Tag Archives: Strategy

Make The Switch

Inside Out

The other night I was flipping around the TV and I came across an old episode of Seinfeld. It was the one where George decided to do the opposite of everything he’d normally do and he suddenly had fantastic results. He would walk up to girls and tell them he was unemployed and lived with his parents, and he would have startling success. It was pretty funny. I hadn’t watched a Seinfeld episode in a couple years, so it nice to get a dose of that style of humor.

For some reason, it reminded me of this seminar I attended a few years ago. It taught of a strange mixture of skills, from NLP to hypnosis to a bunch of other stuff. While it was only a three day seminar, there were several speakers who came and gave lectures, and did demos, and showed us how to do some pretty cool stuff with language and intention and all sorts of metaphysical style exercises, like throwing energy balls at each other and stuff. It was remarkable how well that stuff seemed to work.

One of the speakers was talking about how prolific metaphors are in daily life. He referred a couple of times to George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s work on metaphors, starting with their groundbreaking “Metaphors We Live By,” and how most of our language is shaped purely by metaphors.

For example, when you say something like “I’m in a meeting,” why do you use the preposition “in” instead of on, for example? According to Lakoff and Johnson (and many other linguists) whenever we use an intangible noun, we have to fit it into a category, in our brain, of a tangible noun, so we know what words to use when we talk about it.

For a meeting, it falls under the “container” metaphor. The beer is in the fridge, the pizza is in the box, and I’m in a meeting.

Another example is that in English, “up” is generally good, and “down” is generally bad. Things are looking up. Why do you look so down, etc. This guy at the seminar said that it goes much further than that. He said that our brains are hard wired for up to be good, and down to be bad. As an example, he had us stand up, hold our heads level, and look up with our eyes. In this position it was quite hard to think unhappy thoughts. On the other hand, when we stood, heads level, and looked down, it was pretty easy to think negative or depressing thoughts.

I suppose this could be explained going back to our evolutionary past. If you were looking down all the time, you might miss out on some food, or get eaten by a tiger. So people that developed an aversion to looking down lived longer, reproduced more, and made more people with the same aversion to looking down.

Another thing he talked about was more vague and far-reaching metaphors. He said that we have two basic strategies in life. One as children, and one as adults. Back in the old days of tribal style nomadic living, there was a clear boundary between the two. If you were a kid, you were a receiver. If you were an adult, you were an achiever and a provider. If you were an adult, and didn’t achieve or provide, you either didn’t find anybody to mate with, or you were outcast from the group. It wasn’t a very good strategy back in those days to be a freeloader.

He said that women made the metaphorical transition from childhood to adulthood pretty naturally. When they had kids, they naturally switched from being a receiver to a provider. Of course that required that they do a good job of selecting their mates, so they would be stuck raising a kid by themselves. There’s a pretty good “thought experiment” regarding different scenarios in Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene.”

But men, on the other hand, unless they were actually forced out on a hunt, in a live or die situation; they would stay in the childhood “give me” mode of thinking. That’s why societies developed those coming of age rituals for males but not for females. Females had them by default whenever they had kids.

But in modern society, it can be extremely difficult to go through that coming of age process without forcing yourself into it. He said that what makes it even more difficult is that you can do pretty well for yourself simply by expecting to receive.

One trap that people fall into is that we expect to get things because of “who we are,” instead of “what we do.” This guy said that the “who we are” is based childhood thinking. We want something; therefore we expect to receive it. That only works until you are about ten years old. After that you’ve got to start getting stuff on your own. But many people never fully break out of the “because of who I am” mindset.

This is confusing, because there really is no “who you are.” Every day you have new experiences, which affect your beliefs, which affect how you see the world. Even on a molecular level, you are constantly changing. Since you are always in flux, there really is no “way you are,” or “who you are.” Sure, there’s that self-awareness at the center of all this, but that awareness is simply that. You who are aware of your constant changing and updating state of being.

He said that it can take a long time to switch from the “give me because of who I am” to the “obtain because what I do” mindset. But when it does, it can seem uncomfortable, because the world can seemingly flip upside down. Things that used to work don’t any more, and things that you would never have dreamed of even trying only a couple weeks ago are working like a charm today.

The greatest part comes when you completely release the “because of who I am” mind set, the fear of rejection, in all situations, completely vanishes. Since there is no “who you are” to reject, everything simply become strategies and how effective they are. “Who you are,” doesn’t factor into the equation at all.

