How we buy plane tickets and why it's ruining air travel

If you want to place blame for tarmac delays, bad airline customer service, and nickel & diming fees -- look no further than how you yourself purchase plane tickets. As consumers, we choose to purchase services based on any number of criteria that are important to us. In return, suppliers of these services cater their strategies to try to meet our needs and win that business.

If we purchase things as a commodity, it will get sold as a commodity. Plain and simple.

Price anchoring, or why a $499 iPad seems inexpensive

“Any time you have to estimate a numerical value, it turns out you’re very susceptible to the power of suggestion,” says William Poundstone, author of the new book Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It). “Any related value that you hear just before you make your estimate really does have this big statistical impact on what number you’re going to estimate.”

In other words, at the moment Jobs says, “The pundits think we’re going to price it at under $1000,” this plants a seed in your mind: an iPad costs something like $1000. When he reveals the real price, you feel like you’ve just saved $500. If he said, “We were thinking of pricing it at $399, but we decided to go for $499,” that would feel like a ripoff—even though absolutely nothing has changed.

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Maybe there's no such thing as an influencer

If it’s the message that is, indeed, the key to influence then there’s really no way to predict and thus measure and replicate its power; messages spread on merit. That is a frightening idea for marketers because the viral influencer in social media - pick your buzzword - is their messiah for the digital age, the key to escaping the cost and inefficiency of mass media (and the cost and apparent tedium of real relationships with us as individuals). If you can’t bottle influence, you can’t sell it.

The message spreads not because of who spoke it but because the message is worth spreading.


Subliminal flag shifts political views and voting choices

In a shocking testament to the power of subliminal imagery - a quick flash in a laboratory can prime a person's behaviour some time later. It can even affect the most important political action of all - voting.

Do symbols affect the weight we give to different views or do they affect our innate biases? ... For now, the study serves to reiterate how important a simple symbol can be.