“Fyre”​. A case-study about human biases.

By February 19, 2019Stories, Uncategorized
We highly recommend watch #Fyre on #Netflix. At the first level it’s a documentary about the world of influencers, social media and instant gratification. Going deeper you can learn about humans and their biases, like crowd effect and unskilled overconfidence. 

You can download here the Fyre Pitch Deck

The narrative recalls what was marketed two years ago as a super-luxury festival in Bahamas, specially targeted for rich Millennials and Gen Z. It eventually went bust because in the real life, heavy duty things like producing a festival cannot be done as simple and quickly as posting a selfie on Instagram. 

The movie shows all that you need to know about the storytelling involving stars, now called influencers; the effects of scaled social media; and some evergreen PR tricks possible due to a media darling. 
  • The influencers appeal works thanks to human narcissism. Every fan have dreams and fantasises about living the same life as the heroe he/she loves (or follows). Doesn’t matter that it’s just a Instagram projection, the main driver that creates the attraction is the “easiness” to access the same dream-like experience. It is an example when powerful emotions can effectively obscure ration. 
  • Social media can get fast traction and scale quickly if the right stars are accessed. They must be chosen taking into consideration the target personality, their aspirations, what makes them dream and who can trigger their emotions. It becomes a business case analysis, based on how much a brand would pay for how much buzz it will get. 
  • The PR tricks involved stories propagated by a young IT entrepreneur, which was portrait by media as a genius that “knows better”. And because is an IT guru, he is going to reinvent how a festival should be done, even he does not have any experience at all.  

Fyre sold empty dreams

This is a deception as old as the history itself. It showed the power of storytelling when it generates relevant emotions for a homogeneous target group. In this case was done by offering the chance to live for a week-end the lifestyle of their beloved heroes (rappers, IT gurus or supermodels).

Today technology helps scale the people’s dream quite fast. It segments the target group more effectively, identifying their hopes and tensions, sometimes only by knowing who do they follow and what kind of pictures do they like or share. Personality analysis can predict quite accurate the target group future actions (e.g. Cambridge Analytica involvement in elections). 

The good news is that people brains did not drastically change thanks to the modern environment. Even the technology allows separate people more efficiently from their money, in the physical world, there are no such viable shortcuts. In the digital environment, the rules are still unwritten and a smart kid can re-invent the wheel. But in the settled space, there is no “instant gratification” and the unskilled overconfidence leads usually to a company blowout. 

The key issue augmented by the social media is the fact that the crowd becomes increasingly naive inside their own bubble, when the same emotions are shared and activated by the same triggers. Inside an echo chamber, all the ideas seem right, no matter how absurd they look from outside.

Unfortunately the rational approach works only by observing the phenomenon from a distant and safe place. Inside the bubble, stars, media and crowds create a gravitational black hole. Without allowing any dissidents or impartial perspectives, people start to behave like nocturnal butterflies that swarm towards the strongest fire they find around.

And everyone belongs to a bubble, no matter how it is called. The trick is to start being aware.

#Fyre #biases #crowdeffect #influencers

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