Kevin deLaplante 0:06
In a normal critical thinking class, you'll learn about fallacies and learn that the ad hominem fallacy is a fallacy of, of attacking a person and saying something about you that I don't like personally. And then from that you infer that their argument, the claim they're making, or their reasoning is somehow bad. Now, we're taught that that's a fallacy because it's irrelevant. That is the facts about someone's character, even if they're true, may not be relevant to someone's argument if they're appealing to facts and logic and so on. But in the real world, ad hominem attacks work a lot.
Matt O'Leary 0:46
This is Matt O'Leary, and you're listening to the influence hacker podcast.
Let's face it, marketing doesn't have a great reputation. While cynicism about the field grows, making people care about products, services, platforms and good ideas isn't going away anytime soon. That's why we need to chart a path forward to learn how marketing can be both growth oriented and good to humanity.
This podcast is an unlikely collaboration between marketing expert John Lenker, academic philosopher Kevin deLaplante, and myself, a counselor by training through fascinating interviews and in depth analysis. Our purpose is to educate everyday consumers, such as myself to be more critically minded and discerning about marketing messaging, while educating marketers to be more ethical and effective as they strive to influence consumers. We affectionately call this process influence hacking.
John Lenker 2:03
You were very arm's length with the topic, it wasn't like you had an axe to grind. You were not trying to indoctrinate people about critical thinking. So you kept a very professional arm's length, but you were clearly fascinated with the content. And you were able to talk about the basic principles in a way that was sort of like eating popcorn and you wanted to the next little piece and the next little piece and the next little piece. You You could transform sort of a casual interest to someone who's like, wow, I really care about critical thinking now, I realized that you had a role to play in helping society understand how to process information in a more productive way. And I thought that, and I continue to think that the world is in desperate need of that.
Matt O'Leary 2:54
That was John talking about finding Kevin's podcast about five or six years ago before they teamed up as business partners. If you've been following along with our podcast so far, you've heard the wise and gentle voice of Kevin deLaplante. Kevin is co host of sorts, who usually goes about eight layers deeper on any given topic than anyone else involved by interviewing John in our last episode and Kevin this time, I wanted to give you a better sense of who they are and where they come from. They're the true originators of the show and the thought leaders around the ideas we present here on influence in the marketing context.
Kevin deLaplante 3:34
The icons when I was a kid, from science fiction and fantasy, we're always the mentor figures. So it wasn't Luke Skywalker, it was Obi Wan. And then the other one it was Yoda. My pictures on my wall were were of Yoda. It wasn't Frodo. It was Gandalf. And among the scientists. It was like Carl Sagan, writers like Isaac Asimov. So I had a really positive image of the scientist as an archetype that I aspired to, partly because of their role, as you know, they were professional investigators into nature, but also because of their ability to invent great new technologies, and share a perspective of the world that other people didn't have. They could be teachers and mentors as well.
Matt O'Leary 4:25
Kevin's done a lot of stuff, but if I had to summarize his mission, it would be to improve people's critical thinking, communication and persuasion skills. He took his work to the open market back in 2015, moving away from a life in academia to creating the critical thinker Academy argument ninja dojo and argument ninja podcast as a longtime professor of critical thinking, ethics, logic, scientific reasoning, among many, many other things. He had a hunger to spread the skills outside the classroom, and with upwards of 50,000 students served through online courses, over 40,000 YouTube subscribers and even a video with over a million views. It's clear that this move was fruitful.
Kevin deLaplante 5:14
If you care about being able to be effective communicators in marketing realm, effective influencers, they in a way that is both effective and respects the autonomy and the rationality and the personhood of the audience's that you're trying to influence, then you care about ethical and effective influence. If you're a consumer and you care about about being a critical consumer conscious consumer, being able to make good choices that reflect your true needs and goals, your true nature, in this persuasion environment where all these different forces are pulling on you to buy this, do this, think this feel this, then you should care about developing the skill set that makes you become a more critical and independent consumer.
