Biz + Tech

Turkey, Cognition and Compound Attention

You hear that?

It’s the sound of millions of people sleeping in that food coma left over from the Thanksgiving holiday.  Sure sure you’re acting like you’re fine but really you’re easing into that “hello Christmas”, “bring on another food coma” trajectory.

Over the years I’ve been better at mitigating that food coma effect. Portion control and ice water have been my antidotes.  Of course the wine and beer can counter any control you might muster… but pace yourself and you too can achieve an optimum balance of coma and cognition.

In my family the after dinner talk — the one where the Rockwell brothers gather around the fireplace to ramble — is one of most cherished memories I have in life.  Tonight’s topic: my favorite, the financial market… where it’s headed, stocks to buy, gains achieved, woeful losses, and the bits of wisdom achieved in between.

“Compound interest” one of my brothers says with a smile. And spiked eggnog takes over the conversation and we talk about the varied businesses we’re all building.

Compound interest is one of the cornerstones to a successful investment schema. This makes me think, whatever you’re doing, make sure you’re doing something.  It actually starts a sub thread in my head: Compound attention.

Compound attention… I like the way that sounds.  Attention is everything these days.  Everyone’s concept, business, app, thing, experience, fights for attention.  What’s your overall Compound Attention Score?  Are you meeting your metrics for Compound Attention in your startup?

These sub threads are fun for me.  I think of them as yet another measure of traction.  Course you need to define them, and then measure them, and then relate them to something that matters… but hey this is my post-Thanksgiving coma and cognition ramble, so let’s have some fun.  

Let’s define it first and let’s model it after compound interest:

Compound interest (or compounding interest) is interest calculated on the initial principal and also on the accumulated interest of previous periods of a deposit or loan.

Hmmm let’s modify that…

Compound attention (or compounding attention) is attention calculated on the initial hype and also on the accumulated attraction of previous periods of a start or inception.

Ok, sure, it looks like we’re just having word fun, but fun is important.  I go back to the glee my brother expressed talking about the magic of compound interest.  He put money in, and over time there was more and it was effortless. Whereas everything else in life, especially business, can be a struggle.  Here was this investment mechanism that just worked.  Of course it’s backed by the financial markets.

Is there a “market mechanic” that can work in compound attention’s favor?  Net presence?  Clarity in value prop and communication?  Percentage of time you wake up and keep caring?  Number of dollars you throw on the fire to stay relevant in the eyes of your audience?  

Let’s go back to our definition:

Compound attention (or compounding attention) is attention calculated on the initial hype and also on the accumulated attraction of previous periods of a start or inception.

Every startup or business is based around an initial hype or projection of the value proposition. This is a formula of understanding for the customer on how well you’ve made them aware of the problem you’re solving. They understand the value you’re giving them with the promise of your said solution.  That hype is real.  They feel it.  Emotion, that’s a good thing.  That’s a marketers dream drug.

Searching the internet I see that a few folks do talk about “compound marketing” and it’s essentially the same concept… but less cool. I mean Compound Attention, dude that is hot.

Maybe I need to think of a real world example. When I think about my own business, I feel it’s kind of low in the Compound Attention category. It has been a growth year with heads down doing the work and less talking about the work or marketing it. Maybe not the best example. 2018 will be a better year for that rolling attention theory.  

Spotify comes to mind. This is a product I use daily, if not hourly. Its overall compound attention to me– or the time I give it–  is overwhelmingly obvious.  Come to think of it, Spotify is a natural magnet to Compound Attention, the signal (the music) never stops. And we all love music.

Maybe the takeaway here is to try not to think too much after Thanksgiving dinner and booze. Maybe just give your brain a moment to relax by that fireplace glow.  Or better yet, enjoy that compound attention of family time with friends and loved ones.

Photo by Nathan Fertig on Unsplash

Software, Startups and making it happen at Big Kitty Labs! CEO, Co-Founder