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Jumping The Shark

31 Mar

Most of us spend a lot of time asking ourselves if we are doing the ‘right’ thing: Are we wearing the right glasses? Do we hold the right views? Are we living in the right part of town? Have we given our child the right name? Everyone wants to be ‘cool’. But cool is actually hard to define. Once you do it, it isn’t cool anymore. Because this je ne sais quoi often eludes us, we use status symbols to try and emulate it. And we are not just talking about teenage trends – every age-group, every social class has its own status symbols, the mainstream to the same extent as the avant garde.

In the US there is a way of describing the point at which something becomes passé: it’s jumped the shark. The saying was inspired by the TV series Happy Days, specifically an episode in which Fonzie tries to jump over a shark on waterskis. This ridiculous script idea suggested that the scriptwriters were literally losing the plot: they could no longer sustain the show’s success and were resorting to cheap gimmicks in a desperate attempt to retain viewers. Initially applied to the beginning of the end of a TV series, the saying is now used more generally to describe the moment when something loses its freshness and starts to go downhill.
To sum it up: What fun is it being cool if you can’t wear a (sombrero? Calvin & Hobbes)

The movie is better than the book

2 Nov

A great idea to use the Nolan chart for movies and books. Found on this great blog (Mr. Brames Blog).

High Infidelity

1 Feb

Drawing by Dag B. Grødal

Why do some people have affairs while other don’t?

This little model is based on research by the Kinsey-Institute in Bloomington. Basically there are two parameters: how easily are you aroused vs how much are you willing to take risks? Kinsey researcher call this “gas pedal” and brake pedal”. In order to find out about your sensitivity to arousal they ask questions like: “If you touch a stranger at a party or brush against a stranger who you find attractive do you become aroused? If you make eye contact with her or her – do you become aroused?” People who answer yes, app. 40 %, have a strong gas pedal. This doesn´t mean you are unfaithful. Because you might hit the brakes. This is discovered by asking questions like: “If you are having sex with someone in a public place and someone else comes along  –  does that cause you to become apprehensive and stop having sex?” We can also say people with a strong brake pedal have strong marital values. Now, people with a strong gas pedal and a weak brake pedal, about 20 %, these are the ones most prone to cheat.

Ah, a friend request! But who the hell is Benno?!

31 Aug

The line between a friend and an enemy is sometimes as fine as the one between bravery and stupidity. This little friendscouting-model shows who to trust.

So, let’s start in the bottom-left corner: „The Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend“. We all know this basic principle from the school yard. Some senior citizens might be remembered of World War II when longtime enemies France and Britain united against Nazi-Germany. Let’s have a look at the upper-left square: „The Enemy of my Friend is my Enemy“. This is the highly moralistic conversion of the Machiavelli principle. Some of you might have been lucky enough to have experienced this in the school yard. Others might know it from math: trusting other and being trusted (tit for tat) is the ultimative solution for the prisoner’s dilemma in game theory. „The Friend of my Enemy is an A…hole“ – everyone who’s ever experienced betrayal knows what we’re talking about. And finally: „The Friend of my Friend is my Friend“. This is the basic principle of Facebook. Here’s a question: How many friends do you have on Facebook? How many of them do you know? And how many do you trust?

How we became what we are

25 Jun

Reality is no fun to read. Here is an example (y-axis = degree of success, x-axis = age): Do you remember what you wanted to become when you were a child? Do you you remember what your parents wanted you to become?
Compare your dream with their dream: what would have been more difficult to achieve? Now look at what your doing right now for a livin:. How far away is that away from your childhood dream? Where did it all go wrong? And why? Or are you – on the contrary – happy you never went for your childhood dream?
All of this just to say: it’s sometimes good to lean back, grab a decent drink and ponder the question: What makes us happy? Here’s a hint: maybe we are happy when we forget what we cannot change.

The Face-it Book

12 Apr

We at 50topmodels cannot stand any more stories about web 2.0, social networks and nexnext-scenarios.
That’s why we were really happy to find this comprehensive explanation for the internet-madness: His work inspired us to draw up our own version of the black hole in the worldwideweb. The model is pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t get it, you must have been on the moon for the last four years. Or off-line. Which is pretty much the same.