Matt O'Leary 6:05
In this episode, we'll get you thinking psychologically and philosophically about the human realities that lie at the core of persuasion, and influence. And as an extension marketing. We talk about rational arguments versus persuasive arguments, we'll hit some cognitive biases, rhetoric as a performative skill, fixed versus context dependent views of human nature. So it's a little bit of everything, and even a little Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and Saving Private Ryan come up, because apparently, we're in the blockbuster movie mood. You'll notice when you listen to this episode, that there's a little bit of discontinuity as far as the tonal quality of some of the voices and recordings. It's just a matter of drawing from a lot of different sources, including zoom calls and different interviews and things. Due to the psychology of pricing, you'd probably feel like you are getting more educational value from this podcast if you are paying for it. But alas, consider this your free seminar.
Kevin deLaplante 7:15
I take it as a as an argument ninja principle and influence hacker principle, by extension, that explanations of human behavior that appeal to this group is irrational and dumb, versus this group of smart and well informed or almost never right. That is the perception that you're the group that you're opposed to that you stand apart from as systematically irrational, uninformed, prone to manipulation, under the influence of of forces that are warping their judgment. That is a perspectival position.
Matt O'Leary 8:02
To get you warmed up, I want you to think about one thing, just one, you ready. Vaccines, one word, but it's very likely that when I say vaccines, you experience a rush of thoughts that extend well beyond the Merriam Webster definition of the word. Now, this goes for everything right? You know, language is rich with associations and meaning. But vaccine is a word that's especially charged in 2022. You may have thoughts about personal experiences at a clinic or a conversation with a co worker about COVID. Maybe someone in your life with an illness, you know, it's very likely that some people feel a strong rush of emotion. It could be frustration with me for even bringing it up and not making a strong PSA. Maybe confusion or even fury with the political flurry surrounding the topic, maybe sadness or pride, maybe even a strong disdain for someone else who posted something about it on Instagram.
Kevin deLaplante 9:12
It's like everyone sees the universe is expanding from wherever they are. Right? Wherever they are, seems like the center of rationality. From their standpoint, they look at the across the other side and the people who have made the different judgment, the different sides, they're the ones who are systematically irrational, or immoral, or under informed or warped or manipulated in some way.
Matt O'Leary 9:39
Kevin isn't saying that rationality per se is relative, or there aren't positions on political issues or other topics that are closer to the truth are further away. What he's saying is that the judgement of oneself as rational and the other as irrational is a feature of our tribal psychology.
Kevin deLaplante 10:00
Tribal identities, and social groups and cultural groups are a type of that influence our judgments about who to trust, what to believe, what arguments are persuasive and compelling or not. That's part of the hardware that we come equipped with all the time. Nothing particularly bright, you know, good or bad about it. But environments can be such that a highly politicized environment can take an issue that otherwise people can have healthy disagreement about, and all of a sudden, it becomes a toxic thing. It's not inevitable. But the vaccine topic is one of them. And almost any politically, kind of salient topic has has this feature that it's connected in some way to an affinity group or a cultural group. Most Topics are not like that it is pathological. Like when you, If I were to ask you whether or not the second hand effects of smoking are a serious health risk? Would you view that as a liberal or a conservative? Is there a side to that question in which liberals take one stance and conservatives another? Or what about the risks and benefits of like nanotechnology that are emerging? Is there a conservative side on that or a liberal side on that? No. It hasn't been, the topic is up for debate, people don't have it's a complex issue. But the issue hasn't begun to attach to a cultural identity.
John Lenker 11:30
I think these types of types of topics are probably more correlated to where you fall on the Myers Briggs spectrum.
