The Power of Reciprocity [Video]

the power of reciprocity image

As is usually the case, I greatly underestimated how long it would take to produce this video.  If you withdrew even one ounce of joy, education, hatred, or stimulation, I would very much appreciate it if you could click one of the fun social media “share” buttons located around the page.  I’ll reciprocate next time [winky face].

The Power of Reciprocity from zach davis on Vimeo.

For those who are interested in learning more on how to utilize psychology to get people to do things for you, I recommend you get Robert B. Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persusaion.

Also, the song is Merry Man by Buddy Ross, a new personal favorite of mine.  Buy a bunch of his music and tell him how awesome he is on Twitter.

Full Transcript Read more

The Social Skew – How Social Media is Redefining Our Social Circles

the social skew - how social media is redefining our social circles

I must be an abysmal salesman.

No matter how hard I try, I consistently fail in persuading some of my closest friends to adopt social media.  Although the vast majority have at least created a Facebook account (there are still the chosen few who refuse), many of these do little more than collect e-dust.  One post per season is a lot to ask from many of my BFFs.  I’m guessing you’ve got at least a few friends who fit this mold as well.

It would be fair to assume that because my closest companions either rarely or never use social media, my interest in its use would be diminished.  After all, Facebook feeds me my friends’ activity.  If my friends are largely inactive, what’s the point?

In theory, this would make sense.  In actuality, the theory fails miserably.  I don’t “check” Facebook, because checking is something you do periodically (i.e. “Billy, go check the mail”).  I am “on” Facebook (i.e. “Billy go camp by the mailbox, aggressively rip the mail out of the postman’s hands, read it, and then immediately go back on the lookout”).

So what’s the appeal? Read more

How To: Move to San Diego

How To Move To San Diego

This is a post inspired by pure frustration.

I write it because there are at least a dozen in my immediate circle who’ve wanted to make a transition out of their present situation but have fallen victim to the path of least resistance.  I’ve also learned that for every problem I know of first hand, there are thousands who share the same troubles.  If I can reroute the routine of at least one person hesitant to change, my time has been well spent.

But first, let me clarify a couple things:

  1. I don’t write this post out of any sense of personal superiority.  This isn’t about me.  This is about situations.  One situation is living life as a victim, constantly fearing what could possibly going wrong, and drowning in regret.  The other situation is taking chances, allowing yourself the opportunity to fail, setting and striving for goals, and turning the less than ideal scenarios into learning situations.  I’ve lived on both sides.  I know first hand that the latter is superior.
  2. Although I use San Diego as the subject of this post, I’m not trying to say that it’s objectively better either.  I know plenty of people who would truthfully not enjoy it here (see: Gingers) (yes, that’s coming from a semi-ginger).  I genuinely get bummed out if I go long periods without the sun, am exposed to temperatures below 20 F, or have to spend my weekends inside because a monsoon won’t let me play basketball.  But, that’s just me.

Enough beating around the bush…I now present to you the Good Badger guide of

How To Move to San Diego

Read more

5 Ways to Network Without Feeling Dirty

(Good Badger Note: Today’s guest post is written by Justin Kownacki, the self proclaimed “Armchair Sociologist and Perpetual Contrarian”.  I stumbled upon Justin’s blog during one of my innumerable conquests through the Interweb, and have made his site part of my regular rotation ever since.  If you’re a fan of witty insights and sarcastic humor, I strongly encourage you to check it out. [Since you’re here, I’m guessing you prefer mediocrity?]

In the past I’ve hinted toward my disdain with the concept of “networking”.  Since The Good Badger spends most of his time 4,000 yards under a bunker anticipating the impending apocalypse, I went in search of a more qualified candidate to tackle the topic.  Justin was nice enough to comply.  Without further ado, Justin Kownacki now presents you the “5 Ways to Network Without Feeling Dirty.”)

When The Good Badger asked me to write a guest post about building relationships, he mentioned his aversion to the word “networking.” To him, “networking” has a selfish, impersonal connotation.

And I agree. But that’s probably because the people most likely to use the word “networking” in a sentence are the same people who have a webinar or a time-share scheme that they can’t wait to sell you.

At its core, networking is impersonal. It’s a strategic expansion of the people you know well enough to ask for favors. And if that’s not selfish and impersonal, I don’t know what is.

The real problem is that we have our priorities backwards. Read more

Consider the Alternative

Human beings are irrational.  I believe I’ve touched on this point once or twice before.  Good thing for me, there’s enough material on this topic to write an entirely separate blog which could be actively updated for as long as the pro-life/pro-choice debate has been ongoing (which is scheduled to conclude on 2012 when everyone, minus John Cusack, will be dead.  Whatever his personal belief is will be the answer.)

The particular example of irrationality that I’m referring to has to do with decision making.  More specifically, the lack of analysis prior to making a decision. Thoughtful analysis when making a decision with any degree of importance seems like an obvious step, but you’d be surprised how often it’s bypassed.  Let’s dig a bit deeper… Read more

The Greatest Present of All

If you could develop a Pie Chart of what your brain is consumed by on the average day, what would it look like?  I took the liberty of providing mine…:graph22

A couple items to note:  1) Yes, that says “ninja tactics” and 2) no slice of the pie is dedicated to “passive observation”.

