How So Many Profiles Became Giraffes… That Stupid Giraffe Riddle

Giraffe Riddle

So there’s a new ‘viral’ post that been doing its rounds across social media, Facebook in particular, about a riddle and a giraffe. I’m not going into the debate of what the actual answer SHOULD be, but to begin things here is the giraffe riddle:

I have had to change my profile picture to a giraffe. I tried to answer a riddle and got it wrong! Try the giraffe challenge!! The deal is I give you a riddle, you get it right, you get to keep your profile picture, get it wrong and you change your profile picture to a giraffe for the next 3 days!!!

MESSAGE ME ONLY SO YOU DON’T GIVE OUT THE ANSWER!!!

Here is the riddle: it’s 3am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors!! It’s your parents and they are here for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread and cheese.

What is the first thing you open? Remember, only message me the answer – if you get it right I’ll post your name here, if not, I’ll message you and you’ll have to change your profile picture!

[SPOILERS: IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER DON’T READ BELOW THIS LINE]

So there is the ‘trick’ answer which isn’t actually correct and there’s the supposed  ‘real’ answer.

Trick = ‘door’
Real = ‘eyes’

So here are my thoughts on why this post has been so viral.

And for the record: I answered ‘door’

1) 2/3 Rules of Epidemics

If you have read Malcom Gladwell’s ‘The Tipping Point‘ (I highly recommend this book) then you’ll know what I’m talking about. The 2 rules which this post complies with are:

i. The Stickiness Factor

  • Which means that content of a message matters, especially how ‘memorable’ it is to spur people into action.
  • This includes structure, presentation and amount of information provided
  • The riddle starts off with a ‘hook’ to get those reading it curious, and then openly encourages sharing. It is straight to the point and wastes no time in introduction or explanation.
  • The riddle also ‘sets you up’ in a pattern of thinking which has consequences

ii. The Power of Context

  • Human beings are extremely sensitive to context
  • As the Gladwell writes, ‘Epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur’ (elaboration in point 2)
  • The combination of message (riddle with an actionable outcome) and medium (social media where ease of sharing is emphasised) made this riddle extremely viral

2) Human behaviour and cognition

i. Curiosity and Sense of Self Worth

As humans we are inherently curious about our surroundings. We especially enjoy the feeling right at the moment of solving a problem, otherwise known as the ‘Aha moment‘. We want to think of ourselves as intelligent individuals and this riddle sets us up to create this moment of increased self worth as we find self-validation on intelligence. The riddle sits on a fine line, where it’s not particular difficult, but the answer is not totally spelt out to you either. Or so it wants you to think.

Once we are told the ‘correct’ answer, this is meant to bring down our ego and thus comes part two of the psychological games with ‘attribution bias‘. We go along the following line of thinking:

‘It’s not that I didn’t get the correct answer (which would be an indicator of my intelligence – internal factor), it’s because the question itself was flawed (an external factor)’.

ii. Finding a Common Ground

However, because of the light-hearted nature of the ‘challenge’ we are able to go ahead and accept our ‘punishment’ of changing our profile picture to a giraffe. It’s kind of funny and also, it provides us with a little bit of attention (which nearly all of us enjoy). It also gives us a chance to bond as we seek out others who are in the same ‘predicament’ as ourselves, as an experience is ‘shared’. We don’t need to feel stupid alone, we can feel stupid together (Yay! /sarcasm) and you play an obvious hand in the ‘conversion’ of these new giraffes.

3) Ease of sharing and engagement

Due to the nature of social media such as Facebook, these sort of posts are made EXTREMELY easy to share. Copy –> Paste –> Share. The effort required is minimal but the engagement is high as likes pile up, comments are made on the post and tagging friends who failed will continually push the post up on the newsfeeds  of your friends. This means a longer half life compared to other Facebook updates and more self validation of existance. Furthermore, you can see your contact list turn into an army of giraffes which you can be proud of (as you were responsible for converting them).

So did you get tricked?

Importance of Understanding Personal Finance

One of the things which formal education seems to never effectively teach you about is understanding personal finance and its importance in financial independence. In this post I’ll try to break down the most simple concepts which everyone should know about.

Why SHOULD we care about personal finance?

Because as we grow up, we should be aiming for financial independence. There are a couple of levels of independence, but what I mean is that, we should reach a point in our lives where we won’t need to depend on anyone else for financial support and we are able to bear the cost of living through our own means without the reliance of anyone else (parents / relatives / siblings / significant others / or even an employer).