Matt O'Leary 11:41
John brings up personality here. And there's a lot of research on the connection between personality and politics. But the more important thing for our purposes here is just this idea of emotionally charged or hot button topics. Our tribal psychology can easily be activated or triggered, which colors the way we interpret messages in the marketplace. And now that I say it, I realized that trigger is kind of a triggering word. Kevin talks here about how tribal psychology is leveraged to strengthen marketing messages. And when I say tribal, here, I'm talking about social or cultural groups with strong identities based in politics, or personality or interest, even just a strong emotion like nostalgia,
Kevin deLaplante 12:28
I'm going to take this other belief or this desire, this action I want you to do, you're going to try to establish positive association between that thing and this other thing, so that you will come to have a positive attitude towards it. And that's the communication strategy. This happens all the time, right in marketing, and in and we do it, we do it interpersonally all the time as well. And when you frame it that way, it can sound manipulative in a disturbing way.
Matt O'Leary 12:57
An obvious example of this would be some company using a rainbow during pride month in their product ad, you know, to signal their support for something that is actually unrelated to the product itself. Or I just saw this the other day a a John Deere tractor featured on a can of light beer. The cynic might say that this is in some way manipulative or gross. But a realist would say that this is simply the nature of human psychology and influence. But what about attempts to persuade, not signaling loyalty to a certain group or individual but trying instead to change their mind to guide them down a different path, or get them to jump on a new bandwagon.
Kevin deLaplante 13:41
If you have beliefs that are strongly attached to someone's identity, then what changing that means is disrupting the identity. And then they you help all these defense mechanisms that want to preserve that I did a podcast once where I talked about the I called something the, the Indiana Jones switch, where you know, in the first movie, where he's got to steal the, you know, the idol, right. And in order to not trigger all the arrows and the defense things, he's got to swap it out with something of equal weight that's playing the role it's taking. And so the strategy there involves if it's a person talking about and you're talking about a belief or a conviction that's close to the core of their identity, you should expect to experience a bunch of defensive responses unless you can, you can protect you can swap something out, or you can, you can protect the transformation of the core in a way which are so that the structure doesn't fall apart. They still have a stable identity, right?
Matt O'Leary 14:50
When you bring an innovative product to the market or a new idea, you can't expect people to just get it instantly, you know, especially if it challenges some Some deeply held opinion or conviction, as marketing consultants, John, Kevin and I are in situations where this is relevant all the time. It's tempting when you're working for someone, but trying to guide and direct them to just throw up your hands and get frustrated when they don't just take your word for it. Kevin suggests a different approach that's more aware of the psychological realities we've discussed.
Kevin deLaplante 15:24
We have to be able to think about, okay, what's going to be persuasive to them? How do we, if we assume that they are the kind of dug in they're invested in this here, but we think that the path that they're going on is a little bit risky, or there's a better path for them? What's our strategy for communicating with them that respects their autonomy, respects who they are, that doesn't try to manipulate or deceive them, but puts them in a position to really consider an alternative that could be in their interest?
John Lenker 16:30
When when you perceive that someone is so involved in their perspective, even though you could think of a lot of arguments that that you could show them, hey, you know, have you thought of this this? Of course they have. But they're not in the readiness to learn and receive, it's just not there. So why poke at somebody in that state? Why unless you just want to create conflict, because that's what's going to happen. Or it's going to sever a relationship or an opportunity. You know, the call isn't to just beat people over the head with information that you believe. The idea is to be helpful, when there's a readiness, a willingness and an ability to read something that you can be there with that cup of cold water on a hot day, like in our first episode, right?
Matt O'Leary 17:15
John goes on here to lament the overuse of the word phobia as this tribal tactic to discredit the other side. And that feeds into a conversation about other biases that shaped the way people perceive information and make decisions.
John Lenker 17:32
I myself don't think that I have many phobias, but I was thinking if I ever went on, like, what's that trail that everybody goes on that multi mile one of those bucket list journeys, it's a it's a, like multi day hike through the mountains somewhere out east. I thought if I ever did that, and I brought my dog Finland, I for sure would want to have a snakebite kit with me because of my dog Finland ever got bitten by a snake and I didn't have an ability out in the middle of the woods to like feet healer on that spot. I wouldn't be able to live with myself forever. I'd be so heartbroken. So you know, that's a rational prepared to bring a first aid kit into the woods, you might get hurt. But, but an unreasonable fear of something where, you know, I can't I can't enter a room unless I've looked in every corner to make sure there's not a deadly spider and oh, by the way, I live in Minnesota and there's like hardly anything here that's that deadly. That's a phobia. It's an it's an unreasonable fear of something. And we all the time throw things out this phobia or that phobia is a pejorative against someone when they forget that, that a phobia is an irrational fear of something.
