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Small Data

The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends

Martin Lindstrom

More books on Behaviour

When he arrives in a new city he always picks a non-native cab driver bc they jotice more salient things about new society they are in.

Big Data databases are not really big. They are less like a beefy triathleteand more like a skinny nerd with a single splinter skill but who is ineffectual at everything else.

In the 1990's LEGO's market share declining and Big Data seemed to show that they were doomed to be eclipsed by video games. So tried diversification (into theme parks etc) but when that didn't work, hired Linstrom to diagnose. He discovered that kids actually wanted a challenge to give then=m asenseof achievement. So LEGO, instead of dumbing down their kits with bigger blocks, went the other way and introduced big expensive kits such as the 5000 piece Taj Mahal. (That sold for $300 in 2003 but now a $3000 collector's item).

We fear letting others know too much about us, fear that our mask may slip and they will see the real us.

German word maskenfreiheit - the freedom confdrred by masks - thanks to the Internet, we are at least two people: the online one and the RL one. Sometimes they overlap. And our interactions become primitive, bc we don't see or hear how we are affecting others.

Biggest downside of Russia is lack of colour - both literally (so much of buildings and decor is drab gray) and how Russians behave - no-one smiles or laughs.

France has rep for high quality cuisine but it is also highest user of premade or frozen foods, and No 2 in McDonalds, obviously after US.

Look through a country's childrens' books, bc they will tell you the earliest expectations of he society.

Saudi Arabia found that everyone feared fire, and loved sound and sight of water, so his design for a mall featured canals and waterfall sounds.

When a society is out of balance, citizens will find ways to compensate - to escape. Alcohol in Russia, cannabis in Holland, prescription drugs in USA.

Most of America has dissolved into a uniform sameness - a centrelesss sprawl of shopping centres, warehouses, gas stations and factories. Nothing in the landscape is surprising or natural.

Americans always superficial friendliness - expected to make banal small talk or at least smile in most casual conversations - yet Americans don't like physical contact - even dolls in toy stores sold in individual boxes (where in rest of world on shelves holding hands)

American hotel windows are sealed shut - you can't open them. This even extends to the White House - Michelle Obama said she hadn't been in a car with open windows for 9 years - the only time was when went out on a balcony. Symptomatic of the rules and restrictions and warnings on everything - very strange to outsiders - so how free are Americans?

Despite the fact that all crime decreasing, Americans feel less safe, more fearful, than 20 years ago.

Teenagers always compared themselves to their peers, but thanks to the Internet, they now have whole world to compare to. And, in the past, you could leave school and your home town and reinvent yourself somewhere else. But now, your past stays with you forever.

Religion dying in the American South, the sense of community dispersing onto strip malls and shopping centres. American mothers spending most of their out-of-home timein their cars, shopping trips or carting kids around. Preoccupied withtheir kids and particularly their allergies.

Americans need an escape from the sameness of their lives. all the supermarkets look and feel the same - they've all read the same textbooks on how to maximise design for minimum cost

We give ourselves permission to indulge in treat of takeaway food, which is big reason why healthy meals never succeed at those places.

The last time Americans actually felt free was when they were children. Freedom from worry, responsibility and self-consciousness.

Americans used to seeing their meat completely de-coupled from the source animals - they are shocked and repulsed when go to Europe and see whole caracsses laid out for sale. Their experience is of the sanitised cute animals like Bambi, Dumbo, Lady and the Tramp and Stuart Little.

Rejuvenation expt where group of elderly men put into a 1950's environment with radios and B & W TVs playing 50's shows, songs and commercials. No mirrors. Instructed to reminisce about the old days, and in fact to talk as if that was current time. Huge mental and physiological improvement. "They put their minds in an earlier time and their bodies came along for the ride."

Reading a horoscope is largely an attempt to derive meaning and impose order on a world that seems chaotic.

Marketing talks about "entry points' - marriage, pregnancy,buying a newhouse, empty nest - times of transition when you are open to new perspectives.

Hitchcock shot his movies with 2 scripts - one the conventional dialogue/setting stuff, the other describing the emotions he wanted the audience to feel at each scene.

Fashion gives customers a shortcut to becoming a member of an aspirational tribe.

Religions have in common: a sense of belonging, storytelling, rituals, symbols, evangelism, mystery and grandeur. Apple, Nike, Harley-Davidson, Coca Cola, all make use of these pillars.

Noted decline of rel in Brazil, once a Catholic country (92% in 1970, now just 60%). Where 2 decades ago houses were full of religious statuettes, now they were gone and in their place secular beer or sports emblems. Another symptom of declining rel that he noticed: In Europe people used to pause and slow down when enetering church, and even more when entering a cathedral. But now they strolled in at same pace as entered a shop. No longer a place of reverence.

Wine drinkers' ritual of swirling wine in glass and taking a sniff. The habit sticks - if you watch you'll see people in restaurants swirling their water glass after its been poured.

School girls are awake at 6am, texting and VMing - to co-ordinate what they are wearing to school, to make sure no two arrive in same outfit.

Oil based makeup has vanished from girls' cosmetics, even though they last longer and are better for skin - but they shine on skin when take a selfie, which is undesirable.

Men's wallets have expired gold visa or club membership cards purely for display. Their gold Amex or Visa gets them into the first class lounge, but their boarding pass is tucked away bc it says Economy.

American happiness industry a modern confection. Irony that, by concentrating so much on "being happy", we wind up being dissatisfied, bc we compare ourselves to everyone else who has more of things we crave.

Everybody has two ages - their chronological age and the emotional age they feel inside. No 50 yo "feels" 50. To communicate best with them, figure out when they actually first felt independant. For some, it was leaving home at 18 and fending for themselves. For others may be much later, when they married and/or bought their first proper house. But as well as a 'younger self' inside, each man also has a superhero or a he-man action man (and thus the success of films like The Godfather or Breaking Bad, where someone breaks the rules and succeeds.

Roomba users become fans and evangelists. They love the way they trundle around in semi sentient fashion. They think they're cute. They name them. And it is the toy that they didn't have when children. And the more highly structured, rule-based work you did, the more likely you were to own a Roomba. It is also a young man's tool for getting women into bed.

We arrange our homes to elicit an emotional response from our visitors. We want to prove we are individuals.

Switzerland famous for time. Everybody and everything runs on timetables. Never late. But Zurich has one of the highest levels of drug consumption. They also have mobile booths on street where prostitutes can entertain clients legally. May have a rep for straight-laced efficiency, but they always find outlets.

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