all advertising is reassurance

all of us seek reassurance—all of us yearn for certainty in an uncertain world and buying something new is pure uncertainty

every uncertainty we’ve experienced gave us a trauma of respective proportions and for us to overcome all those experiences and buy something new—we need a level of reassurance which will overcome it

this is why money back guarantees work, however they are not a part of discussion today, today I will show you how David Ogilvy used this technique in a lot of his ads, here’s the link for reference

in the picture above, Ogilvy is reassuring the the buyer of the Hathaway shirt that wearing one will elevate his status so even the cricketers will come to him for batting advice

the equation of profit—how to build a brand with no advertising

All value is created in the mind—all value is created through perception and perception is built on top of sensory experiences, touch, smell, sound, visuals and taste. 

If ask “how do I start a brand” to those who have started profitable businesses, like Seth Godin, Tim Ferriss, Brian Chesky—you will find all of them have the exact same advice. 

Create something which makes the consumer of the product so stoked they can’t shut up about it and keep telling their friends about it all the time. 

And there’s only 1 thing which can make people go rave—their identity.

So if your product amplifies the consumer’s identity, the product will become a part of them, it will literally become their baby, how good is that?

Steve Jobs summed it up by saying “Marketing is about Values”—the only way your product can resonate with the customer is when it amplifies their values, which is another word for identity.

And the easiest way to find which makes people tick and go rave about your product is to belong to that group/tribe of people yourself—which is why Tim Ferriss stresses you “scratch your own itch”. 

Some people like David Ogilvy, Joseph Sugarman are true human exceptions, they have the ability to sell to a tribe they do not belong to by merely studying them.

And the exceptions of the exceptions are people like Steve Jobs, who are so in tune with their tribe, they seem to know exactly what their consumer wants. 

I always give the example of how Steve was talking about the iPad in the 80’s. Because he probably understood that the dearest thing we humans have is our kids—I came to understand what Steve meant when I lived in Saudi Arabia for 4 months without my kids and it was a heart wrenching experience at a level I had never experienced before—and incidentally it was FaceTime which kept me connected with my kids.

Have you noticed how foundational this insight is? There is one other person I know of who has insights as foundational as Steve, it’s Peter Thiel. Which brings us to the inevitable conversation about mimetic theory.

Like all selling is reciprocity, all buying is mimesis. Mimesis is the force at the heart of formation of tribes/identities—mimesis creates network effects.

So if your product enables the consumer to earn respect within her tribe hence elevating her status, your product is opening up opportunities for better mates, access to more resources and more power within the group. Which brings us to another interesting observation. There is a correlation between the level of status you can easily achieve and how tall, articulate and good looking a member of a tribe is.

Now ask yourself, do you want to make a product which is loved by powerful members of the tribe or otherwise? Seth Godin explains this rather well with his yoyo example.

this is why influencer marketing works, this is why celebrities command the advertising power that they do and this is why all brands are premium in 1 way or the other—in order to intentionally sell only to the high status members of the tribe.

Since this post is meant to be notes to self, I must mention David Sack’s post about self advertising products which is the best How to I know on the internet for amplifying your NPS even more.

P.S the best way to do top of funnel is to use reciprocity, for more about reciprocity check out Dr Cialdini’s work.

P.P.S this exactly what Dale Carnegie meant when says be interested in what others are passionate about, when you listen to someone talk about something they are passionate about which is core to their values, you are saying I have shared values with you, which makes them trust you, buy from you and sell to you at a better price.

chaaye khana the Starbucks of Pakistan—it’s all in the name indeed

Salman Wasay—chaaye khana founder

on a beautiful evening today, as I sat at my favourite location of chaaye khana, the one with the ceiling like a viking longhouse, the one across Bahria Phase 4, driving up to this place is an experience in itself because you can see so much of the city from here

I found something interesting, and I want to share it with you

there’s an inordinate amount of good sounding words within the brand name itself; here take a look

ye kha na’ in slang urdu translates to you’ve got to eat this

‘kha’ translates to eat

‘chaa na’ translates to rock on

‘haaye’ translates to O my God

intentional or not, there’s one man who might have the answer

The Art of Product Chapter 1 – 5 Attributes of a Successful Product – Usman Gondal

Dear Reader,

In this text, I shall lay infront of you a simple 5 step checklist, written to serve as a tool in your belt and making you a better product manager, business owner and investor.