It’s time for the gym again!

4 Mar

In The Long Run

20 Feb

Christmas Gift

24 Dec

Mikael Krogerus und Roman Tschäppeler wish you a “Profitable Christmas” and a “Successful New Year”!

Music I used to like

5 Dec

Click on it, if you wanna have this on a Shirt!

Whos quote is this?  “There are two kinds of music – the one you like, the one you don’t like!” Wrong. There’s music you used to like. (found on

Until death do us apart

3 Aug


Here is another matrix we found in Integriertes Personal-Management (Luchterhand 2008) by Martin Hilb. It is about the loyality of employees. It shows what companies should be careful about if they don’t want to end up with a hire-and-fire reputation.

Let’s take a look at love. It’s the same principle, with a twist.

Until death do us apart

Until death do us apart

The axis „story told“ illustrates your partner’s perspective. But it also shows the position and values of your social (and religious) environment. If you prefer to read it from a society’s point of view you have to replace the sentences:

  • „I want to stay“ = „I have to stay“
  • „Well it’s complicated!“ = „I give a damn’ what people say!“

The axis „story lived“ shows what you think what your partner feels about being with you.

My New BFF

24 Jul

A couple of days ago I was cleaning up my appartement. I mean REALLY clean it, not just on the surface like our cleaning lady does (our cleaning lady is a man in fact). I loved the feeling of this kind of purification. So I went on to the archive of my existence, my green wooden treasure trunk. That’s where I keep my diaries, old pictures (yes, prints!), notes and slips from teenage years and backstage passes from concert I can’t remember. Going through all these memories I tried to remember all my friends I have had and have throughout my life. The list grew bigger and bigger. So I started to put them in an order in a meaningful and in some completley strange ways. I have to admit: It tells more about myself than about my friends. So here are some ideas how you can sort your old, young, new and forgotten friendships – at least on paper. This would be useful for Paris Hilton in her TV show My New BFF. (Post from RT)

Who is my friend?

Who is my friend?

The next financial crises: credit cards

1 Jul
Pocket cards: AA, American Airline

Pocket cards: AA, American Airline

Facebook vs. Fakebook

27 Jun

Mobile devices change our life. We are constantly available. There’s hardly any space and time left where messages can’t get through to us. With high accessibility comes high expectation. An answer or at least a reaction is expected (share this!, like this!, comment me!). Renny Gleeson (Global Digital Strategies Director at Wieden&Kennedy) says: „Our reality is less interesting then the story we gonna tell.“ And the permenant checking of in-boxes and voicemails make our fellow human beings feel, „what’s happening right here and right now isn’t as important as what could be happening elsewhere.“ That’s when you catch your date checking her in-box when you get back from the restroom. Then you are offended („Am I that boring?“) but you forget that you checked your voicemail on the toilet.
The light of the mobile phone-display has replaced the flame of the pocket lighter during a love song at a rock concert. That’s the sound of one hand clapping. The selfmade picture of the menu at a decent restaurant is even more important than the real taste of it. Facebook, Twitter, SMS and Email are the channels to share the experience. Shared narrative becomes „who we are“. 

Turn off your mobile once in a while

Turn off your mobile once in a while

  1. Availability increases
  2. Moments of real life experiences decrease
  3. Shared narrative becomes who we are

Choose Blues

20 May

Thank God there some are simple solutions left: If my car has a flat tire I change it. If my leg is broken, there’s a universal treatment that works. Another example: If I’m tired I go to sleep. I think you get the point…
I lost a good friend a couple of years ago, I got suspicious talking with other friends about how to deal with it. They recommended a variety of problem-solving measures: go on a trip, see a psychiatrist, get drunk, talk to friends, write a song. I tried it. It helped. Some more than others. Some helped immediately, other after analyzing them. But I still could not „fix“ my problem. I felt that the more solutions I found to a problem, the less helpful each of them were. In other words: The lesser opportunities I had, the more worthy (effective) each of them became.

The fewer to number of solutions, the more effective the outcome?

If you only have few solutions, are the outcomes more effective?

