The art of influence: Trading items of unequal values

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Meet Stuart Diamond, negotiation teacher at Google and Wharton School.

I highly recommend reading his great book: Getting More. One of the discussion points is Trading items of unequal values:

(In a negotiation) “All parties value things differently, and often unequally. Once you find out what they are, you can trade them.

(…) Find out what each party cares and doesn’t care about, big and small, tangible and intangible, in the deal or outside the deal, rational and emotional.

Then trade off items that one party values but the other party doesn’t”.

Find it cool? Check out Stuart’s video below


>> It’s about exploring others’ needs to deliver a compelling value proposition in order to increase value for all parties involved. We all want different things at different times for different reasons, improving how to ask questions will help finding out what others want.

Tim Ferriss is great at this, he leveraged his network (1.2+ million unique visitors on his blog) to promote his last book, The 4-Hour Chef. Prizes were offered to whomever would buy the most books above a given threshold, they would get to meet Tim and loads of swag from Tim’s network (startups he is advising, businesses he is linked to).

He did the same to create a video trailer for his last book: “Tim: Do you think you could create a trailer for The 4-Hour Chef? Well, I’m putting $2,500 USD up for grabs, as well as a 60-minute conversation with me (if you like) and being showcased on this blog to 1.2 million monthly readers.” Doing that the traditional way could cost him 10,000s, instead he’s activating his community. Here’s the Give and Gets matrix:

Who What they give What they get
Readers Their time, $ Entertainment
Tim Ferriss Influence Loyal readership
Featured businesses/cause Swag, freebies Huge exposure

He’s done that with Soma water, Dodocase and also for charity. I find it amazing that he reached a point where he trades influence for what he likes. In the technology space, he might very well be the best at it.

Check out how he planned to promote his new book, rocking up on all media at once and using unconventional channels such as Amazon Publishing and making a deal with Bittorrent (!) to get featured.

Understanding what people are wanting/lacking will help you strike deals and make changes that you never thought possible. I applied it myself to find and secure Europe’s largest sports goods retailer sponsorship for my nautical adventures, it works!

Stuart’s video:

-Rodolphe (initially published on


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