Made to Stick


There are 6 principles to help make your ideas sticky – simplicity (and profound), unexpectedness (counterintuitive was to spark curiosity), concreteness (clear), credibility (try before you buy), emotions (care and make them feel), stories (get people to act on your idea). First you find the core of your idea (the essence, something that can be used to guide yourself, your decisions, and your team), and then use SUCCESS to make ideas sticky

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Key Takeaways

  1. Simple is finding the core of the idea. For Southwest, the core is “we are the low fare airline”. Simple = core + compact. Play on schemas – what people already know – and build on it. A pomelo is like a grapefruit, but bigger. Start with the lead and then expand. A little bit of utility and excitement and then give more and more. Weave in analogies and metaphors whenever you can. It makes something hard to think about, easier
  2. Unexpected – Get people’s attention by breaking a pattern, be unexpected. People become interested and curious when there is a gap in their knowledge. It can be helpful to co wider what questions you want customers to ask rather than what info you want to convey.
  3. Concrete – Make ideas and goals concrete to help align people and give them a roadmap to make better decisions
  4. Credibility – find ways to make your idea credible through external (spokesperson), internal (something inherent to the product and capture with statistics to stories), anti-authorities, or audience (see for yourself!)
  5. Emotional – make things emotional, not analytical. People remember how you made them feel, not what you said
  6. Stories – There are a few different types of stories you can rely on. Challenge stories give you motivation to overcome challenges, connection stories stress relationships, creativity stories help you solve problems. A good story nearly always encapsulates the entire SUCCESS framework. The hardest part is keeping it simple and making sure it’s tied to the core of your idea

What I got out of it

  1. For an idea to stick you need the audience to pay attention, understand and remember, agree and believe, care, be able to act on it.

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