Remove "Multi-taksing" From Your Resume, Or Learn to Like Unemployment

You're not a good multi-tasker. If your LinkedIn profile (or your 20th century resume) talks about your awesome multi-tasking skills, delete it. Now.  Your multi-tasking brags tell a future employer that either (a) you're lying, or (b) you're a lousy performer.

This infographic explains how multi-taksing ruins your career.

The High Cost of Multitasking

by kikikarpus. Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.


I Tried This Weight Loss Trick and It Worked

We have two big mirrors in our bathroom. It's hard to go through morning and evening routines without seeing yourself. Shower. Shave. You have to keep your eyes open. But I managed to avoid my reflection for a couple of years.

I also avoided the pool and beaches.

In December of 2011, most of my pants were tight. They all had 38-inch waists. I'm 6'1".

So I book Timothy Ferriss's awesome book The Four-Hour Body. I read it in two nights.

I tried everything: the diets, the workouts, the ice baths. (Yes, there's ice baths.)

Of all the great advice--and a wonderful writing--one tip stood out.

Now, I weigh 180. And I'm still 6'1".  That's 35 lbs.

I'm also running three miles three times a week and doing weights and full-body, high energy workouts two days a week. And I take two or three weeks off everything four times a year.

And 34-inch waists are little loose.

What was that one thing that I give all the credit to?


I modified Ferriss's a bit. And I eat the same thing every day.


I fry the eggs over medium and eat them by themselves.

I mix the cold salsa into the hot spinach. It's really good. (You could serve this as the vegetable with dinner.)

That's it.

It takes about 4 minutes to prepare. The green tea or coffee takes longer.

Here are some of the benefits of this routine:

  • I'm full through lunch, 5 hours later
  • I get more than half my veggies before leaving the house
  • I really like the spinach-salsa combination
  • The capsaicin in the salsa increases metabolism
  • I don't have to think about what to eat for breakfast
  • It costs less than a dollar a day
  • It's only about 250 calories

Will eating this breakfast every day work all by itself?

No. But it's a start. Committing to this simple and life-simplifying routine will get you started. It's one easy step.

Your motivation will increase. You'll think about walking for 10 minutes a day. Then 20.

It took me 1.5 years to lose 35 lbs. Maybe that's too slow, but I got stronger and fitter in the process.

You can too. Just take it easy. And start with a simple breakfast routine that includes tons of antioxidants, protein, and fiber.

And skip the bread.


Help Me Solve a Marketing Mystery

I understand odd combinations. I don’t understand what people sometimes do with odd combinations.

Part of my job involved running Persuasive Design Labs™. These labs help people in big companies design much, much more effective motivation, incentive, and loyalty marketing programs by building for the people in the programs instead of for the brand.

One of our techniques involves rapid-fire idea generation by combining odd things, like television sitcoms and new participants to the program. (It really works.)

What we don’t do is bring the raw ideas to market. We filter and add to them. We combine concepts into higher-order ideas. And we test the concepts.

But if we did just bring the raw ideas to market, we might have come up with this remarkable new product: Fried Chicken and Waffles.

Is your mouth watering? (My mouth waters when I’m about to puke, too.)


Look at the picture on the front. A fried chicken drumstick (good) and a stack of waffles with maple syrup and butter (good).  So what’s not to like?


Who would eat that? To be honest, I had to try them. And they’re terrible. Like when you’re expecting to taste cold vanilla ice cream and it’s actually mashed potatoes. It tasted so bad I got a headache. And nothing smelled right for a couple hours.  (Actually, everything smelled like maple syrup. And chicken.)

Better yet, how did this bag get into my house? (That’s the really frightening question that I’m afraid to ask around here.)

If you’re a big chicken and waffle potato chip fan, I’d love to hear your story. Please comment.

And if you have any idea how this concept got to market—or into my house—please let me know.

I’m Kind Of Sick of the World

I had three devices operating simultaneously, and somehow still managed to be wrong about everything.


My flight from San Francisco arrived at 11:45 p.m., and I was exhausted. My car needed gas, extending my hour drive home (without traffic) to an hour fifteen. I just wanted to crawl into bed.

Sucked Down the Information Sewer

Then the damn local news and talk radio station started telling stories of a shooting in Boston at MIT. A campus cop was shot, according to the news, during hold-up at a convenience store near campus. Dozens of police SWAT vans, cars, and helicopters were on the scene.

So I got home and flipped on a 24-hour news channel on the television. The radio news was at least two hours behind. The flashing lights and black panel vans had migrated to a suburb of Boston. Residents—now witnesses—reported a minute-long gun battle in their sleepy streets. (One minute may not sound long, but one minute is eternity for people in the vicinity of a gun fight.)

Police scanner traffic talked about two men throwing homemade grenades and other explosives from their speeding car.

Reports were fractured and inconsistent. No one could explain how the MIT campus police murder, the convenience store robbery, a carjacking, and the real-life first-person shooter video game were connected.

I was following everything on Twitter, Reddit, news websites, television, and police scanner apps.

And I knew nothing.

I had the names of the suspects wrong. So did a lot of people.

I went to bed at 4:30 a.m. thinking one thing and woke up at 8:30 a.m. hearing I’d been completely bamboozled.

Information Isn’t Always Helpful

I wish I’d ignored the entire Boston Marathon bombing.

Ignored is probably the wrong word. I wish I’d just missed it.

