25 lessons from Rory Sutherland

Stolen from a LinkedIn post.

1. A flower is a weed with an advertising budget.

2. Consumer research is great at telling you what people did, it’s terrible at telling you what people will do.

3. To reach intelligent answers, you often need to ask really dumb questions.

4. Highly targeted advertising merely finds customers: less well-targeted advertising can actually create customers.

5. Trust grows at the speed of a coconut tree and falls at the speed of a coconut.

6. The opposite of a good idea can also be a good idea.

7. The best ideas do not emerge within disciplines, they emerge at the intersections between them.

8. Never call a behavior irrational until you really know what the person is trying to do.

9. Solving problems using rationality is like playing golf with only one club.

10. If we allow the world to be run by logical people, we will only discover logical things.

11. The trouble with market research is that people don’t think what they feel, they don’t say what they think, and they don’t do what they say.

12. What gets mismeasured gets mismanaged.

13. The human mind does not run on logic any more than a horse runs on petrol.

14. Not everything that makes sense works, and not everything that works makes sense.

15. Google understood that if you’re just a search engine and nothing else — people assume you’re a very, very good search engine.

16. It is much easier to be fired for being illogical than it is for being unimaginative. The fatal issue is that logic always gets you to exactly the same place as your competitors.

17. Evolution is like a brilliant uneducated craftsman: what it lacks in intellect it makes up for in experience.

18. Test counterintuitive things only because no one else will.

19. Once you free yourself from the need to arrive at a solution through logical steps, the world becomes messier, but the solution space becomes 20x bigger.

20. For a business to be truly customer-focused, it needs to ignore what people say. Instead it needs to concentrate on what people feel.”

21. It’s not enough to be right, you have to be persuasively right.

22. Don’t design for efficiency. Design for laziness.

23. We need to move from a world that solves for averages to one that solves for individuals.

24. All big data comes from the same place: the past. Yet a single change in context can change human behavior significantly.

25. If you never do anything differently, you’ll reduce your chances of enjoying lucky accidents.

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