One cannot copmpare the losing of a friend to a broken leg or a flat tire, but I started to observe problem-solving not only from a subjective and immediate point of view but also from an additive and sequential perspective. Is it true that the more actions I take to solve my problem the bigger the chance of succsess become?
This is far away from a general theory about psychological self-medication, but it helps to classify actions taken and actions to be taken. In order to overcome a sudden personal crisis it might be a good idea not to change everything at the same time and prevent over-motivated actions with unknown outcomes. It’s just a thought…

If getting waisted a couple of times helps, great.

If getting drunk a couple of times helps, great.

  1. One solution with little effectiveness: getting drunk OR booking a weekend trip
  2. Multiple solutions with little effectiveness: getting drunk on a weekend trip
  3. Multiple solutions with big effectiveness: sleeping 8 hours a night, exercising, eating healthy
  4. One solution with big effectiveness: resign, relocate, divorce, make kids OR spend all your money (one at the time should be enough)

Get rich or die trying

10 May

Who is really rich? The fat guy with the fat wallet or the witty guy with the great body. Some people have both – good for them. Do both guys have something in common? Yes, they both constantly have to re-innovate themselves in order to defend their position against contenders. So how do you defend your position? 


Where are you?

  1.  You can adopt the behavior and methods of foreign elites (if you check out the fashion in Copenhagen, you will be the hipster of Millwaukee).
  2. Invent new cultural actions (e.g. newspapers for free) But make shure that competitors of your own „group“ do not adopt them. Or if they do make sure everybody knows they got it from you. They will feel inferior.
  3. Adopt quickly new behaviors of „groups“ below you (preferably from the avantgardist). If rich people use the fashion items of the hipsters, the hipsters loose their prestige. Therefore: they will not climb the prestige latter.

Read “Gewinne und Verluste sozialen Wandels” (German)
Interview on “Spiegel Online” with Dr. Wolf Wagner
Check french sociologist Pierre Bourdieu – you find one of his models in our book.

SUV Principle

29 Apr


More is less. Less is more.

Don’t expect a blog entry about the economical crisis. Nor about the climate crisis. This graph is about why we want things we do not need. An SUV for example.

 „People like to surround themself with unnecessary power“ says David Pogue, The New York Times tech-writer. I’am shure that’s true. Just try to check out all features of your mobile phone. Or try to make your new alarm clock work (as it happened to me yesterday). For most of us, less would be more. A mac software upgrade is not a simplification of what’s already there it simply adds to what you never needed in the first place. So how comes we want more of evertyhing?  I think this “upgrade-mania” reflects the fear of missing out on life. The regret of not having married the very first love, the anxiety of not beeing accepted by your friends, the fear that that other party might have been better. So how should one deal with it?

  1. Upgrade your life constantely. Warning: You might run out of ressources. Solution: Get rich or die trying.
  2. Accept your limit of individual luxury. Warning: You might run out of perspectives. Solution: Do not read success stories.
  3. Downgrade your life. Warning: You might run out of friends. Solution: Look for new friends downgrading, too.
  4. Switch between 1-3. Warning: You might get stuck in 2. Solution: Change consciously between 1-3 for certain time.


Predictable Irrationality

31 Mar

First of all: If you prefer to watch Dan Ariely and get to know his thoughts visit and take 15 minutes. It’s worth it!

The starting point of Dan Ariely’s behavioral economy studies is his heavy injury in an explosion. Most of his body has been burnt. While the nurses where changing his bandages he asked: What is more painful? Rip the bandage off and suffer heavy pain for short period? Or take it off slowly and feel pain in less intensity per second but for a longer duration?

The nurses ripped it off. Finally, a long time after he left the hospital and became professor and bestselling author, he found out that the encoding of time and intensity is almost always influenced by (predictible) irrationality. Then he continued his examinations on cheating in various social experiments. If you give a group of people the opportunity to cheat there would not be some of the group cheating a lot, but a lot of people would cheat a little. Since cheating is perceived as a simple cost and benefit analysis (how much can I win divided by how bad the punishment will be if I get caught) this might surprise.


If you have the opportunity to cheat and get money, you still would cheat a little. But if you cheat in order to get a voucher, token, stock, bonus, etc. your cheating degree would double. Even though there’s no rational reason why, this doesn’t surprise, does it?