The time between the bombing and the shootouts I was in another world. I was on business, but the really cool business of gamificaiton. I didn’t watch much news or read newspapers. I was immersed in the noble practice of making the world more like a game, making work more human. Even though my iPhone battery kept dying in a couple of hours, I couldn’t stay connected to wifi (no fault of the facility or organizers), and I had a stomach thing the whole time, three days of gamification beat the hell out of feeling useless and scared.

Sometime Knowledge Is the Opposite of Power

There was nothing for me to do about the Boston bombing and its investigation. There still isn’t. So how could knowing more about it—more that turned out to be flat wrong—help me or others?

It couldn’t. Not living in St. Louis. Not with my skills and experience and talent. I was of no use to the people trying to capture the culprits or nurse the wounded or comfort the survivors.

We convince ourselves that we must know everything as it’s happening. We don’t. Stuff blowing up on TV reported by hyperventilating anchors creates a false sense of urgency and danger that leads to paranoia and surrender of control.


I’m going on an information diet.

If it’s really important and really urgent and I personally need to know or get involved, someone will tell me. And that someone won’t be a news anchor.

How to Persuade Like the FBI's Top Hostage Negotiator

The clock is ticking. Three people are in a small frame house: a woman, her five-year-old son, and a man bent on killing them both.

And the clock is ticking.

Outside the house is a team of expert killers.

And the clock is ticking.

How this ends is up to you, and there are three possibilities: no one dies, someone dies, everybody dies.

And the clock is ticking.

You have only three tools: a video feed from the scene, a phone, and your brain.

What’s your first move?


You Are an FBI Hostage Negotiator

Whether you’re a CEO, a marketer, or a mom, you live in a scaled down version of the hostage negotiator’s world. How so?  Another party wants something, you want something, but on the surface your wants don't seem to go together well.

You're about to learn how to bring those conflicting desires to a happy ending. 

Whether you’re trying to close a deal, design a perfect loyalty program, or get your kids to pick up their clothes, you face the same challenges that face the men and women who talk psychopaths out of slaughtering their families.

Luckily, one of those negotiators, Chris Voss, revealed the tricks of his trade to Eric Barker.  And those tricks can make your life a lot easier.

Hostage Negotiation Trick #1: If You’re Right, People Die

The last thing a negotiator wants to hear the psychopath say is “you’re right.”

According to Voss, “you’re right” is the end of the conversation. When people say “you’re right,” they’ve given up trying to reason with you. You wore them down, but didn’t get into their head or change their mind.

we love it when somebody tells us we’re right. It’s usually when we’re making an argument and we’ve worn the other side down, and they’re just sick of us… Even if I believe in my heart that you are right, I’m not vested when you’re right.

The magic words you want to hear the other side say are “that’s right.”

when I say “that’s right,” I’ve put myself in a position of adjudicating what you’ve said, and I’ve pronounced what you’ve said right. There’s a much greater chance that I’m going to accept it if I’ve said “that’s right” as opposed to “you’re right.”

So you want to get to “that’s right,” but how?  And the clock is still ticking. You’re under stress. The coffee’s weak and cold, and your colleagues cigarette smoke finds you wherever you go.

You’re ready to argue, but don’t.

Hostage Negotiation Trick #2: Arguing Is Schizophrenic

Voss reminds us that it’s difficult to talk to a schizophrenic because he has a voice in his talking whenever he’s not talking. He doesn’t have time to listen to you.

When you argue, though, you become schizophrenic yourself. Think about your last argument. You were either talking (or yelling) or you were preparing your next argument. So was the other guy. No one was listening, except for trigger words to pounce on.

the only time the other side is silent is because they’re thinking about their own argument, they’ve got a voice in their head that’s talking to them. They’re not listening to you.

When they’re making their argument to you, you’re thinking about your argument, that’s the voice in your head that’s talking to you. So it’s very much like dealing with a schizophrenic.

Two schizophrenics arguing with three lives at stake probably doesn’t end well.

So how do you break out of this cycle of death?

Hostage Negotiation Trick #3: Listen Up and Nobody Gets Hurt

Listen to what they want. Really listen.

The idea is to really listen to what the other side is saying and feed it back to them. It’s kind of a discovery process for both sides. First of all, you’re trying to discover what’s important to them, and secondly, you’re trying to help them hear what they’re saying to find out if what they are saying makes sense to them.

Listen closely enough that you can paraphrase what they’re saying. Then ask them to confirm your summary. And be patient.

Yes, the clock is ticking. But it’s difficult to carry on a conversation and kill people at the same time.

As long as you have them spellbound with their own story, as long as you let them parrot that voice in their head, they’re not hurting anyone.

You can say, “What are we trying to accomplish here?”  Then, “How is what you are asking for going to get you that?”  If you make them explain it to you, a lot of times both you and them are going to discover whether or not it makes any sense. So you can become a real sounding board in the negotiations to try and figure out whether the solutions match the problems.

It All Comes Down To Persuasive Design

I describe Persuasive Design as “helping people get what they want—in the context of your business.” Sounds a lot like the way Voss describes hostage negotiation.

  • Listen to gain confidence and understanding.
  • Confirm what you’ve heard by getting to “that’s right.”
  • Find out what they really, really want.
  • Ask how their present course will help them get that.

And, finally, one thing that the hostage negotiator didn’t tell you, but I will.

Once you find out, by listening carefully, what they really, really want, offer them a plausible path to getting it that benefits your business. And lets three people leave that little frame house alive.

Let me know your hostage situation in the comments. I'm here to listen . . . and to help you get everyone out in one piece.


Now find out why you should avoid affinity bubbles.