Kevin deLaplante 18:45
It's a good segue into Daniel Kahneman, actually, since these are the kinds of judgments that he said, you know, just hard to do. We asked him, What are the odds being bit by snake? What are the odds of being hit by lightning? What are the odds of dying in a car accident or winning the lottery? All of these are hard ones, right? hard questions, or what are the odds of being hurt by a vaccine shot? Most people can probably give you a snap answer to it. And what he was studied, right, was this, like, what is our brains what our brains doing when we come to a snap judgment about a hard question? Well, the pause that they had was that our brains are using a shortcut. Rather than wait around and do the cost benefit calculation, weigh all the evidence and do the things that a you know, a scientific researcher would do or jury would do whatever, then you have, you had to act fast, and you'd have to have some kind of shortcut. So if someone if you've been seeing reports about snake bites recently, then they're vividly present to your memory. And when asked the question about the likelihood of getting a snake bite, you're going to answer with a higher likelihood than someone who hasn't been exposed to snake bites in the media or in their environment at all. Right. Cuz they're they have a hard time imagining. But if something is vividly present to your mind in an individual cases that we tend to estimate, the likelihood of those events has been higher. And that's an example of a rule of thumb where you our brain substitute out the question that were asked with a different question. It's easier to answer. Another one, this is a case for all kinds of risk judgments like by ask the question, should nuclear power play a larger role in meeting our energy needs today? That's a complex question. A lot of people have very snap feelings about that faster. Right away. And what happens is that your brain swaps out that question to how do I feel about nuclear power? And your your brain surveys your body's visceral reaction? Is it positive or negative? If it's positive? That's the immediate response. Can I feel good about it? And so when they asked to give my answer, then I will come up with a rationalization of my judgment. I won't say that I, I approve, I simply feel good about it, I'll give reasons for those reasons will conform to the feeling. This particular cognitive bias is called an affect bias. Affect bias is a view where use our feelings to anchor the judgment about probabilities of things or risk that we heard cost benefit things. And the cognitive bias, the kinds of biases and heuristics tradition in psychology studies, all kinds of these three sorts of internal psychological mechanisms that we use to make quick judgments. That otherwise if you had to wait for a brain to do the lengthy logical evidence based analysis, it'd be too late you'd be hit by the car, you would be you know, it's not evolutionarily adaptive. To do that. So we have to have a suite of judgment rules of thumb that allows us to make quick judgments that are going to be good enough, good enough for survival purposes, and so on.
Matt O'Leary 22:07
So far, we've scratched the surface of the psychology of decision making, and some of the key biases that influence our judgments, beliefs, and decisions such as affect bias or our tendency towards tribalism. These psychological factors influence behavior, along with innate personality traits and genetics. The missing piece, though, is the environment and the whole realm of social psychology.
Kevin deLaplante 22:35
There's also a bunch of experiments in social psychology about moral moral disposition. So when someone like what is it required to make someone feel like they are going to not cheat in some opportunity where they could cheat or not, and you can change the configuration of the of the environment of the experiment, and people will more often cheat in this case, but they won't cheat in this other case, because of the changes in their in their environment, or changes in the social context or changes in framing or priming, you know, some famous things about people not taking as many jellybeans from a jar, which are entitled to reach from if there's a pair of eyes that are on a poster, you know, staring at them. Because they're being watched, but also social groups, we know that it's really easy, we really are much easier for us to stay healthy and fit. And other sorts of things. If we surround ourselves with people who are healthy and fit.
