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I’m Only Interested in What’s New (he said)

“What’s true about human motivation and how to influence and persuade people hasn’t really changed over the last 100 years,” I said.

“I completely disagree,” he said. “Everything has changed in the last five years, let alone fifteen.”

The conversation didn’t last long. We were talking about human motivation, influence, and persuasion. I am 67, and he is closer to 27.

Maybe I’m just old, but I’m pretty sure most of us . . .

  • Crave affiliation (some prefer domination).
  • Worry about status.
  • Want what is scarce.
  • Believe in the value and importance of reciprocity.
  • Conform to the norms of our tribe.
  • Prefer to appear consistent.
  • Gravitate towards people we like and who appear to like us.
  • Respond and show deference to those in authority.

What’s also true is that those “rules of the road” work well for us until they don’t. Leveraging those preferences is a classic tool of influence and persuasion.

It took us two million years to get this way. The internet didn’t change these dynamics. AI won’t either.