Video: Linda Rising on Science vs Stories

BY MARTIN ERIKSSON ON AUGUST 21, 2015

Smart people are logical and objective. And all Product People are smart people right? We look at the evidence to help make the best possible decisions. We are not influenced by hype or emotion and as a result our behavior reflects the best the world has to offer.

In this awesome talk from Mind the Product San Francisco, Linda Rising on Twitter argues that cognitive science now tells us that these beliefs about ourselves and others (especially scientists) are wrong. All of us tend to make decisions based on intuition or emotion and then justify those decisions later with logic, a process called rationalization.

But it turns out that the most influential element in our environment is not scientific evidence but stories. We love stories and research shows that we are more likely to buy a product or embrace a process because of a friend, colleague, or relative and ignore evidence that might go against that decision.

Are these bad things? Is there anything we can do about it? We have a long history of being influenced by stories and it has helped us survive. Linda suggests that the real answer is we need both approaches — stories and emotion + evidence and logic. While both approaches have flaws and benefits, Linda shares some examples and tells her own stories to try to convince us and try to help us do a better job of making decisions.

Martin Eriksson

About MARTIN ERIKSSON

Martin Eriksson has 20 years experience building world-class online products in both corporate and start-up environments for global brands such as Monster, Financial Times, Huddle, and Covestor. He is the Founder of ProductTank, the Co-Founder and Curator of Mind the Product and currently a Product Manager at large, advising and mentoring startups while writing Product Leadership, How Top Product Leaders Launch Great Products and Build Successful Teams (O'Reilly, 2017).

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