Matt O'Leary 23:35
This huge range of variables involved in decision making makes predicting behavior pretty hard. But that doesn't stop us from trying. We use our mental shortcuts and storytelling abilities to predict how people will act that work decently well, in some circumstances,
Kevin deLaplante 23:53
the evidence is that I can usually predict what Matt is going to do, or John will do in a particular circumstance that I'm familiar with. And we've seen some repetition, but it's quite hard to predict how people will behave under a very novel condition, like the foxhole, or who's going to be the one to jump on the the hand grenade or who's going to be the one who, who stands up against in that difficult situation very hard to predict.
John Lenker 24:19
This goes back to one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Which movie Jurassic Park, the original movie, the scene where the T rex is chasing the vehicle. They're two adults in the vehicle and two children. And when they get to a place where the T rex is like flipping the car over and whatever, or before that happens, the hero in the story hates kids. It's been established. He doesn't like kids. The other guy, the accountant, the suit, you know, the guy who acts all confident and cocky. He's terrified. He goes running out of the vehicle into a little building that's got a toilet and the guy who who hates kids is the one who sticks with the kids. Remember the little kids going, here's their line ago, he left us, he left us, he left us, you know, and they were freaking out. And he looked at them, he grabbed their shoulders looked in their eyes, because they needed to get a hold of themselves and listen to Him and follow Him. And He said, but that's not what I'm gonna do. That's not what I'm going to do. So it's like, you know, it's hard to sometimes judge a book by its cover in terms of how people behave, because they don't always behave based on what they say they are. Right? And I think I think a lot of times, we don't know who we are, until we're in those situations, and we witnessed ourselves. That's right, performing, and then we're introduced to who we are.
Kevin deLaplante 25:46
That's right. It can be upsetting experience, or a good one, right? If it goes well, you can surprise yourself by how spontaneously when acts in a good way, you know, under under harsh conditions, but the ones we fear, right, the ones we fear are the ones where we hope that we will perform certain way. And in fact, there's that scene from, you know, Saving Private Ryan, where one of the soldiers in the troop freezes, right, there's the German who's walking down the stairs, and he has a gun, and he could have killed him. And, and he's just freezes and the German looks at him, he, he had just killed his partner. And he freezes he can't do it, the German guy walks right, right by him, and he had the gun and the other one didn't. And then he collapses. He's just so distraught by his own inability to know, right, and there wasn't any evidence, but before in the movie, that he would react that way.
Matt O'Leary 26:56
Part of what brought Kevin out of the university was to teach more of a holistic hybrid of disciplines that would actually make people more effective thinkers and communicators, not just in theory, but in the real world.
John Lenker 27:11
Can you bring to light sort of the problem that you're trying to solve in a sort of the, the peril of, you know, in a university setting, setting up these very vertical siloed narrowly defined disciplines that don't cross pollinate? Maybe some of the the question marks that aren't getting answered in one discipline group could very quickly be answered if some of the the thought process of another discipline or some of the background knowledge of another, another discipline suddenly suddenly came to illuminate it?
Kevin deLaplante 27:44
Well, there's, there's like two things, I think, what can speak to here, what the tradition of rhetoric shows us is that you can have a good argument, but it won't register as a persuasive argument, unless there's an audience that trusts you, as a communicator, as a source of information. So that whole idea about about framing a communication context, in which I'm thinking about, not just the argument I'm making, but about the way the argument is going to be received and how I'm going to be perceived as a communicator, that's never discussed in the sort of the logic oriented approach to, to reasoning. If you were doing debate, for example, it was all about the debate club was all about rhetorical persuasion within a particular kind of a context, but they knew very little about what made for a genuinely good argument. Right? Or if you were doing actual sort of Street Epistemology as it were, you're out in the street in the real world, trying to persuade someone of something or have a conversation. All the rules of sort of ritualized conversation you do in the classroom, or in a debate scenario are gone. Like now you're on the street, and people are responding and whatever their wrongness and authenticity. And so you have, you have you need to have a different a wider set of skills in order to bring these tool sets outside of the classroom into the real world. So you can have real world influence on people.