Lately, one of my most reoccurring thoughts has been to spend less time thinking, as ironic as that may sound.  That doesn’t mean I aspire to be more like Paris Hilton.  Instead, I realize I spend far too much time wrapped up in my own thoughts.  On average, all but 2-3 minutes a day are spared from processing some bit of information: “what I should make for dinner,”, “what time to set my alarm for,”, “who I need to call back,”, “words that rhyme with raspberry,”  etc.   I can mentally prepare an entire conversation with someone, with their physical presence being entirely optional (I know, I’m crazy).  My brain is hyperactive – every second I can direct my attention elsewhere is like providing water to someone crossing the Sahara. Read more

The Top 4 Reasons Why People Like Lists

Party on Wayne

We are nation of ADD/ADHD beings.  We like microblogging sites such as Twitter because anything longer than 140 characters is a homework assignment.  In fact, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already given up reading this post, probably somewhere in the ADHD to the microblogging range.  With so much information at our disposal, it’s no wonder we’ve developed mechanisms to try and filter out the fluff.  Nowhere is this more apparent than the abundance of lists available online.  Every site that you see has a “7 Fastest Ways to Lose Weight“, “The Top 4 Worst Best Man Speeches“, “The 15 Creepiest Vintage Ads of All Time” or the “Top 100 Chuck Norris Facts” (this actually exists).

As a service to you, I now present, the 4 Reasons Why We Like Lists:

1) Improved Organization

If I were to write a non-list post about why people enjoy lists, chances are after reading, you’d be able to recite a couple of the reasons, and maybe one of the ridiculous links.  Most likely, you’d skim through the text, try to grab what was valuable and then breeze through the parts where I reference my own personal life, like that one time where I…..

By incorporating a list two things are accomplished (a list within a list): 1) You give the reader a simple outline of the message you’re attempting to convey 2) You let the reader know how many important items your message consists of.   In other words you let the reader know which pieces are most valuable, and how many to remember.  A list helps to organize larger context into a structure that’s similar to how our brains will store the information.

2)  We’re Stupid

Attempting to explain why we like lists so much is like trying to describe why anyone ever enjoyed LOLcatz, The Pet Rock, Carlos Mencia, Reality TV, Vin Diesel, Second Life, or Bon Jovi.  People are dumb.  Assuming that complex answers can be broken down into a simple numerical construct is a cheap attempt to get your attention and more often, your cash.  If I’ve got a proven money making method, which book are you going to buy: “How to Become Wealthy with Rigorous Research, Long Hours, High Financial Risk, and Patience,” or “6 Simple Steps to Earning 7 Figures”?  These two books could consist of the same exact text differing only in their titles, and book # 1 wouldn’t sell 10 copies while book # 2 could land on the NY Times top 10.  People want to hold onto the hope whereby great achievements can be broken down into few easy-to-follow steps, so other people, smarter people, take advantage of this.  Everyone is aware of the 2 step program to lose weight: 1) eat better, 2) exercise more.  Unfortunately, this requires self control and patience.  I think I’ll go with the 10-day grapefruit and mustard diet instead.

Read more

When TED Talks, I Listen

For those of you who aren’t familiar with TED Talks (Technology Entertainment and Design) you will probably be dieing to give me an e-hug after this one. TED Talks, in short, are described as “ideas worth spreading”, but I like to think of it being much more important than that. If I were in charge, their motto would read, “ideas too crucial to keep contained.” That’s also why I’ll never be a professional motto writer.

TED Talks is an annual conference where intellectual leaders in a variety of fields deliver brief (approximately 20 minute) lectures to an audience of 1,000 people. As of the last few years, these talks are now available for free public viewing online at their website.

Where else can you find some of the top individuals in different walks of life presenting information that 99% of the public is either unaware of, or hasn’t thought critically enough about? Imagine a class where each week you’d watch a new TED Talks lecture and then spend some time researching the topic and engaging in a Socratic Seminar seminar by weeks end. Beats memorizing the all of the battle dates of The Civil War.

I’ll end the rant here and suggest to you a few of my favorite talks, although all of them are excellent. Enjoy… Read more

Reroute the Routine

Human Autopilot

Human Autopilot

Life on Autopilot

When you think about it, the intricacies of what an airplane goes through during the average flight is pretty incredible. First it has to taxi around the runway for what feels like a full day, accelerate to speeds to generate lift from the ground, continue ascending to a manageable altitude, remain at a constant cruising speed for the majority of the flight, angle itself downward to approach a runway from 6 miles off the ground, and land an enormous aircraft at extremely high speeds on wheels that look to be the size of Fruit Loops on a large cereal bowl sized body (it’s amazing I’ve made it this far without using a cereal analogy – my favorite type). This is only a basic summary of what a commercial airplane goes through on a regular basis, and it’s pretty unbelievable. What’s even more unbelievable to me, is with the exception of taxiing, the remaining tasks can be fully automated. Basically a giant robot can take you from Los Angeles to New York in just under six hours. There’s a human on board to slowly move you around a crowded airplane parking lot, or in the rare instance where you need to land in a river; but in most cases, he/she is often just along for the ride.

This post is not about airplanes. I know as much about aviation as the average American knows about Cricket. It’s about being on autopilot. Human Autopilot. Read more

Zero to 60 in 2.5

It’s a force so jolting you’d think that you had just been blindsided by a rhino.

Common side effects include but are not limited to: lost sense of identity, whiplash, anxiety, missed bowel movements, premature bowel movements, or really any kind of unintended action dealing with bowels.

This force that I’m referring to, of course, is the instantaneous acceleration from going entirely unemployed to working 60 hour weeks. My launch from around the clock nothingness to hyper-employment took a transition of less than 3 full weeks. Read more