July 22, 2019


Sent by Jonathan Stark on July 23rd, 2019

When I was about 10 years old, I read a book that attempted to describe Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity to kids who were, well... about 10 years old.

I don’t remember much about the book - not even the title - but there was one analogy in it that changed me forever.

As I remember it, there was a passage that described a girl standing on a moving train who was bouncing a ball on the floor. To the girl, the ball appeared to be going straight down and straight up.

But to a boy standing in a field as the train passed, the ball appeared to be traveling in an arc. On the floor at one point, then at its peak a hundred yards further down the track, and then on the floor again a hundred yards later. 

Then the author asked:

“Who’s right? The girl or the boy? Is the ball moving straight up and down, or is it moving in an arc?”

My hot take as an “about-10-year-old” was:

“Well, obviously the boy is right. He’s the one who’s standing on the ground.”

But the author said:

“Neither one is right. It’s relative.”

This took me by surprise. I puzzled over it for quite some time. I was like:

“Um. no… the person standing on the ground is the one who’s right. The train is moving, the ground isn’t.“

And then it hit me.

The ground is moving!

In fact, the ground’s moving way WAY faster than the train. Not only is the Earth spinning, but it’s also flying around the Sun. And oh by the way, the Sun is ALSO flying through space!

This hit me like a ton of bricks.

There is no stationary platform from which to observe motion. The stability of the earth beneath our feet is an illusion of perspective. The realization was so powerful and complete and true that I almost threw up. No exaggeration, I had to hold onto the wall with both hands to keep from falling over.

Here’s the thing...

I have had a few revelations of similar significance with regard to pricing psychology and buying behavior. There are things that most folks take for granted as real and constant and obvious that, in fact, are not true at all - they just appear that way from where we’re standing.

Over the next few days, I want to share with you three revelations that changed the way I view the world of pricing as fundamentally as that train anecdote changed my view of motion.

Here they are:

I understand that most people will categorically reject all three of these assertions. If you are one of those people, please keep an open mind. You might be in for a revelation :-)