John Lenker 29:20
Let me let me just interject because I think I can simplify from my layman's perspective, when most people think about critical thinking, what they really want that that's shorthand for logic, I want to think logically, right? Critical Well, if I'm thinking critically, I'm thinking logically, but then just because you can create an argument that's logically sound, doesn't mean that it'll be persuasive doesn't mean that it'll work on people. From the beginning of time. There have been people who say, here's the right way to eat, to be healthy, and and they give all the reasons and and for the most Part of the right? But then people go, Oh no, no, I would never eat that way I don't want that I, I need, I need to feel a sense of fulfillment and how I eat, you have a 99% chance of never getting cancer if you just eat this for the rest of your life. And, and people go, I'm scared of getting cancer, but no, there's no way I'm going to eat that way. So there's something else that affects people's choices and their behavior, whether they're conscious or unconscious. And so if all you learn is is the logic of argumentation, you will never be effective, you need to understand the persuasion side. And so what you put together rational persuasion, your shorthand for pulling these ideas together and having them cross influence one another, so that you don't, you know, dig yourself into a deep hole, or paint yourself into a corner.
Matt O'Leary 30:57
The martial arts analogy of Kevin's argument ninja Dojo is apt for many reasons, but particularly because training in a dojo is in part about learning complex sequences of performative skills, to be influential in any profession or social group, you have to perform in a way that doesn't have much to do with academic theories or concepts.
Kevin deLaplante 31:22
It's not just thinking, it's not just reasoning. It's a type of skill development. And your body does it when you speak. When you engage in conversation, you're doing something in the world, you have to respond in real time, the way that you're when you're playing sports, you have to resolve you have to pivot on the field, when you're running, you know, a play or something, you have internalized also all sorts of skills, and you're not planning anything you really are, we're not, you're not consciously planning things out the way you would like on a spreadsheet or a plan, you are executing a play, rather than making decisions with cost benefit analysis at each point in it. So your body is internalized, and develop skills, you know, automatized skills, and that's the performance that we're actually going for.
John Lenker 32:13
You've got people who've got black belts in taekwondo, who are all jacked up on the fact that again, this very skilled person within the context of this dojo, who have a very rude awakening, when they go out of the context, and the safety and the artificial parameters, the everybody's agreed to a certain set of rules within which you operate just like a debate team. And then you go out there in the real world and suddenly you're just flicked aside by someone with ostensibly very little training.
Kevin deLaplante 32:44
I'll give you a give you an example of of the the inside the dojo outside of the dojo distinction. In a normal critical thinking class, you learn about fallacies and learn that the ad hominem fallacy is a fallacy of, of attacking a person and saying something about you that I don't like personally. And then from that you infer that their argument, the claim they're making, or their reasoning is somehow bad. Now, we're taught that that's a fallacy, because it's irrelevant. That is the facts about someone's character, even if they're true, may not be relevant to someone's argument if they're appealing to facts and logic, and so on. But in the real world, ad hominem attacks work a lot. In fact, every standard fallacy that's taught as a fallacy in an auto class is a persuasive technique that people that is effective in the real world. The reason why we call it a fallacy when we bother to label is because people deploy it and are influenced by it in a systematic way. So red herrings and straw man. It's a fallacy, but it works. Right? It's deployed all the time. And in fact, it's the default mode of communication in most adversarial discourse contexts, especially politics right there, no one is going out of their way to make the strongest case for for the opposition. So, and audiences respond to it. So, here we have two fallacies in our in our dojo, that's a mistake in this other contexts. It's a virtue. It's a virtue of persuasive communication in this environment, to deploy strawman arguments to attack the person rather than the argument is so long because it's because it works. I've had many students tell me that they go home, when they try out an argument on their parents, and they just get a lot of pushback. You're just not persuasive at all. You know, people get mad at them now. They think they probably sound condescending, but they're
John Lenker 34:51
I think it's important that we qualify some of this because I don't think there's anything in your heart that saying for example that kids who go to taekwondo class for four years and get a black belt in karate, there's no value. It's all a trick. Yeah, I know, like, all three of my kids are black belts in karate. They all went through the process from when they were, you know, various ages, I think, eight, six, and four, my kids were when I got them into it. And there, there are numerous benefits that came out of learning how to do precision movements that are memorized, that are carefully scrutinized in slight adjustments made of you know, the way you position your wrist or, you know, slight turn, or to have enough confidence to go into a sparring match and being intimidated by someone yet overcoming that. I think I think really what it gets down to is, you know that in a context like that, the instructors need to provide clear expectations about what it is and what it is not that they're benefiting from. Just like we'd never say, well never go to college and study logic, it's a complete waste of time.