You might ask yourself , “So how is this possible?”. Well the comes from the type of income you are earning:

  • Non-passive income – You have to WORK FOR THE INCOME, and the income is dependent on the amount of hours / days /weeks / months / years you work. So this income comes from full time / part time / casual / contract based work where you are paid a salary or a wage.
  • Passive income – Income that is generated through ASSETS that WORKS FOR YOU. The cost of the asset is the initial investment, and any costs related to maintenance. There are physical assets such as property or a business you own (but not necessary run). Financial assets such as bank deposits, bonds, shares, and index funds. And finally there are non-tangible assets, such as intellectual property.

Rich Dad, Poor DadSo the goal here is to work for non-passive income, in order to invest in assets that will generate passive income. Therefore as you accumulate more passive income, you may be able to work less yourself as your assets work for you, giving you the option to spend more time doing things you want to do (leisure, passion projects, travel etc) and less time on worrying about earning non-passive income in order to cover all your expenses and the cost of living. A book I would highly recommend is “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” (Amazon Link) written by Robert Kiyosaki. An example in terms of thinking about income can be seen in the following paraphrased story:

A son has been saving up from his pocket money and after school job to buy a car and asked his dad to give him some advice on what kind of car he should buy. The dad tells his son, instead of buying the car NOW, which also comes with maintenance costs of petrol and servicing, he should use that money as well as his future savings and invest it in the stock market so that if he does well and makes the right informed decisions, the investment would be able to generate enough passive income to for the son to buy a nice car EVERY YEAR.

This is the second idea behind becoming ‘financially’ independent. That all your expenses can eventually be covered through passive income opening up more possibilities for how you are able to spend your time. There is a lot to talk about in detail, but this post is more about the general overview and helping you get in the frame of mind.

So where should you start?

The best way to start is to do 2 things:

  1. Monitor your spending
  2. Make the most of the assets you have RIGHT now

Monitoring your spending

Pocketbook ScreenshotThere is an amazing service that’s pretty new to Australia which I would highly recommend used to monitor your spending. It recently recently release it’s Android App, whilst already catering for iPhone users as well as a web portal you’re able to access. The service is called Pocketbook (similar to Mint.com for US locals) and what it does is it links all your bank accounts / credit cards and automatically gathers all the information in terms of spending and income in a beautifully presented way in one place, where you are able to track and label all your accounts and transactions.

Also because it is a READ ONLY service, you won’t be able to make any transactions through the service (you’ll still need to log into your online banking services), which I’m kind of glad of because I don’t need to worry as much about security and what happens if someone manages to get into my Pocketbook account. (Pro tip: to put in cash transactions make sure you label cash withdrawals as ‘Transferring Money’ and then you are able to manually enter in each cash transaction so you don’t double up on same the item).

However if you prefer your information not to be stored in the cloud and would rather input all transaction manually, I would firstly suggest to ask for receipts for EVERYTHING you purchase (where possible) so that you have a record of it (sometimes, it’s just not convenient to put in information on the spot). Second of all, I would recommend the money tracking app MoneyWise (for Android – there is also a Paid Version) and for iPhone users you can check out this page.

Understanding how you spend your money allows you to find areas where you can cut down on expenses as well as set achievable budgets and create saving goals.

Finally, credit cards are great to have, but I would strongly recommend to only spend what you can pay back RIGHT NOW. Otherwise, debts will begin to accumulate and this will develop into a bad habit of overspending.

Making the most of your current assets

Questions you can ask yourself and then take action upon:

  • What is the interest rate for my savings account?
  • Are there other banks that are offering better interest rates?
  • What are the conditions and eligibility of earning the maximum interest rate?
  • Do I have a saving account that I can access immediately in case of a rainy day? (SUPER IMPORTANT: Usually the common goal is to have this savings account able to cover the cost of living for 6 – 12 months) Once you’ve reach this savings goal, NEVER touch the money unless it is for a rainy day.
  • Do I have multiple superannuation accounts? (If yes, put them all into one account ASAP)
  • Where else can I put my money to earn the best possible return?
  • How can leverage my skills and expertise to gain more income i.e. got a spare bedroom? Air BnB. Got some spare time? Freelancer / ODesk / Airtasker
  • How come I promote myself to gain credibility and higher qualifications(and therefore get paid more)?

