Scott Monty

Scott Monty

Advertising man Rory Sutherland raises some great points worth pondering in this TED Talk from October 2009. He notes that most problems are problems of perception. How many problems in life can be solved by tinkering with perception rather than the hard work of trying to change reality?

From the Eurostar train to placebos, the origin of the potato as a staple of our diet to iron jewelry, denim, breakfast cereal, Coca-Cola and even social networking, Sutherland takes a different look at how problems have been solved or brands have been built based on embracing perception as the central element to be improved. He even offers an adman's humorous definition of savings ("Consumerism needlessly postponed."). But through it all, he makes insightful commentary on the value we create and where it might be most effective.

Spend 16 minutes to watch this very informative and entertaining video - I guarantee it'll be worth your time. I'll give you a full refund if you don't agree. ;-)

Main points / takeaways:
  • All value is subjective
  • Persuasion is better than compulsion
  • Create intangible value to replace material value - particularly when we can place a far higher value on things that already exist rather than creating new things
  • Change the interface to change the behavior
"We are perishing for want of wonder, not want of wonders" -- G.K. Chesterton

If you're not familiar with TED Talks, I suggest paying a visit to the site. There are scores of these short lectures available from the TED Global conferences as well as many of the regional TEDx conferences around the world. It's a treasure trove of great information and, as TED says, "Ideas worth spreading."

Related reading:
Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein

Follow @rorysutherland on Twitter