And once that happens, you can pretty much get anything you want out of life. You’ve just got to figure out the right strategy, and it’s yours.


To determine exactly what you want and precisely how to get it, click on the link below:

Success with NLP

Success with NLP

Are You Committed?

Dumpster Diving

Once there were these two crows. They were just hanging out, minding their own business, waiting for some free food. They had recently noticed that a new set of vending machines had opened up next to the entrance to a mall, and next to the vending machines was a set of trashcans. The crows had noticed that this was a potential good source of free food, as the trashcans next to the vending machines aren’t emptied nearly as often as other trashcans.

Of course, the crows had no idea of the trash-emptying schedule, they just knew that those colorful boxes sometimes were a good place to hang out and find some decent scraps of food. So when they saw a couple of these new shiny boxes, they figured they’d better hang out and get some good stuff. Usually when crows find a source of food, the first crow to get there generally has dibs. He or she can lose their place in line, should another crow come in and challenge their dominance. If the food is plentiful, like a giant cornfield, they usually don’t worry about things like that.

But when it’s a couple of vending machines in the middle of an otherwise barren (from a crows persepctive) parking lot, then it’s important to get there and establish yourself.

Of course, this strategy can backfire. Once a couple of crows thought they were being clever, and stuck out a claim next do a single vending machine next to a bowling ally, only to discover (after about a weeks worth of closely guarding their new source) that it was only a drinking vending machine, and didn’t produce anything to eat whatsoever. So there’s a fine line between waiting to see if there really is going to be some food, and showing up too late only to find somebody has already made a claim.

Commitment is an interesting thing, even from a human perspective. Everybody wants to get the best they can, but when you make a commitment to anything, a job, a person, a route to work, you are effectively cutting of all other options. If you choose too hastily, you will probably won’t make the best choice. If you take too long to decide, then you might miss out on a lot of good choices.

If you’ve ever played any kind of contact, or semi contact sport, like hockey, basketball, football, a great skill to have is to be able to fake out your opponent, getting them to commit to a particular course of action, and then change course yourself, effectively evading them. On the flip side, being able to read your pursuer, and not be taken in by their sleights a great skill to have as well.

Much has been written from a military strategy standpoint, all the way back to Sun Tzu’s “The Art Of War” detailing many strategies of how to get your enemy to commit to a particular course of action, (chosen of course by you) so you can more easily strike and destroy them.

A classic example is the Allied invasion of Normandy. Several “fake” landing craft were sent out, in order to fool the Nazis into thinking the invasion was happening someplace, else, so they would incorrectly commit their resources, effectively leaving them open to where the actual invasion was going to take place. It was a successful plot that was instrumental (not the only one by a long shot) in the defeat of the Nazis.

Committing to a decision can sometimes have unintended effects, especially when making personal choices about how we choose to live our lives. Many times, people commit to something, thinking they will get a certain result, but when the results don’t show up, people can tend to “change” their original intent, so as not to “waste” their efforts. Even when it is obvious that aren’t going to succeed in a particular endeavor (according to your original intention) many of us plod along anyways, not willing to admit that we’ve wasted all that time and effort.

In “The Peter Principle,” Laurence J. Peter asks why people continue to put effort into something that is obviously unsuccessful. Most people will give the argument “I’ve been doing this for ten years, I’m not about to quit now.” Peter asks “why continue to do something when you have ample evidence that it doesn’t work?”

Of course, this is tough to do. As pointed out by Cialdini in “Influence, Science and Practice,” commitment and consistency is a powerful motivating force in human decision-making. We tend to do things the way we’ve always done them, so long as they haven’t killed us. This tendency has been shown time and time again in various social experiments and studies. It can be extremely tough to change course after doing the same thing day in and day out year after year.

One alternative is to take a step up on the logical ladder. You can still stay committed to the underlying intent without being committed to the actions that you initially thought you would get you to that underlying intent.

Somebody may choose to change diets, if one particular diet isn’t working out, provided that they are still committed and focused on losing weight. In NLP, it’s taught that it’s usually a good idea to have less investment in any particular method, while having a solid understanding of your underlying goals. More flexibility is always preferred when deciding how you want to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve. If whatever you thought was going to get you there isn’t working out, you can always change strategies midway, while keeping your focus on your original goals. That way you’ll never fall into the “I’ve been doing this for X years, I’m not about to change now,” trap.

So the crows decided that they’d wait three days, and if they didn’t see any good food being thrown in the garbage, they’d go someplace else. They had enlisted the help of a couple buddies, so there were six of them in all. They figured two of them would stand guard at any given time, to establish their claim. The other two would go to other food sources in the meantime.

What the crows discovered was a virtual food goldmine, although it was completely unexpected. The vending machines happened to be set up just around the corner from the big dumpsters that all the restaurants in the mall were supposed to throw their food out into. When the crows noticed how much food was being thrown out, their small group swelled in numbers immediately, and they never went hungry again.

The Lady On The Stairs

Watch Your Step

This morning, as I was out on my normal morning, pre dawn walk, I witness a potentially devastating event. Just as I was walking past this apartment complex, an older middle-aged woman had just begun to start walking down the stairs. In both hands were bags that were overflowing with stuff. Just then, she tripped, and fell rather quickly straight onto her face, causing her head to twist at a strange angle. Because her hands were full, she couldn’t do anything to protect her self. As soon as her body slammed face first half way down the stairs, her momentum kept her turning as did another flip, landing on her back at the bottom of the stairs.

I remember a few years ago I used to be big into cycling. I had a mountain bike with slick tires. I got a mountain bike because there were quite a few extremely steep hills in my neighborhood, and I quite enjoyed riding up and down hills. With a regular road bike, the gear ratio wouldn’t have been enough to tackle some of the steepest hills.

I had been riding a hundred miles a week or so when I decided to add some extra components to my bike. The one I bought hadn’t been anywhere close to a top of the line model. More like a weekend hacker model. I bought some handle bar extensions, and some toe clips for the pedals. The handle bar extensions and the toe clips were for when I rode long, flat distances on the weekends. Usually to the beach and back.

So I got my toe clips, and went home to put them on. I read the instructions, which warned very severely of the dangers of not knowing how to get out of them in a hurry. I rode in a couple of circles taking them on and off. There was a special twisting motion you had to do. You had to kind of push down and twist out. At first it took a while, but with practice you can get out relatively quickly. I hadn’t got that far yet.

So I went off riding. It was about 6 pm on a weekday. Heavy traffic of people driving home from work. I decided to ride on one of my many hill routes. So I started off, and came to this really long hill. Just at the top, where it flattens out before going downhill, there is a big intersection. There are two lanes dedicated to turning right, and there isn’t a bike lane or a sidewalk. So if you are on a bicycle, and you want to go straight, you have to position yourself between the two rows of cars turning right, and the three rows of cars going straight.

Here’s the funny part. As I came to the top of the hill, I wasn’t going nearly fast enough to coast to a stop. As soon I stopped pedaling, my momentum would quickly die. Just as I stopped pedaling, I remembered I had my toe clips, but unfortunately, I didn’t remember until it was too late. Just as I tried to remember how to get out of them, I fell crashing to the ground.


What was interesting was, despite, the surprise, shock, and mild pain, the first thought to enter my mind was “I hope nobody saw that.” When I disconnected my feet from the pedals, I grabbed the stuff that had fallen out of my pocket, and stood back up. I briefly checked to see if I was bleeding, then I did my best to pretend that nothing happened. I didn’t want to look at anybody in the many cars around me, because I was sure my ego wouldn’t be able take it if somebody was laughing at me (just as I would likely be laughing at somebody in my own predicament). So anyway, I rode off, making sure to practice getting in and out of my pedal at every opportunity. I got pretty good at it, even though I fell over once more a couple days later. Luckily, there was nobody around.

I also remember a couple years ago I was running on a playground with some kids. I ran too fast for my own good, and suddenly felt an extremely sharp explosion of pain in my right hamstring, causing me to immediately collapse into a heap on the ground, screaming in pain. I remember then a completely different thought entered into my brain. I didn’t care if anybody saw me, I didn’t care if anybody was laughing at me, I didn’t care if I bothered anybody with my screaming. All I knew was that I was in pain, and I wasn’t going to do a goddamn thing until the pain went away. I would have lain their screaming until somebody called an ambulance if that’s what it took.

Luckily, however, with a few moments the pain subsided enough for me to stand on my own, and limp rather painfully to bench where I could sit down. As it turned out, I only pulled it; I didn’t rip it or anything. I just had to limp around for a couple of days.

Two different accidents, and two completely different automatic thoughts. One to protect the ego, and one to protect the physical body.

