As I finish reading Contagious, by Jonah Berger I wanted to share some thoughts. But first, here's a summary in his own words:


Social currency

Does talking about your product or idea make people look good? Can you find the inner remarkability? Leverage game mechanics? Make people feel like insiders?


Consider the content. What cues make people think about your product or idea? How can you grow the habitat and make it come to mind more often?


Focus on feelings. Does talking about your product or idea generate emotion? How can you kindle the fire?


Does your product or idea advertise itself? Can people see when others are using it? If not, how can you make the private public? Can you create behavioural residue that sticks around even after people use it?

Practical value

Does talking about your product or idea help people help others? How can you highlight incredible value, packaging your knowledge and expertise into useful information others will want to disseminate?


What is your Trojan horse? Is your product or idea embedded in a broader narrative that people want to share? Is the story not only viral but also valuable?

Putting it all together, sort of

These also fit into a larger context. Think of Crossing the Chasm. The idea of gaining early adopters, then crossing the chasm to the early majority. In the former case you're looking for customers who feel like they're in on the secret with you. This is social currency. They'll be the people who tell their friends. Who will understand your beginnings. Who give you access to even better stories.

You don't need mass understanding from the outset. If you have it, well, perhaps your idea isn't actually that great. In Mike Maples Jr's podcast with Andy Rachleff, Two Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Answer, they assert that your idea should be "right and non-consensus". That is, your idea eventually works out, but in the beginning only a select few believe you'll get there.

In practise, this will mean sticking to the niche your idea originates from. If you're correct in your understanding, they will come. Even people who aren't in that niche will come. You seek the people most likely to understand, which speaks to anyone thinking the same way.

Sticking to the niche you define means you can be deliberate in finding triggers and making it public. If your audience is designers at agencies, you can make your product perfect for their habits and routines.

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