Two years ago I bought one Bitcoin. For science.

The Smartest Person in the Room

I did it as part of researching blockchain, as a way to learn about emerging cryptocurrency tools, and to support my brand as a tech vanguard. Part of my brand is to be the person who understands the newest science and gadgets, to be a two-weeks-ahead-of-you version of the smartest person in the room. My stock-in-trade is tech advice. This was tech.

It was also play – and I didn’t want to miss out.

FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out, is a known psychological driver. We’re wired so that the misery of not being included is much greater than the satisfaction of being part of the crowd. We’ve all felt it on the playground and around the water cooler.

Makes sense. A primitive human without a tribe is soon a meal for a saber-toothed tabby.

Yet even today, without existential threats around every corner, FOMO underlies plenty of irrational behavior. Like buying bitcoins without context.

Pay to Play

bitcoin fomo fear of missing outA year ago I skimmed off some Bitcoin proceeds to buy a little Ethereum and Litecoin, two second-tier cryptocurrencies now catching the public’s eye as Bitcoin’s unit price makes even well-heeled players shake their heads.

I bought those for science. But also, for FOMO. I wanted to play there, too.

And now, in the froth that is the today’s tulip-bulb mania, I hit refresh too often, watching the charts for all three carve new landscapes in conventional wisdom.

Is it a bubble? Almost certainly. And. I don’t care.

Irrationally, unreasonably, I am completely content watching the values whipsaw – because I don’t want to miss out. The avoidance of regret I get today from not being excluded is a tangible payoff – a joy worth the loss I will get tomorrow when the values plummet.

It’s the same irrational wishing you buy that lasts from lottery-ticket purchase to the “ah, well” at scratch-off.

It’s the cost of a ticket on the roller coaster (and I love roller coasters). It’s paying to play.

And the play is worth it.

This is Audience Advice

This is not investment advice. Don’t buy or sell anything based on my experience. This is audience advice.

Because there is something your audience is afraid of missing out on.

Something that should they not get it, their psyches would pump misery straight into their cerebral cortexes.

Something irrationally, unreasonably hard-wired to drive behavior and seek answers and connections.

Something they are willing to pay for, in attention or dollars, in order to not miss out.

Your audience is desperate to join in with those of like minds, to be part of a meaningful cause, to escape being left on the sidelines. They are desperate to belong.

Their fear of missing out drives them to need something.

Take a minute. Understand what that is. And then …

Go supply it for them.

 

 

Glenn Miller's Newsletter – The Recess Bell

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