The thing you can’t have becomes a powerful placebo
The efficacy of a technology, a shortcut, a medicine, a tool, a method—you get the idea—is directly related to how difficult it is to obtain.
Placebos work because our brain picks up where our belief begins. Without some sort of conscious or subconscious trigger, the placebo effect never kicks in. But when it does, it's astonishingly effective. Placebos change performance, cure diseases and make food taste better.
Consider the case of the new music format, MQA. The overdue successor to the MP3 files we've been listening to for a decade or more, MQA treats your music with more care, and the reports are it sounds better. A lot better.
Of course, most people can't hear the difference in a double-blind test, particularly with disposable earbuds. But that's okay, because no one is double blind in real life. Instead, we have information about what we're listening to and where it came from, and it turns out that knowing the provenance of your music can actually make it sound better.
The fact that MQA might actually sound better is a fine thing, but the lesson here is about the story.
The MQA rollout has been agonizingly slow, with dates promised and then missed, with absent bits of gear, with no easy way to get this new technology. Which makes it even better, of course.
The same is true for baked goods that sell out every morning at 8 am, and the new beta-version of an app that makes you more productive.
If you want your medicine to be more effective, consider making it difficult to get.
[PS I'll be doing a Facebook Live Q&A about the altMBA. See you at 2 pm ET today, Thursday.]