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I like to listen to polymaths speak and get into the weeds of their complex minds.

Sometimes I get lost, have to confess, but when I really get into what they’re saying, that’s when my mind cracks open.

They have a very interesting way of explaining things from first principles, that helps you make connections with totally unrelated concepts.

Anyway, I was listening to a podcast with Balaji Srinivasan, an angel investor, tech founder and author.

He was going through his life story and what worked for him along the way in his career.

Two lessons stood out, that I think very much relate to copywriting and persuasion.

1. The art of making concessions

Making a concession implicitly means you compromise. But he talks about it in a really interesting way (paraphrased):

You should always be able and willing to give something that, to you it’s not super important to others. Especially when to them it’s highly valuable.

This speaks to how persuasion is about sacrificing some part of you to gain what others really want.

Meaning sometimes, it’s not a win-win. You lose, but in the long run, you’ll eventually gain everything back. And more.

It’s all a matter of being clear on what you can give up and how long your time horizon is.

2) Your credentials are like a product’s features and benefits

Anything you achieve in life ends up building your credentials.

Your “virtual” (or written) resume.

Balaji divides these credentials into 3 different categories:

  • Legible bottom up credentials: what you achieved starting from scratch, on your own (investing or starting a company, taking the company to $100M etc.)
  • Legible top down credentials: the stuff that you accomplished starting from a position of authority, following a conventional institutional path (teaching at a university, being named for an MIT tech review etc.)
  • Illegible credentials: all the stuff that you achieved by going through steps the public can’t really put a finger on (internal mental processes, overcoming challenges, changes in mindset etc.)

I believe you could categorize your product features and benefits in a similar way.

What are the credentials/features that make you different?

What are those that are legible and those that aren’t?

Chances are your audience will need to know about the former.

What about top down, vs bottom up?

Bottom up, or carving your own path, is where your biggest differentiators lie.

Use top down, or what is easily absorbable and more familiar with prospects, to give them some quick bites to chew on as they go through your website.

A pretty cool theory I might expand on.

Working on features, benefits and the value props for each is a critical step in my projects.

If you want help to make the most of it on your website you know what to do.

Get in touch.

brain dump?

Every week I write about what I’m learning at my copywriting/UX desk ,with fun, insightful and quirky stories.

Let’s nerd about decision making, persuasion, habits, and conversion optimization.