So when I saw the poor woman finally come to a seemingly painful halt at the bottom of the stairs, my first thought was how I was going to get an ambulance. I didn’t have a cell phone, and it was still dark, so there weren’t very many people around. Just as I was considering that, she brought her self up to a sitting position, and rubbed her hands over her face, looking at them, apparently checking for blood. No blood. I went over an asked her if she was OK, and she said she was, in a kind of a tone that made it seem like she was brushing me off. Then after another check for blood, she grabbed her things and started putting them back into her bag. I tried to tell her to rest for a bit, just to make sure she was OK, but she insisted she was. After she collected her stuff, she went to her bike a rode off to what I assume is her job.

At first, I admit, I was a little miffed that she didn’t thank me at all for coming to her aid, (even though I didn’t do anything) until I realized this was clearly the first kind of accident, where the first thought is to hope that nobody saw you, in order to protect your ego. Which is obviously much better than screaming for an ambulance.

As I continued on with my walk this morning, I thought how that is a pretty good example of many unconscious strategies that humans have developed over the years. In this particular case, the strategy seems to be:

Category One

Accident –> Check for damage –> Collect your stuff –> Keep going.

Or, in my playground example

Category Two

Accident –> Scream bloody murder until help arrives, or until accident is downgraded to category one.

Not a bad way to get out of trouble rather quickly.

What Is The Best Strategy?

Tit For Tat? Or Screw Your Buddy?

The other day I was riding my bike downtown, not going anywhere in particular. The weather was particularly nice, so I was just riding around. I had brought a couple of books in case I found a decent place to hang out. There wasn’t anything good playing at the movies, so I wasn’t in any hurry to be anywhere at any specific time.

I found this really strange bookstore. I hadn’t noticed it before. There were all these stacks of books that looked like they weren’t in any discernable order. Just slightly more organized than random. Like they just unloaded them from the used book truck and put them in stacks wherever there was space.

I went inside and started looking around. A sort of pattern emerged. The non-fiction books were over there, and the novels were up here in the front. And in the non fiction section, the how to books were kind of off to the side, the general non fiction books, like books about sociology, and the history and evolution of the sewing machine, and books about baseball were over there. And then the used textbooks were kind of off to the side next to up there.

As I started poking around, I was astounded by how cheap these books were. This one for twenty-five cents. That one for a dollar. The most expensive book I found was one titled “Step-by-Step Guide to Alchemy: How To Turn Any Object Into Pure Gold,” was three dollars. I turns out that it was a textbook that was used over at the university in an undergraduate course in metaphysics. I would have bought it, being able to turn anything into gold would seem to be quite a handy skill to have, but it was a really huge book, and even if it did fit into my backpack, there was no way I was going to haul this thing around the rest of the day.

So I continued to look, and I find this book about computer simulated game theory. It was written back in the seventies, and was about different programs that were developed to play a game called “The Prisoners Dilemma.” This is a classic puzzle from game theory. Here’s how it goes:

You have to people. Each has two cards. One card says “altruism,” the other card says “selfish.” Each player chooses which card to play. There are two players per game. If both players play the “altruism” card, they each get 500 points. If one player plays the “selfish card” and the other player plays the “altruism card” the selfish card player gets 900 points, while the altruism player gets nothing. If they both play the “selfish” card, each is penalized 100 points.

The game is called “prisoners dilemma” because if you have to supposed criminals, in separate rooms, they basically have the same choice. If they both claim innocence, the cops got nothing. If one guy rats out his buddy, while his buddy claims innocence, the first guy goes free (or gets a special deal) while his buddy is sent up the river. If they both rat out each other, then they both get penalized. This of course assumes that they both got caught unexpectedly, and didn’t have time beforehand to strategize.

So what they did, back in the seventies, was they had this round robin tournament. They invited whoever wanted to play to come up with a strategy that they thought would work best. Each player would play every other player (all computer simulated) and they would see who had the most points at the end. They would play a certain number of rounds per player, and then switch.

What they were most interested is what kind of strategy would work best, in the long run, with many different opponents. A selfish strategy, or an altruistic one.
I believe there is a game show in the UK that follows these same rules, but I don’t think it is as statistically relevant as this computer simulated tournament.

So which strategy do you think won? Selfish or altruistic? Which is better, look out for number one, or screw the other guy as often as possible?

