Extending the Peter Principle for General Competence

The Peter Principle is a management concept posited by University of Southern California professor Laurence J. Peter in the late 1960s. The principle states that employees get promoted based on performance in their current roles, rather than on their qualifications relevant to their intended roles. Therefore, employees stop being promoted only when they become ineffective in…

Role Fulfillment: How We Play Our Parts Socially

I’ve noticed that some bloggers I admire, Fred Wilson and Seth Godin among others, will write very short pieces that elegantly encapsulate a single thought. As I find myself busier and busier, I’ve decided that I’ll try my hand at doing something similar. I don’t want to short-change my readership, so I don’t want to…

On Spreadsheets and How They Changed The World

Recently, an old Steven Levy article from November 1984 re-surfaced on the web. Its topic: the origins of the now-omnipresent spreadsheet. Levy recounts that a Harvard MBA named Dan Bricklin was inspired while doing a project for one of his finance classes. The project required modeling the financial implications of one company’s acquisition of another;…

The Principle of Least Interest, or Who has the Power in Relationships

I’ve done two investigations about dating and relationships in the past for Thought Distiller. The first was about the “trading up” phenomenon and the FOMO that dating apps engender in users. The second was about latent preferences and how we might not consciously be aware of what we want. Today’s post is about the principle of…

12 Techniques to Learn Charisma

Charisma is a personal quality that makes someone capable of influencing or inspiring large amounts of people. More specifically, it’s a compelling attractiveness, personal magnetism, or charm that can inspire devotion in others. Even so, charisma is a tough thing to pin down: our definitions are vague and fluffy at best. While we can easily…

Understanding Experience Design Improves Interpersonal Interactions

I’ve established a belief that any interpersonal interactions require an element of “experience design.” In professional design terms, experience design (XD) is the process of designing products to optimize the quality of the user experience. In movies, for example, much of the experience is dictated by the color scheme. This element of the experience is…

The Forcing Function: Make Yourself Take Action

I recently began taking an online sales course offered by the University of Chicago, and I’ve been learning a variety of useful ideas. Once you move beyond the notion of sales as a “sleazy” discipline, it becomes pretty obvious why the field is so disparaged: no one wants to put themselves at constant risk of…

What Does It Mean To Have A Polarizing Personality?

For much longer than I’ve run Thought Distiller, I’ve been meaning to take a look at what it means when someone is described as having a “polarizing personality.” What is it about a single person that can inspire both awe and revulsion? Thus far, it’s been difficult for me to adequately phrase my thoughts on…