

If they fail to make the 2 times a week schedule (got busy) you ding them 60 dollars for that month. So in reality if say you missed just 2-3 times a year, you would still be paying less than a full year membership! Why? Because  most gyms today actually make money on you NOT using it. The pricing depends on the particular costs of setting up the gym, etc, but this is the gist of this radical idea.


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