I'm a long-time fan of NextStage's Joseph Carrabis. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Joseph in New York and it was one of the more interesting hours I've spent. We're talking big brain here folks. But without the ego - a rare combination.
What I enjoy most about the work Joseph Carrabis does is that he focuses not just on the what, but on the why. Many in the website conversion arena can tell you what website, landing page, banner ad, etc. performed the best. But they can't always tell you why.
That's what Reading Virtual Minds - Volume I: Science and History is all about - not only what people do online, but why they do it. I love Joseph's approach because he uses a combination of many different scientific approaches: Neurology, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Semiotics, Linguistics and many more.
Imagine if you could create a website that was more persuasive then even your very top sales person? Imagine that website could adjust the messaging and customer experience based on feedback from each individual customer. And best of all imagine it could make those adjustments not just from the customer’s conscious feedback, but from their unconscious feedback as well?
How cool would that be? How much money could you make from such a website?
This is the end result of the science and technology behind “ET”, an interface designed by NextStage to learn from website visitor behavior. Or, as author Joseph Carrabis puts it, “Technically, such an interface would be called a Symbiotic CyberSemiotic System, and who in their right mind wants to read that more than once in a book?”
In Reading Virtual Minds, Volume I: Science and History,Joseph Carrabis, CEO and founder of NextStage explores the science and history behind ET and understanding human behavior.
The premise of the book is:
“An interesting thing about behaviors is that people engage in thousands of behaviors without realizing they are doing so. These thousands of behaviors are little things that mean nothing by themselves, but added up give us a pretty detailed picture of who we are.”
”If you know how to isolate and read these behaviors, and you know what information is being presented (such as a web page, a software interface, a brochure, a leave-behind, a PPT slide…), then you know how to predict what people are going to do and how to persuade them to do what you want, online and off, whether they’re sitting in front of you, sitting in front of a computer half a world away, or responding to their emails on the iPhone sitting in Starbucks.”
Thanks to ET, two people could be in the same room, surfing the same website, yet having two very different experiences, seeing different content served up based on their behavior. This is the ultimate customizable experience everyone’s been talking about, but no-one’s really been able to deliver.
I’ve done a lot of work with segmentation and personas and have seen the huge impact they can have on site performance and conversion. But the results ET can deliver are like personas times one hundred.
For me, the sign of a good book is one that gets you thinking, that raises questions, that makes you yearn for more. This book does exactly that. My copy is marked up, highlighted and filled with my own thoughts and notations.
The other sign of a good book is that there are concrete steps I can take back and apply directly to my life and my work. There are some incredible take-aways that are worth the price of the book, but not as many as I would have liked. But this volume is “Volume I: Science and History” In future volumes, Joseph promises to share how to implement these learnings.
If you’re interested in improving your website, or overall customer experience, I highly recommend you read Reading Virtual Minds Volume 1: Science and History. It will get your brain spinning with possibility and will whet your appetite for more to come from this series. I personally can barely wait for the rest of the material to be published. (And just to get you salivating, there is a whole section on gender.)