#75 How Can We Get Better At Forecasting the Future: Mark Earls

Almost all of us do a poor job of predicting the future. 

This show looks at how we can adapt to the disruption and change the future inevitably brings.  Using examples from business and our personal lives, we consider how to be smarter and more successful.

"We over-estimate how bad we might feel if we lose something, and under-estimate how we will feel if something good happens,” says our guest, Mark Earls.

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Mark joins Jim and Richard at our living room table in New York. Usually Mark is based in London where he's a well-known author and consultant on marketing, communications and behavioral change.  His books include “Copy Copy Copy”, "HERD: How to Change Mass Behavior by Harnessing Our True Nature” and “I’ll Have What She’s Having

"We have to realize…we have to prepare for multiple futures," Mark tells us in this episode. Some additional takeaways:

Solutions:
Start small. For example Spotify began in a small market (Sweden) and it was able to be more agile, make mistakes and react to its competition more effectively than a larger company.
 
Product plus: some of the most successful companies are the ones that make a product AND deliver a service; Dollar Shave Club is a good example of this.  
 
Customer service is more important than ever. “You can’t have that ‘take a ticket and wait in line’ attitude towards customers; you need to fix it.
 
In our personal lives prepare for multiple future scenarios: what would happen if you had an unexpected expense, how would you deal with a serious illness or a absence from work, or a major housing expense?

#74 Fixes for an Insular World: Talk to Strangers. Kio Stark

"There are genuine emotional benefits when we connect with strangers," says our guest, Kio Stark. These fleeting interactions are important interruptions in the steady routine of our lives. "They bring connectedness and belonging."

Kio is the author of "When Strangers Meet: How People You Don't Know Can Transform You."  Her popular TED Talk has received more than 1,450,000 views. "My own interactions with strangers resonate with meaning for me," she writes in her book. "You find questions whose answers you thought you knew. You reject the ideas that make us so suspicious of each other."

"We live in pretty insular ways," Kio tells us in this episode of "How Do We Fix It?"  "When you talk to somebody who is different than you, you are forced to see this person as an individual in a way that you wouldn't have done before." 

This speaks to our divided politics at a time when it is often far to easy to vilify people we don't agree with.  Being more open to people of different races, social class and age groups can open us up to surprising moments of pleasure and transformative possibilities. 

Kio explains how shy, frightened or suspicious people can benefit from being more open to briefly allowing strangers into their lives.  We discuss how dogs and babies can make it easier to speak with people you don't know.

"There's an amazing power in being seen.  We live in cities we don't see each other," Kio tells us.  "When you are seen, when you notice someone is acknowledging you it's a momentary bond."