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WYODC WEEKLY #35: 🦑 Squid Game

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Hey ,

About 2 weeks back, I heard about the highly raved series “Squid Game”. 

It’s on its way to becoming the most successful blockbuster in the history of Netflix.

Which is pretty insane for a non-American series. 

That said, besides all the entertainment… I think there are lots of tangible lessons we can take away as copywriters or entrepreneurs. 

Especially from a psychology and strategy standpoint. 

And so that’s why I’m writing this to share some of my thoughts with you.

Sit tight and I’m gonna dive in.1. Fear and Greed bring out the worst in people

In the dystopian world of Squid Game, 456 people are gathered to participate in a series of brutal Colessum-like childhood games.

The winners will proceed and the losers will lose their lives.

The ultimate victor will walk away with all the money in the pot ($38 million). 

The interesting thing about the Masked Officer World is that there are no laws or regulations.

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n other words, the game participants are only bound by game rules. 

This means killing is permitted and that’s why there was a scene of a nasty gang fight breaking out at night.

Motivated by greed, the gangsters figured out that the best strategy to win would be to kill everyone else. (Since killing other participants wasn’t against the game’s rules). 

This way they can get the prize money without losing their lives to participate in the game.

But it’s not just the gangsters who showed their evil side.

The main characters showed their darker side too.

Because losing the game would mean losing their life… 

This means that even the most virtuous and moral person wouldn’t hesitate to kill, steal or lie when the situation requires him or her to do so.

In other words, our environment will affect our behaviour.

If we’re constantly going through extreme emotions like greed, anger or fear… it’s not gonna bring the best out of us. 

That said, eliciting these darker emotions are super important if you want to trigger action-taking.

E.g. If you watched the 4th game in the movie where the characters are told to compete with each other for their marbles… 

Both the gambler (main character) and the investment consultant felt the fear of getting killed once they lost the game. 

And that’s what led them to play dirty. 

You can almost see… the emotion triggers the action.

This is exactly why DETDA works. 

The DETDA acts as a catalyst or trigger for your prospect to crave for the solution.

PS. This principle can be very powerful. Please use this ethically. 2. Humans have Hidden Schadenfreude Tendencies. 

Now the next idea I have is completely speculative… I don’t have anything to back this up.

So one night… my friend and I were chatting about Squid Game and suddenly we were thinking about why such a gory and perverse show became such a major hit.

Sure the cast was great and the plot was amazing… 

But one thought that hit me was that the TIMING for this series was absolutely spot on. 

This was the right movie that came out at the right time.

People today are experiencing a lot more emotional imbalance than ever because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ripple effects created.

Such as loss of jobs or job instability… 

Such as isolation, loneliness and even depression.

In other words, people are going through a lot of mental and emotional turmoil. This creates the perfect conditions for Squid Game to launch.

Why?

Because it helps us to temporarily forget about our issues and sufferings.

When we see conditions which are 100X worse in the show, we actually get an indirect sense of relief because it’s thrilling and at the same time, we’re glad we don’t have to go through all that. 

I get that this is totally speculative… but this reasoning sounds logical to me. 

After all, I’m pretty certain that Squid Game would be nowhere as popular without COVID-19. 

However, I do think there is a difference though.

We get the mental escape and freedom from reality derived from watching others suffer in the show.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we inherently enjoy watching other people suffer. 3. Game Theory is HUGE in Business and Survival. 

Game theory is defined as the science of strategy and decision-making in the absence of perfect information.

Now you can read The Prisoner’s Dilemma if you haven’t but I think that’s a really good introduction to Game Theory.

In the context of the Squid Game, you don’t know what is the next game you’re gonna play. 

Unless you cheated, the guards wouldn’t tell you what game is next.

This makes it near impossible to plan for the subsequent games in advance. 

(You can’t do long-term strategic thinking here. It’s not gonna work.) 

However, we can apply the Game-Theory form of Strategic Thinking…

Imagining what the other players would do if they were in his situation… 

What would I do if I were them… 

Some people would call it common sense… but I really dislike it btw. (Because common sense is uncommon and it’s hard to define what that is.

The idea of Game Theory is that you wanna conceive strategies your opponents are using and work towards countering them.

One possible framework for this is to consider… 

What is the best scenario… what is the most likely scenario… and what’s the worst scenario?

And how do I work to avoid the worst scenario and achieve the best outcome? 

Game Theory can definitely be applied to business and marketing too. 

In the context of marketing, it can be understanding whatever your competitors are doing. And then reverse engineering the secret sauce of what works and creating a whole new spin on it.

In the context of business, if you uncover a profitable new niche… you can expect to see competitors coming your way… 

The question becomes:

“How do you stay 3-5 steps ahead of them so you can always be in an advantageous position and be different?” 

So yeah… this is something to think about for you and me.

I think Game Theory is a super important skill because one downside of running an online business is that it’s relatively easy to copy.

If you have a winning offer or model, it’s extremely hard to keep it a secret.

You’ll always have to be thinking about how to stay ahead of the crowd. 

So yeah. Those are the three learnings I had from watching Squid Game.

But before I end this issue, lemme leave you a final tip… 

If you’re looking to stay ahead in the online marketing world, you need to master BOTH traffic and conversions. 

One brings in the fish, the other helps you reel it up. 

Now that Kenneth has your back on the conversions… you might probably be wondering about where you can learn paid traffic. 

In this case, you should check out the AdSkills Monthly Membership by Justin Brooke. 

It’s a 9-week course designed to help you master Paid Advertising. 

Best of all, it’s cheaper than a Netflix subscription. 

You should absolutely check it out if you want to have an unfair advantage.

Cheers,

Zach

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