The Barriers to a Data-Friendly Business: Turning Your Focus Outward

Every business wants to know their customers better. Yet many businesses are inward looking. What has to change?

When you want to save a file in your favorite application, which icon do most apps offer up?

Why it’s the image of a 3.5″ floppy disc, of course.

The Save Icon is typically a 3.5

The Save Icon is typically a 3.5″ Floppy Disk

Why is it that the universal icon for saving a file is an image of a technology that breathed its last breath sometime in 2007? This is a technology that most users today have never even seen.

The reason is that Apple burned the 3.5″ floppy “Save” icon into our brains with the release of the Macintosh in 1998. Adobe, Microsoft and other software manufacturers followed suit.

By the time the 3.5″ floppy started being phased out just a few years later, the most primitive part of our brain had solidified this as the easiest to recognize icon when we didn’t want to lose our work.

Every time we clicked it, and got confirmation that our work was saved, we got a feeling of relief — and a squirt of dopamine. This cemented it in our mind and made it instantly available.

The image could have been a picture of a flying pig and we would still be using it today.

The save icon could have been a flying pig. Learn why this would work.

The save icon could have been a flying pig

This is the behavior of our limbic brain, called “System 1” by Danny Kahnemann in the seminal book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. It’s been called our lizard brain and our monkey brain. It’s the knee-jerk decision maker, fight or flight.

My guest, Tim Ash, calls it the Primal Brain.

Why not something more intuitive? Like a file folder?

Or even a cloud?

Because, when our lizard brain doesn’t have a quick answer, it turns to our Executive brain. This part of our brain analyzes things to make decisions. And when this happens, it creates cognitive load.

This makes our applications harder to use and less satisfying.

We make few decisions with our Executive brain. It’s our Primal Brain — our emotional, fear-based brain — that gets the first shot.

So why are we using logic and rational thinking so much in our marketing?

Tim Ash started his career in the ‘interwebs’ back in 1995. He and I have a lot in common. For one, we both built web companies back in the ‘OG’ internet days.

On top of leading his CRO company SiteTuners, Tim is a digital marketing keynote speaker, founder of the Digital Growth Unleashed conference, and author of the book Landing Page Optimization. It’s still one of the first books I recommend to anyone who wants to get up on the learning curve when it comes to LPO….And back in the day, I learned quite a bit from it myself.

To begin to understand how our visitors think, Tim suggests we stop looking inside  our companies, and start looking outside.

Listen in as Tim explains why you should always work backwards when it comes to a redesign. Start with your end users. Understand your audience. Then build.

Warning: Tim doesn’t pull any punches.

Digital Growth Unleashed Conference

Las Vegas – June 17- 19

For more information, head over to

Intended Consequences listeners will receive 15 percent off your registration for the conference by using the code ST15 

Interview with Tim Ash: Which part of your visitors' brains makes the decisions. Listen to the podcast.

Interview with Tim Ash: Which part of your visitors’ brains makes the decisions.

When you get back to the office…

You team has data, insights into your visitors, prospects and customers. It’s time to let this data out into the open.

Invite your PPC team to talk about what ads work and which don’t.

Invite your email marketing team to talk about what subject lines are killing it and which are not.

Ask your sales department to tell you which customers buy the most, and which products are most popular.

This is the beginning of understanding your audience from THEIR point of view.

Resources and links from the Podcast

You can visit for more information on Tim’s new book and to join his pre-announcement mailing list.

Unleashing the Primal Brain by Tim Ash. Book coming soon. Make sure to bookmark this page..

Unleashing the Primal Brain by Tim Ash

Brian Massey
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