This tool is like a cookie cutter with 5 dimensions.

Each dimension is necessary for a product to become successful.

A path every successful business has taken.

  1. your product must create a net positive experience
  2. your product must be a self advertising product
  3. your product must enhance the self image of the buyer
  4. your product must create a category
  5. your product must appear to be everywhere (for 10% of a small market)

How newsletters will move to SMS

I hate email—99.9% of it is unactionable, confusing and causes nothing but decision fatigue

If you’re on the same ship—read on—there is an opportunity already here for SMS automation companies like Attentive and even Twilio or Klaviyo

As I was going to type my email address on the form you can see—I did not because the thought of opening my iCloud email was not very appealing.

I’d rather be sent an SMS.

Newsletters will move to SMS. The tipping point of SMS replacing email is now.

Antifragile Interest Rates—How to accelerate the path towards recession, so there will not be a recession

Sun Tzu in the art of war says, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest path to victory”, let us not go for the slowest path, let us get some tactics to accelerate towards the goal. 

because the ‘globalisation’ is rolling back due to recent events, a lot of businesses will become unviable and a lot of new business will become viable 

many economies are experiencing the pain of ‘going back’ to domestic production, their populations have grown so accustomed to luxury they are unwilling to go back to work 

hence the 11 million open jobs in the US with no one to take them 

this change will generational, while these millennials will live off the savings they inherit from their parents, their kids will have to bear the brunt, the next generation will be similar to the one raised by in the 60’s by largely irresponsible parenting  

during this 40 year process, the stagflation will linger on and cause decision fatigue at the worldwide level

theoretically, there is 1 way to accelerate this 

anti fragile interest rates 

negative interest rates for a period, and 0% interested rates for a period

of course this will wipeout a lot of working capital

this will also wipe out a lot of ’empty capital’ i.e inflation 

this will create incentive to get out there and start new businesses 

and the next cycle will begin 

if this is not done sooner, in the end the middle class will have to take most of the correction 

The Book of Business Innovation

This book is a framework of innovation.

Inspired by precedence set forth by every wildly successful business—these things will be common in all of them.

It will have 9 chapters—each chapter will construct on 9 examples

  1. Align with the winds
  2. Align with cultural arteries of the earth
  3. Align with historic arteries of the earth
  4. Align with geographic arteries of the earth
  5. align with modern arteries of the earth
  6. Align with basic biology
  7. Align with all human senses
  8. Give more than you take to the people who are part of your family—expand your family
  9. Give more to the customers than you take—create net positive experience

This is why AAPL pays you a dividend and GOOGL doesn’t

let’s be real

Fundamentals my dear reader, fundamentals, they’re back.

Physical products have decisive advantage over software products. Software needs them to work—and Apple owns all the premium hardware owned by the cohort of people who have the spending power—which is more than the spending power of all android devices combined—unless a company manages to make electronics better than AAPL, free trade comes to an end and the earth’s supply chains balkanise or something we are unable to foresee happens, so place your bets to accord.

GOOGL like meta, is a mere tenant inside the AAPL ecosystem—and has no more leverage than a third party seller has over AMZN. This, ladies and gentleman, is the reason why GOOGL does not afford to pay a dividend because it doesn’t really own anything—this is true—just look at all of the hardware projects they’ve had. In the feud between Larry and Larry, Ellison will win out in the end because oracle software is an essential commodity, this is also why you see GOOGL doing so much to build relationships with heads of state while oracle doesn’t.

Imagine if AAPL launches a new search engine, protecting users’ privacy and makes it the default search engine inside Safari. My gut feeling tells me AAPL already has built a search engine, they’re only refining it and waitingAppear weak when you are strong and appear strong when you are weak—Sun Tzu.

While the consumer internet gets a reality check, you my dear reader will do well and align yourself with real products.

Join my newsletter by entering your email address in the box which says NEWSLETTER and receive these posts directly from Usman.