Kevin deLaplante 36:05
So the the general Japanese name for a martial art is bujutsu. It covers the whole categories, the bu means martial and jutsu mean skill or techniques. So it's like skill in combat. But they also use this other nerve of this other term called bu-do who was is is martial, but do means path or way. So it's the martial way. It's a martial path. And that's the one that is describing the kind of spiritual transcendent lifestyle, personal development side of the martial arts, where you're aiming for a goal. That's not it's more than just combat skill. So when I think about the argument, Ninja, I'm thinking about these two sides as well, where you are practicing and the art of persuasion and influence that's like the combat side, you're actually trying to make influence in the world, you affect people's beliefs, judgments, values, that's the skill part. But you're also doing you're doing that just for that sake. In developing that skill, you're developing the ability to pursue things like truth, wisdom, virtue, independence, of thought, those higher goals, the goals of critical thinking, that make you that you could pursue that you want to pursue independent of having to sort of beat someone else down, right?
Matt O'Leary 37:23
I just want to interrupt Kevin here and say, what he's saying is really the exact thing that we're talking about. When we say, our goal is to learn how marketing can be both growth oriented and good to humanity. It's both of those in balance, you know, to teach marketers to be both ethical and effective,
Kevin deLaplante 37:45
you elevate yourself by developing the skill set. And so just as like the warrior who learns how to be influential, or skilled in combat, but chooses not to, or chooses No, chooses exactly when to and when not to. Similarly, the argument ninja develops the skills so they can become influential to exercise their will in the world. But then they have the judgment to know when to do it, and what kinds of what kinds of choices are ethical, what kinds of choices are elevated? What kinds of choices are things that you will you would rationally choose to pursue for the sake of higher value? That's the argument ninja way for me that's the influence hacker way. Right? We it's the exact same argument. The analogy is simply just the domain in which we're operating is a little different
John Lenker 38:36
in the cynic would say, Well, you know, if you truly never intend to use these skills for combat, you know, Taekwondo or martial art, why not just learn gardening? Right? I mean, you can there's a lot of virtue and patience and how to nurture things. And in the answer is, well, it goes back to the old saying, better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.
Kevin deLaplante 39:03
John Lenker 39:04
and because we live in a world where those who simply choose to be gardeners will be trampled underfoot by the domineering warmonger types, you know, that that? Nikolai Machiavelli so eloquently discussed, you know, would be that we can all be peaceful, but because there are those that will take advantage of the peacemakers when their guard is down, we always have to prepare to be vigilant, and, you know, hope to God that we can live like warriors in the garden than have to be warriors on the battlefield, but we are prepared nonetheless.
Matt O'Leary 39:51
I realize that this conversation was really an 80,000 foot view type of episode, but I think it's worth it to share a crash course. Have Kevin's huge range of knowledge which really gets at the heart of our mission. Marketing is really just one manifestation of a deeper goal that I think Kevin's described pretty well in this episode. If you're interested in digging into these topics in a more systematic way, and basically getting a master's degree without spending 50,000 And check out Kevin's critical thinker academy.com and his recommended sequence of courses which I'll link in the show notes. The influence hacker podcast is executive produced by John Lenker and Kevin Noah block. Our mixing and mastering engineer is Patrick Doberman, the producer of this podcast as well as the writer of narrative and original music is yours truly, Matt O'Leary.