December 17, 2020

Poltiical messaging’s secret sauce: “Cluefulness”

A large fraction of political messaging fits a single, underappreciated frame, which for lack of a better name I’ll call cluefulness. The idea is to take the well-established word “clueless”, give it the antonym “clueful”, and note that a huge fraction of political messaging amounts to:

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December 17, 2020

Seven categories of political messaging

Electoral politics are confusing. Many candidates, issues, events and voter subgroups interact with each other. Reliable data isn’t nearly sufficient for us to confidently tease causal factors apart. So any discussion of political campaign strategy relies, at best, on educated guesses. Here are some of mine.

I believe that voters’ decision factors can largely be divided into seven categories. The six more obvious ones are:

In a companion post, I argue for adding a less obvious seventh category:

As generalities, I think this all holds true across different countries and eras, and even describes citizens’ views of non-democratic authoritarian regimes. But the specifics obviously vary by time and place. Read more

September 16, 2018

Fear, anger, loathing, shame and disgust

This post is part of a series focused on political persuasion. Others in the series are linked from an introductory overview.

Marketing, persuasion and decision-making have a lot to do with emotions. Often, especially in politics, those emotions are negative.

In discussing that, it is common to focus on one or two particular kinds of emotion. Steve Bannon and Barack Obama both talk about “fear and anger”. I blogged last year about fear, and in a companion to this piece have written about outrage. But in this particular post, let’s acknowledge and partially disambiguate a broad range of negative motivations.

0. One complication arises immediately, in that words describing negative emotions may have multiple important word senses. For example: Read more

September 16, 2018

Accusations of recklessness or insufficient caring

This post is part of a series focused on political persuasion. Others in the series are linked from an introductory overview.

Much political messaging boils down to “They don’t care (enough)”.  Indeed, that theme is central to:

At the highest level, this is obvious.

As in so much else, debates about “caring” often hinge on credibility/confidence and/or importance. Read more

September 16, 2018

Patterns of outrage

This post is part of a series focused on political persuasion. Others in the series are linked from an introductory overview.

Present-day politics are commonly governed by negative emotions, such as fear, anger and disgust. So says conventional wisdom, and I agree. Analyzing these surging emotions is difficult, but here’s a framework that I think could help:

A huge fraction of significant modern politics boils down to outrage at patterns of events.

1. My best argument for focusing specifically on outrage is this — political issues sort roughly into three buckets:  Read more

September 16, 2018

Patterns of political persuasion

This is the introduction to a multi-post series on political persuasion. Other posts in the series are linked below.

Politics, we keep hearing, is partisan, emotional, “tribal” and generally devoid of rationality, with voters who are essentially impossible to persuade. There’s much truth to that — but it can’t be the whole story! Election outcomes are not all foreordained. Campaigning and other political persuasion do actually influence political outcomes.

How does this influence work? While a complete exposition is obviously beyond the scope of this blog, I think we can cover substantial ground.  Read more

March 19, 2018

Modifying beliefs

I assert:

Indeed, there are at least two major ways to change the strength of people’s ongoing beliefs, namely by influencing:

I think this framework has considerable explanatory power.

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March 19, 2018

Five categories of persuasion

For multiple reasons, it is hard to change people’s minds. In particular:

Yet tremendous resources are devoted to persuasion, meant to change or confirm people’s beliefs as the case may be. That’s the essence of such activities as marketing, religion, education, and political campaigns — not to mention blogging.  I.e. — despite the difficulties, persuasion is widely (and of course correctly) believed to be possible. Let’s explore how that works.

Most persuasion and mind-changing, I believe, fits into five overlapping categories, which may be summarized as:

The first two are discussed below. The next two are discussed in a companion post. I’m still trying to figure out how the last one works. 🙂 Read more

March 4, 2018

We’ve been fixing

After a nasty bit of hacking — plus over 5000 spam comments that made it past Akismet — I think we’re back in business. PLEASE tell me if you detect any further problems with this blog. There’s an email address at the Contact link; also, I’m CurtMonash on Twitter and Facebook alike.

April 10, 2017

Customer-funded development — structuring a deal

This is the second post of a short series about what I think is an underused business model among software entrepreneurs, namely sponsored (i.e. customer-funded) development. Key points of the first post included:

This post covers the nitty-gritty of sponsored-development deal-making.

As per the previous post in this series, suppose you are fortunate enough to identify the right customer for a sponsored-development relationship. Then the deal process is likely* to go something like this:

*Actually, the deal process is likely to fail. Most deal processes do. But if it does succeed, it’s likely to look like what I just outlined.

Two of the bullets above allude to challenges in agreeing on deal terms. The first concerns IP ownership. The structure you should insist on is:  Read more

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