The strategy that won, hands down, every single time, was a strategy called “tit for tat.” This strategy simply copied the last play made by your opponent. So if you met up with an opponent that played the altruism card last time, you’d play the altruism card in the current round. The reason this worked was that all the strategies that were based more on altruism, whenever they met a similar based strategy, they would quickly rack up points, as they would both play the altruism card most of the time. The tit for tat would just copy what it’s opponent did the last play, so it would play the altruism card most of the time with an altruistic opponent.

When the tit for tat strategy came up with a purely selfish opponent, neither of them would get any points, because the tit for tat would always copy the previous move of it’s opponent, which was always selfish.

The points accrued by two altruistic strategies when they met each other far out weighted the points lost when an altruistic strategy met a selfish strategy. Needless to say, whenever a selfish strategy met another selfish strategy, they didn’t get any points.

This computer simulated tournament was originally designed by evolutionists who wanted to see how altruistic strategies spring up in nature by organisms that are primarily selfish in nature. Like honey bees pollinating flowers in exchange for nectar, and monkeys that groom each other for no apparent reason. Somewhere, somehow, there is a payoff. And based on the computer simulation, you seem to get the most pay off with a “help the other guy out” mentality. While you might run into a few selfish people, you’ll more than make it up when you run into another like-minded “help the other guy out” strategist.

So anyway, I picked up that little book, which only cost fifty cents, and fit snugly into my backpack, and went pedaling off down the street, wondering what I would stumble upon next.

The Power Of Influence – Tool Or Weapon?

Do You Know When Your Strings Are Being Pulled?

There are two laws of influence that can be used in a particularly powerful combination. These two laws have been identified by Robert Cialdini in his bestselling book, “Influence, Science And Practice.” If you are interested in influence at all, and would like to either become better at it, or just to understand how pretty much everybody around you is using these techniques, you should read this book.

There is a vague belief that persuasion is kind of an “art,” and that people that are good at it are like musicians or painters who are born with some natural talent. But Dr. Cialdini has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that persuasion is indeed a science, rather than an art. A science that can be learned and applied either to benefit an individual, a company, or the leader of a nation.

There are several examples of how these principles of influence have been used without much concern for ethical considerations, but they still work nevertheless.

There is one fantastic example that comes to mind, which I’d like to share with you today. This was illustrated in “Influence.”

The first principle this involves is one of “commitment and consistency.” This is the idea that people are much more willing to do something if they have already publicly stated they will something, or have done something before that is similar.

A great Internet example is “click through.” If you visit a website of somebody trying to sell you something, you’ll likely have to click through several different pages to actually get to the point where you type in your credit card number. The reasoning behind this is people are much more likely to take the next step if they’ve already taken several previous steps.

If you land on some web page, and read some advertising text, and there is a button at the bottom that says “Buy Now!” The percentage of people that click on it is fairly low. But instead, if you shorten your sales page, and on the bottom is a button that says, “Click to Read More!” You’ll get much more people clicking through. Once you get visitors to click through three or four pages, they’ll be much more likely to click on a “Buy Now” button.

Another example is in jury trials. When they finish a trial, and the jury convenes they will often conduct a “straw vote” meaning that just give their first impression, guilty or not guilty, before the jury starts to discuss the case. Here’s the interesting part.

In jury deliberations where each juror publicly states, out loud, whether they feel the defendant is guilty or not guilty, the deliberations last more than twice as long as those where they jurors submit their initial guilty or innocent vote via anonymous slips of paper.

When people state their opinions out loud, they are much less likely to later change them. But when they submit their opinions in private, on an anonymous slip of paper, they later change their minds rather easily.

Another principle is one called scarcity. I’m sure you are well aware of this. Limited supply. Sale only lasts for two days. Only the first one hundred customers.

Study after study shows that people will give something a much higher value when they think it is scarce. A group of researchers did an experiment where they had people sample a cookie. In one case, they convinced the samplers that there were plenty of cookies, and the test would be going for quite a while, etc etc.

Then they told a different group of testers that the cookies were a limited batch, and it was a recipe that was only being tried out for a short period of time, and the testers were lucky to be in on the experiment. Keep in mind the testers or samplers were never sold anything, so there was no buying pressure.

The results? The samplers who were told there were many more cookies of the same kind gave it an average rating. The testers who were told that it was a small group of cookies, and they were a select group of testers gave it an excellent rating.

But they were the same exact cookie. Simply by telling people it was scarce, it made the cookie taste better.

Now for the powerful, Christmas time combination. I have no idea if this still happens today, but this story was illustrated in “Influence,” the book I mentioned previous.

There was a toy manufacturer. They made a toy, and put all kinds of TV commercials on, directed at little kids. They used all kinds of marketing tricks, mainly scarcity. Only a limited number of dolls made. Get yours today. Everybody wants this doll for Christmas.

Only when the parents went to the store to get the doll, they were all sold out. So they had to get a substitute gift for their kid. Then, a couple months after Christmas, they somehow found a hidden warehouse filled with these dolls. Of course, the kids saw this, told their parents, and their parents were pretty much obligated to buy the toy, as they had promised to buy it at Christmas but couldn’t find it.

Here’s how it works. Kid sees toy, bugs parent. Parents promises kid to buy them that particular toy. When buying time comes, toy isn’t available. Parent buys replacement gift. Two months later, toy reappears. Kid says, “But Daddy, you promised!” Daddy now has to go and buy gift.

Simply by manipulating the supply of the toys (scarcity) to increase demand, and depending on commitment and consistency (Daddy, you promised!) the toy company was able to double it’s Christmas sales. They sold a slew of replacement gifts (jacked up in price because of daddy’s guilt for not finding the promised toy) and then again a couple months later, when the original gift magically appeared, they had an increase in sales when all their competitor were suffering from a post Christmas slump

The beauty (or evilness, depending on how you look at it) of a plan like this is that this is almost impossible to defend against. What parent is going to tell their child they can’t have what the TV has said every other kid is getting? What parent is going to break a promise to their kid?

Everywhere you look, there are advertisements developed by companies who know and apply these principles on a daily basis. It helps to understand these principles so that you can use them yourself (in an ethical, win win scenario, of course) and to defend against them when they are used against you.

Altering Behavior Can Lead to Tremendous Results

I was waiting at the station the other day, waiting for a train, and I happened to be sitting next to a guy that was working on some very complicated math problems, or problem. I wasn’t sure if it was a bunch of different problems or if it was on big problem that was somehow interconnected to all the rest. Because he had them written on several different pieces of paper. He would write a bunch of equations, pause, and stare off into the distance, and then write some more. There were many people walking around, and it is summertime, so there are a lot of distractions that can steal your attention from a math problem, if you catch my drift.

Sometimes you can only focus on a problem for a certain amount of time before you need to give your brain a break. It’s kind of like lifting weights. You can only do so many sets before you need to set the weight down and give your muscles a chance to repair themselves. That’s how you get bigger muscles. When you lift weights, you are actually breaking down the muscle fiber, and then if you give yourself enough rest in between the exercise with proper nutrition, your muscles will rebuild themselves better, stronger, faster, just like Steve Austin.

Sometimes working on a mental problem is the same way. You need to give your brain a rest. I don’t know if there are brain fibers that break down and grow bigger, although it certainly can seem that way if you’ve ever done a lot of math homework. Einstein said that you could never solve a problem at the same level where it was created. So maybe staring off into the distance every so often gives your brain to look at things in different perspective.

Finally after the guy seemed to stare off into the distance longer than normal, I asked him what he was doing. I didn’t think I was disturbing his thought process. His body language seemed to indicate that he was taking a longer than usual rest. He told me he was working on some thermodynamics applications for his business. He is a chemical engineer at a local beer distillery, and he was working on some equations that are related to the process before fermentation. He was that they result that they were getting was adequate, but if they could streamline it a little bit, without giving up any quality, they would be able to increase their profit margin.

He said it’s all a matter of results and behavior. He said the problem is when you focus on only one side of the equation. The results, in this case, were the end product. The different brands of beer that his company produces. There are specific ways to measure results in his particular case. He explained that it’s important to stay away from measuring results subjectively, because obviously different people will have different opinions. It’s important to have an objective way to measure the results you get, so you can reproduce them or even improve on them. Specific gravity, alkalinity, color refraction index are different ways to measure the exact results. The other side of the equation is behavior. In this case the behavior is how the chemicals interact with each other in the fermenting tank. Time, temperature, sugar levels, ingredients of the initial mix are all things they can vary. The trick is to vary the behavior and see what the easiest and quickest ways are to get the results that you want. If you can find a relatively easy behavior that will give you the results you want, you’ve got a winner. Then you can go about varying your behavior and see if you can even improve on your results, which is even better.

I wish I would have gotten his name, or business card though. Going on a tour of a local brewery would be a pretty cool experience. I never thought that brewing beer was such an involved, scientific process. Go figure.