What Social Science Doesn’t Know

August 3, 2010

Interesting review of the epistomology of social science.  by Jim Manzi

“The experimental revolution is like a huge wave that has lost power as it has moved through topics of increasing complexity.”

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Phone Irrationality

June 6, 2010

From Warning on iPad bill shock

Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn says the consumer advocacy group recently attempted to compare mobile phone plans and gave up.

“We declared it impossible to compare them,” he says.

Ms Freeman says the plans and the language used in them are too difficult to understand.

”So people are just going by their gut; they are going by whoever is the biggest provider; they are going by which provider has the cutest animal in their ad,” she says.

“It’s a deliberate strategy to make things difficult – a rational human being cannot choose a mobile phone plan at the moment.”


Brand Power

September 21, 2009

“We Japanese have a weakness for brands,” said Ryuko Nishimura, 43, a homemaker from Kuroishi, a three-hour drive away. “It makes the tuna taste two or three times more delicious.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/world/asia/20tuna.html


Design the decision process

August 31, 2009

From John Sviokla:

“In our world of information overload, every new choice is an effort — so companies need to give as much thought to the process of choice as to those choices and options themselves. For instance, Dan noticed that the Economist, at one time, showed three options for their potential subscribers: online-only for $59.00, print-only for $125.00, or online and print for $125.00. He designed an experiment, using his students, in which 84% chose the $125.00 for print and online, 0% chose print-only, and only 16% chose online-only. Any rational manager would say the $125.00 offer print-only offer was useless. But when Dan removed the $125.00 print-only offer, 68% of people bought the online product for $59.00 while only 32% shelled out for the $125.00 bundle! In other words, the higher-priced option was chosen less than half as often. By having the decoy of $125.00 for print-only, the customer could make an easy comparison to the other $125.00 offer in which they got online for “free.” Even something as simple as choosing a magazine has enough complexity in it that a decoy choice can radically change buyer behavior…Every manager should remember that in a world of excess choice, an easy place to differentiate is in the careful design of the decision process itself.”


Foster’s “brain snap”

February 24, 2009

Foster’s cans 330ml stubbies

Brewing giant Foster’s is sheepishly reversing a marketing brain snap in Australia that tried charging the same price for less beer in a smaller “European-style” stubbie.