There are many more hints and tips out there. If you have any personal finance rules that you strongly believe in let me know in the comments below.

 

The First iPhone Keynote

Apple Evangelist

 

It’s been more than 5 years since the late Steve Jobs took to the stage to deliver one of the best presentations in the tech space with its first iPhone Keynote and announcement. Now I have never been a huge fan of Apple, but I have to admit that the iPhone was a giant leap in mobile device technology. Even though the specs may be out of date i.e. 4GB/8GB options, 2mp camera and 2g internet, the features and innovations it brought to the market are now taken for granted. Those who receive their first phone as a smartphone (either Android or iPhone), do not know the mobile world past we lived in where Nokia (who’s mobile patents now belong to Microsoft) dominated the market with their seemingly indestructible 3310 model.

The keynote also reveals how the digital and mobile landscape has changed:

  • Yahoo was still a major competitor in the email market
  • 3.5 inch screen = REALLY BIG screen
  • Google and Apple had a friendly relationship
  • No mobile optimisation for websites
  • Cingular and AT&T still existed as separate brands
  • The importance of patents and the how broken the intellectual property system is

So how was the keynote?

The presentation started by Jobs stating it will be announcing 3 ‘revolutionary products’ of its class: iPod, phone and internet communications device. From here the theatrics and showmanship of Jobs begin to shine as he reveals that the 3 products is indeed the one product, the iPhone.

Jobs continues by talking about the current state of the ‘smartphone’ market (which we would now consider ‘feature phone’ as opposed to smart). He runs through the numerous problems and design flaws in particular the user interface and its rigidity, which segues perfectly into the introduction of the touch interface devoid of any stylus. (Textbook pain point identification + solution formula.) The language Jobs uses gently coaxes the audience to separate the iPhone from its competitors, ‘revolutionary’, ‘gorgeous’, ‘works like magic’, ‘patented’, ‘5 years ahead of any other phone’. These words and phrases were critical part of Apple’s evil plan in displaying product differentiation and establishing a unique selling proposition (USP).

The keynote then turns to the features and innovations of the 3 ‘products’ through demonstrations i.e. proof of concept:

  • iPod – being able to ‘touch’ your music, cover flow, landscape and portrait mode
  • Phone – ‘visual voicemail’, conferencing, detection and switching to ‘phone mode’, phone book and contacts, texting sessions
  • Internet communications device – Safari browser, email, pinch gesture, double tap zoom, maps and apps (maps, weather, camera)

One of the funniest moments is when Jobs gives a prank call to a local Starbucks in front of the audience:

‘Yes, hello. I’d like to order 4 thousand lattes to go please. Just kidding, wrong number. Thank you.’

Being the salesman he is, Jobs then goes into the sales side of things. First the announcement was made about 6 months prior the shipping date of the iPhone, which was a first for Apple who, before then kept details close to the chest UNTIL the release of the product, however the hype generated from the keynote created a massive amount of buzz and anticipation. It’s funny looking back on this, as Apple aimed to take 1% of market share by setting a target of selling 10 million iPhones in its first full year of sales, as many were skeptical of how achievable this was. Jobs uses price anchoring, i.e. what you’d normally pay for the products separately and what you’d pay for the iPhone which, of course, has more funcationality *evil smile*, for price points and justification.

Why was the iPhone so successful?

There were some key marketing decisions which you can see from the keynote, that shows the amount of planning put in for the product launch, so here are my thoughts of the reasons behind the success.

  • Creating a highly successful product announcement that (for the most part) went without a hitch (minor clicker problems) and generating a ridiculous amount of press
  • Manufacturing its own hardware – which meant greater oversight in quality control
  • Partnering with large software (Google and Yahoo) and service vendors (Cingular) for support and backing, allowing for a greater reach and exposure
  • Protecting its unique selling proposition through innovation and patents (over 200 filed for the 1st gen ALONE)
  • Rebranding of the company to reflect it’s product offering ( Apple Computers Inc to simply Apple Inc)

Bonus Drinking Game

You must drink every time:

  • Jobs says ‘revolutionary’, ‘boom’ or ‘gorgeous’
  • The crowd cheers
  • Jobs wears his glasses or puts them on his head
  • Gives a spec of the phone that would now be considered crap but awesome at the time

And here is the complete Keynote presentation: