Personal MBA: Amplification

Personal MBA: Amplification

Think of a blog post on a random website, like this one perhaps. When I publish this post, it’ll most likely only be seen by a handful of people. But what if it included some important breaking news or juicy celebrity gossip, and people started sharing it with their friends? It might make the content much more relevant to people. Search engines would rank it higher than other content, exposing it to even more people. You can see how quickly something small and relatively unknown turns into an important piece of information seen by millions. This is the idea of amplification. Kaufman defines it as the process of making a small change to a scalable system that produces enormous results.

In the example I cited, you could think of the internet as one large information copying system scaled to the nth degree. A small change to a piece of content can have significant effects. In the marketing world, this is called search engine optimization. To use an example that’s a bit more concrete you could think of a manufacturing process for something like a cell phone. Most cell phones are made, at least in part, with an aluminum body. What if you found a source of aluminum that was just ten cents cheaper? That may not sound like much money, but multiplied a million times over and your small change could have massive cost saving effects.

Amplification is a pretty cool concept to think about, and you can encounter it in many areas of business. I mentioned search engine optimization above, but what about a Facebook ad campaign. A small change to the marketing copy on your ad could generate 100 times more leads or conversions and save your company thousands of dollars in ad costs. When looking for ways to create value for a company or save money as a business owner, look at the scalable systems. Optimizing a system like that, even if it’s a small change, can realize incredible benefits.

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