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Verifiable vs Unverifiable.


Today’s post will mostly be about the “verifiable” vs the “unverifiable”. Or you can think about it as “objective” vs “subjective”.

I write this post for myself and my readers. So that in future we can read through this and think about how to use both the “verifiable” and “unverifiable” to strategise and persuade.

I was tempted to say “real” vs “voodoo” but subjective stuffs can sometimes be more “real” than “objective” matters.

This post is of course sparked by two quotes, which I’d been thinking about recently:

  • “Price is what you pay, value is what you get”- Warren Buffett.
  • “When they go low, we go high.”– Michelle Obama.

So what’s “low”, and what’s “high”? What’s “value” and what’s “price”? It probably actually goes back to what is verifiable and what isn’t.

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Actually, the “unverifiable” is all about consent.

Because, if you gather 10 people in the room, they will all agree on “verifiables”. For if A is written as “A”, or “B” is recorded as “B”, it’s just a matter of what is due to unambiguous evidence. You can’t really have too much of a deviation when things are substantiated in black and white, or by numbers.

What is “unverifiable” however, is usually very subjective opinions or statements. Therefore consent is needed. Such as verbal stuffs, or the existing stuffs/ associations/ things in your mind. These stuffs differ from people to people, so we can’t really verify anything much as long as it is not recorded on black and white, or in numbers.

The art of being vague is all about the “unverifiable”. So the element of “consent” is needed. Before a brand can eke itself into your heart, you have to consent to it.

This is why consent is so important, precisely because of the crazy, unmanageable ego which distorts the verifiable in numbers. The ego affects what we deem as “highly valuable” and the only way any transaction can occur is through the “verifiable”–i.e. unambiguous pricing, and clear expressed expectations.

And this is why transparency is also important, lest you get slapped with a charge of being “unethical”. Before making any deal you should actually inform the stupid/naive person about the possible downsides to signing the deal, in case they eventually counter-accuse you of being “exploitative”.

Because if you inform, and people still consent after thinking through it, then what does it imply? It implies basically that by consenting, they reach a better outcome at that point in time for themselves.

Positioning does polarize. It does make people hate you. But it also attracts people who love you to you and saves you a lot of time. By polarizing, you don’t have to deal with people who hate you, and you can spend your time with people who love you and are for your cause.

Personally I think this is the best part to the idea of “value”. Subjective and unverifiable as hell, but very, very real. And it has nothing to do with hard work. 

People who tell me to work hard without thinking? Fuck you. I’d been blindly believing in such statements for the past 28 years of my life and I won’t be deceived anymore.


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