Day 29: Hacking, A/B Tests and Science

You know what's fun?

Problem solving.

I know, I know, sometimes at work or other occasions when you are forced to problem solve, it sucks. But for the most part, it's highly engaging.

Think about it, as human beings we get to problem solve all the time. In fact, I'd venture to guess we are probably spending about 75% of our time solving problems. Stuck in traffic? Switch lanes, or take an alternate route. Burnt your steak tonight like I did? Cut the steak sideways and get the black coal off.

Where am I going with all this?

I think many of us underestimate the learning that occurs when it comes to problem solving. Your brain is tackling many scenarios, throwing out ideas, accepting assumptions and making decisions. To me, not only is that creative thinking vital to solving problems, it's helping you learn and grow, and thus, fun.

Albert Einstein once said if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.

In other words, before we solve the problem, we must take a step back and think through what the actual problem is. This is what hackers do, as I learned recently from a Tim Ferriss podcast.

He interviewed a hacker credited with taking down MySpace when it was at it's height of popularity. The hacker, Samy Kamkar, explained he looks at the world in terms of inputs and outputs. If he wants "A" to become "B", but is restricted by what's available, he'll analyze all possible inputs to get there.

He gave the example of hacking computer memory when not having a keyboard or mouse, and instead literally freezing the data with liquid nitrogen, which changed the input (temperature or environment). Apparently, when you freeze memory it stays in exactly the same state as just prior to it's freezing.

Sure not all of us have liquid nitrogen at our disposal (DAMN IT!), but your brain is far more powerful than some frozen chemical. 

For example, you can rephrase the problem to come up with solutions. If you're tasked, like I am, with "increasing revenue", you can rephrase what the problem is, giving yourself vastly different options. If, instead I chose to look at the problem as "attracting revenue" or "creating revenue", it becomes a different problem -- or at least a different way of looking at it, which allows for alternative solutions.

You can also challenge the assumptions. Instead of increasing revenue through getting more customers, you could focus on less customers and increase the value of each one, thus increasing revenue. The assumption might be you need more sales or more customers, when in actuality you could achieve a better result with less sales and less customers. Or as Jerry Maguire said, "Fewer clients. Less money."

Maybe instead of "increasing sales" you could "create loyal fans." Now, which of those two do you think would result in a better outcome? I'd say a loyal following is way more important than "more sales."

And remember, you can always A/B test your process. Try creating loyal fans for two weeks and measure the results. Then test focusing on increasing sales for two weeks. See what happens. Measure, analyze, test, think.

It's what makes us human and life fun.

And it's what I am currently doing with Alpha Brain to capture maximum results. I'm testing various inputs. Whole capsule versus breaking open capsule and consuming a certain percentage of the ingredients. Half a capsule taken with water versus half taken with coffee. Time of day taken, etc. The possibilities are endless. 

See, I told you this was fun. #science.


P.S. You can read about Onnit's A/B testing of Alpha Brain here--fascinating stuff if you're a nerd like me. 

(Oh, and by the way, did you know dreaming and REM sleep is one of the best ways to problem solve? And what does Alpha Brain assist with? Dreaming and REM sleep. I'm not saying, I'm just saying.)