Attention Scarcity

Here’s a thought-provoking concept I read from a Frenchman’s blog, Macro Principles, quoting Herbert Simon:

What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”

This is termed Attention Scarcity.  On so many levels, mastering this is crucial in sales; vying for prospect eyeball time, crm and sales reporting systems competing for screen real estate, the battle to determine which task has the next priority.

The message from the aforementioned blog is that mandating or incentivising people to fill in boxes is counter-productive if full and accurate cost/benefit thinking is neither shared with nor taken on board by the new sales system’s users.

I think you can go further than simply applying this parameter to software projects.  I spend a great deal of time helping salesteams sell new products and attention scarcity is certainly something they encounter when both trying to digest all the new info themselves and when trying to get prospects to take in the same.

It strikes me that a simple three-part sentence being the first thing you say could help shape success, along the lines of:

you used to do ‘x’, now if you try ‘y’, it will save/make you ‘z’

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