Pattern matching as a shortcut to growth
You have two choices when you want to move forward (grow a business, sell an idea, get a 'yes'):
- Have such an insight and deliver such innovation that people will choose to make a new decision, adopt a new habit or otherwise get smarter.
- Provide an option that matches a decision they've already made. No new decisions, merely new information.
Ms. Investor, you already invested in companies A, B, and C. We match that pattern.
Movie executive, you made a lot of money on three comedies for the young adult audience. We match that pattern.
Hey kid, you love to buy new flavors of chocolate bars, here's a new flavor.
You're used to taking pharmaceuticals, and this placebo looks just like one.
Most of the time, we look for patterns that match our habits. When we find a pattern match, we can embrace it without re-evaluating our beliefs.
On the other hand, moving all your data to the cloud, or staying at an Airbnb, these are new decisions, new ways of being in the world. Trying to get a book publisher to fund your magazine or your web app might make sense to you, but without the benefit of a pattern to match, the publisher who has built a career around one pattern might get cold feet.
Human beings are pattern-matching machines. Changing our beliefs, though, is something we rarely do. It's far easier to sell someone on a new kind of fruit than it is to get them to eat crickets, regardless of the data you bring to the table.
It's tempting (and important) to improve the world by creating new beliefs. But it's far more reliable to match them.