A talkative guy named Claudius and I happened to camp on the same beach in Kauai for four days. The whole time I suspected he’d made that name up – but he evaded the subject. He did explain Stockholm syndrome and the Stanford Prison Experiment. This was very amusing.
However, Claudius couldn’t explain the theory behind the Stanford Prison Experiment. The theory is that one of the ways in which people are evil, just below the surface, is that they victimize anyone they have control over.
Now it turns out the Stanford Prison Experiment was a hoax. Students playing prison guards were given sadism-oriented instructions and paid to carry them out, over their instinctive and frequent objections. But the pay was withheld until the conclusion of the experiment, so just a few of the student-guards quit. In short, the experiment was rigged. This group of randomly selected people did not, of their own accord, turn to sadististic, voilent behavior within days of being put in control over another group.
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The refrain is that if you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it. That’s true as far as it goes.
But here’s another layer – if you can’t explain something simply, it might not be true.
Claudius could never explain the findings of the Stanford Prison Experiment because they just weren’t true. Most people want to be friends with other people and treat them well.
This is why it’s so powerful when you can explain simply how your business solves problems for your customers.
It says you understand their problems well, but it also says: yes, you really can solve them.
Have a great, non-sadistic weekend!