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How to raise your social status

One surprising  claim in David Rock’s book was that evolution hardwired a desire for zero-sum status in our brains.  That is to say, I feel good when I am somehow superior to someone else.  There must be a winner and a loser.  I thought the status claim was a bit dubious.  I’ve never felt like someone is dramatically above or below me in some social pecking order.  If it never applied to me, how can it apply to anyone else?

Now, after reading and listening to an interview with Pete Michaud on niche marketing I’ve come to think the desire for status is  absolutely true; I’ve just defined myself into an obscure niche where I tower an order of magnitude over everyone else and will be forever king

The activities that A) I care about, and B) where I compare more or less directly with others are:

  • Music: specifically bluegrass, specifically bluegrass influenced by 30’s country
  • Programming/WebDev: Specifically Server/html/Css/Photoshop
  • My startup company (hey, I’ve made it to beta, that’s more than most) – and I have the best visual contact manager out there.
  • Politics: specifically libertarian, utilitarian minarchist, practical Constituitionalist, properly informed social Darwinist
  • Trivia: specifically Atlanta, general military history and political thought
  • Economics: specifically the field of law and economics

If you add all those up no one is even close to where I am now, or where I’ll be in the future.  There will always be people who make more money, and for that matter, code better and play music better, but how many of them can hold an informed conversation on the legacy of Eric Hoffer and the history of private currencies in America?  None I would imagine.

So how to raise your social status and self-esteem?  Just be specific and niche it down.


This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog

Jan 11

Written By Steve French


How to measure offline social influence – a first attempt

Crawdad Network-Reuters coverage, 9/11/2001, 11am-noonphoto © 2007 Kevin Dooley | more info (via: Wylio)People have not written much about offline social influence.  Here is my first attempt on how to do that.   My intent of this is not to create an exact, objective measurement.  My intent is  to create a useful measurement that can be recorded and used later after the memories of an initial encounter with someone have faded.

Key Assumptions – Influence does not span topics equally.  People can have both general influence, and topical influence.

Here are our factors, as I see them.   some are subjective, some are not.  Please note, life is not fair, and things like physical appearance and height do matter.  Remember, this is an attempt to measure someone’s influence in society so it can be used after the specific memories fade.  It is not an a measurement of true worth or intelligence.

The format below is Name – (Abbreviation).  All of the factors are measured on a scale of 1-5.

General Factors

  1. Physical appearance  (PA)
  2. Verbal articulation  (VA)
  3. Height (by quintile, i.e. someone in the 80th percentile of height would be a 4) (H)
  4. Age (just rank it by cultural stereotype) (A)
  5. Conformity to cultural steorotype  (CSS)
  6. Overall social status  (OSS)
  7. Overall education level  (OEL)
  8. Personal charisma  (PC)

Specific Factors

  1. Confidence with subject matter (CSM)
  2. Amount of education on topic  (AET)
  3. Familiarity with specific instance of topic  (FSI)
  4. Passion for this topic (PT)

Two formulas arise from this, general influence, and topical influence

My initial wild stab at the general formula:

PA + (VA *2) + H+ A + CSS + (OSS  * .8) + (OEL  * .8) + (PC * 2)  = General Influence

My initial wild stab at the topical formula:

PA + (VA *2) + H+ A + CSS + (OSS  * .8) + (OEL  * .8) + (PC * 2) + (CSM * 1.1) + (AET * 2) + (FSI * 3) + (PT * 3) = Topical Influence

So, (using myself as an example), I am an average looking,  articulate 37 year old male with a bachelor’s degree in economics, normal in dress and visible habits.  Someone using this system could rank me as the following:

3 + (4 * 2) + 3 + 3 + 4 + (4 * .8) + (4 * .8) + (3 *2)  =  33.4

Here is my topical influence score on a loose vs tight monetary policy (I feel strongly about the topic and it was the focus of my economics education)

3 + (8) + 3+ 3 + 4 + (3.2) + (3.2) + (6) + (5 * 1.1) + (4 * 2) + (4 * 3) + (5 + 3) =  73.9

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


This post originally appeared on the Stronico blog – with the absorption of Stronico into Digital Tool Factory this post has been moved to the Digital Tool Factory blog

Jan 11

Written By Steve French


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