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book: Contagious: Why things catch on

Book: Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Jonah Berger has put together a highly readable series of insights around what makes people share ideas, packed with examples. The acronym of the book’s ideas is STEPPS.

  • Social Currency - insider knowledge you can introduce to your social circle.
  • Triggers - part of the idea is closely tied to some repeating event, so it is brought to mind on a regular basis
  • Emotion - emotions that trigger the adrenal system (anger, laughter) are better than those that leave the reader passive
  • Public - transferring private behaviour (like voting, competition entries) into the public eye
  • Practical Value - explaining how to accomplish a task
  • Stories - people more easily share ideas that are tied to stories, but make sure the story you’re constructed is closely tied to the brand or concept you’re sharing about

If you’re trying to create a piece of media that you’re hoping will be widely shared, it’s worth considering each of the STEPPS in turn to see if you can make your idea more contagious.


Movie: Expendables 3

Movie: Expendables 3

I should qualify this first of all that I watched this movie out of a sense of family bonding tradition, and not necessarily for its significance in the pantheon of cinematic choices.

Stallone is back, with a range of 1980’s movie stars from the action genre, with another series of set pieces. To try and reach a broader audience, everything has been edited back to a PG-13 rating (M in Australia, vs MA for previous films in the franchise), which changes the way that the action is perceived. 

The best thing about the film is the Antonio Banderas character, who (along with Kelsey Grammer) brings a sense of humour to the film, which is otherwise waiting for popular one-liners to be rehashed. Other high points are the Harrison Ford role, and the Mel Gibson - the villain of the film.

It’s a passable action film, certainly, and there’s plenty for fans of the 1980’s action films, but it’s probably 30 minutes too long.


DVD: Brazil

DVD: Brazil is a movie I’d heard a lot about, but never seen. I found a copy of the DVD at Hum, and it doesn’t disappoint. Gilliam’s vision of a dystopian future is immersive. The consumerism, the slacking, the portrait of family life - they all bring a sense of realism to the surreal world that’s constructed. And there are so many movies that have been influenced by its visual style. Worth a look if you’re a Gilliam fan, if you’re interested in the history of cinema, or if you like dystopian future films.


Sly, Surry Hills

Sly, Surry Hills

Roastworks coffee. 212 Devonshire St, Surry Hills. In what was once a “sly grog shop” in prohibition-era Sydney is a relaxed, elegantly appointed cafe with a menu that it at once simple and fancy.

Where the Magic Happens: Sly, Surry Hills

My decaf long black has great crema (it’s ground to order), and the jaffle - duck and chestnut is delicious: the familiar over-hot at first, easing back to toasted sandwich perfection that makes the waffle such a childhood throw-back favourite.

Jaffle and Long Black, Surry Hills

If you’re peckish, and looking for a fancy take on a classic, it’s worth a visit.


Single Origin Roasters Mothership, Botany

Single Origin Roasters Mothership, Botany

Single Origin Roasters. 28B Cranbrook St, Botany. I’ve been going to the original Single Origin Roasters shop for at least eight years, and it’s evolved a lot in that time - growing, spawning an extra cafe just for selling takeaway coffees, and moving its roaster off-site.

This new store represents their latest development, bringing their signature approach to food and coffee sales to some spec at the front of their roastery. When we arrive on a rainy day, it’s near empty, but by the time we leave, it’s filled up.

Single Origin Roasters Mothership, Botany

Food and coffee are to the usual high standard, though the prices are also premium. Worth a visit.