This week’s links: 31/3/19

The Century of the Self documentary – YouTube: the rise of psychoanalysis and public relations (Edward Bernays and Sigmund Freud)

Drug Short, S1E3 of Dirty Money – Netflix: the story of Valeant Pharmaceuticals and drug price gouging

Billion Dollar Lessons by Paul Carroll & Chunka Mui: what to learn from some of the most costly business failures, including illusions of merger synergies, financial engineering gone wrong, flawed industry rollups, and misguided temptations of “adjacent” markets.

The Case for Big Business – WSJ: Tyler Cowen in defense of “big business”

Using FOMO to Increase Lottery Participation

A salient example is the “Postcode Lottery” in the Netherlands. Weekly it awards a “Street Prize” to one postal code, the Dutch equivalent of a zip code, chosen at random. When a postal code (usually about 25 houses on a street) is drawn, everybody who played the lottery in that code wins about $12,500 or more. Those living there who neglected to buy a ticket win nothing — except the chance to watch their neighbors celebrate. 

In a 2003 study, researchers in the Netherlands noted that fear of regret played a significantly larger role in the Postcode Lottery than in a regular lottery. It was not the chance of winning that drove the players to buy tickets, the researchers found, it was the idea that they might be forced to sit on the sidelines contemplating missed opportunity. 

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