It’s more appropriate to cheat if you feel part of a (cheating) group. Ariely comments this phenomena with a splahy statement: „IF you cheat is depending on what T-shirt you are wearing.“ Means: If it’s obvious that your enemy is cheating you won’t, if your team is cheating the probability is much bigger you will cheat, too!


 In a nutshell:

  1. Given the opportunity a lot of people cheat – but just a little.
  2. Remind cheating people of their morality – they cheat less!
  3. The more distance people have from their benefit, the more they cheat.
  4. If you experience cheating as part of your (social) group, cheating goes up!



17 Feb

You can't have both


Replace in a couple of month “go on a trip” and “save money” with “voted for Obama” and “voted for…what was his name again?”.

Innovative field

30 Nov


Who’s innovative (by the book)? We found a couple of indications in our old logbook from the Kaospilots University. How we change the world? And who is changing it? Nowadays it’s common sense that the innovative field is set somewhere in the middle between chaos and method, between structure and intuition. Is it? After all since change has a name, Obama is acting within these guidelines. His put-together-administration isn’t too revolutionary nor boring. You can put in your network and think about it. We did. But we won’t put it online, sorry guys.

Love cycle

15 Nov


(maybe you should first read the hype cycle post just below)

We did not have to wait for these mexican scientists in order to guess that love does not last eternally. And since we had a closer look on Gartner’s Hype Cycle we think to see similarities between tech-gadgets and true love. Love is a hype. Read our dawing with a smile on your face:

Amor got you! Your in love and you’re on top of the world. But soon also on the peak of inflated expectations, sorry. Hope you did not marry yet. Before you reach the trough of disillusionment you hit the point of no return. 

a) Run and crunch somebody’s life (seldom the “sorry, no hard feelings” goes both ways…).

b) Marry, make some kids and love your family life (usual action after 30).

“I’m just a product of society”

13 Nov


We (over)heard a conversation of two tennies in a tram in Zurich. Here our translation using a known marketing scheme (Start at IMAGE and go counterclockwise): “What is my image? Am I happy with it and if not, how do I change my brand? Do I live healthy, is my body and mind in good shape? How long do I live? Am I accessible to everyone or just to my boyfriend? What’s the price if somebody want’s me? What’s my personal indecent proposal? Who says that I’m good at something? Am I good at something – in my opinion? And how can I keep up with others and the world? Argh, its so hard live, but if you wanna have something from me I give you that what you need, just in time, wrapped up in a parcel, delivered at home, no questions asked. But only as long as you like me!”

Me is you and me

1 Nov


(Selbsteinschätzung = self-assessment, Fremdeinschätzung = assessment by others, Kongruenzzone = matching assets)

This method did not make it into our book “50 Erfolgsmodelle”. At second thought it’s a pity. We developped this visualization to help clarify the question of the question. Who am I? We do not claim to have the answer but a nice tool to approach it. Ask yourself on a scale from 1 to 10 e.g. how relaiable am I? How daring am I? Am I honest? Ask a friend, a coach, an enemy or your mother to answer the same questions about you. Fill in and discuss it with your friend, coach, enemy or mother. Are you the person you pretend to be? Do you value yourself higher or lower, on which characterization? Tedning to under- oder overstatement?

Do what you want to do!

15 Oct

This modell – actually it’s just a thought – shows how we get dependent (or independent) as time goes by. Growing up in a famlily with values and an education preparing for a traditional career allows quite a lot of freedom and it supports individuality in the beginning. But soon you have to queue up your personal needs and wishes. You do what you HAVE to do. As soon as experience (and hopefully a fortune) has arrived, you start again doing what you WANT to do.
We call it “fundriven” if you don’t care about savings. You live your live quite spontaneous. A traditional career and education are replaced by a shifting career and an affinity for distance learning programs. A typical indication is to get (professionally) independent. You do what you want but you earn just as much money you need to live. The lack of savings might end in a bigger dependence at the end of your life.

Well, it is quite reduced and the starting point of individuality is indeed individual. But anyway it is interesting to question yourself if you are doing what you want. Or are you designing your (professional) life towards the future (e.g. saving money in order to fulfill a dream later).