Deep Leverage

I called ten companies to repair an issue with my house's HVAC unit. Most of them connect to some form of "coordinator" who collects the order and sends your info to the operations person who schedules your visit. At no point you talk to an actual technician before the visit.

In a few places, however, you speak with a technician directly. This experience is so much better! I was able to get intelligent advice and trusted the business much more.

You can ask, why, then does the business hire a clueless first line of support/order collection? It's the leverage.

Leverage is easy to get wrong. Leverage is a way to do multiple things at once.

When we do multiple things at once, we can't account for individual differences of the object. If we speak to a crowd of people, we look for commonalities. It's the opposite of uniqueness. Uniqueness focuses on what's different about this object or this person. If you ignore uniqueness, you can't connect deeply in an authentic relationship.

So to apply leverage effectively, you need to see where most of the value is. If the value in the commonalities, leverage would work. If the value in uniqueness - it won't.

Let's take clothing as an example. If you want to make fashionable clothing, it can be leveraged. That's what large clothing retailers like H&M do. To be fashionable is to be like other people who are up to date with the style. It's not about uniqueness. However, if you want to make clothing that is exceptionally comfortable, it's harder to do it with leverage. Since human bodies are highly unique, the unleveraged way may work the best.

Maybe a smarter way to get leverage is on a deeper level. Take for example, MTailor - they make custom clothing by scanning your body with your mobile phone. They invested in leveraged automation and scanning technology and they are able to create custom clothing but still enjoy economy of scale.

I was also talking with the roof contractor today, Chris. He smelled like my grandpa's perfume, the cheap blue-collar smell I recognize from the 80s in the Soviet Union. His way of speaking reminded me of the nonchalant manner of Russian Winnie the Pooh. Chris was sneaky and pushy. He was trying to force me to sign a deal with a price 2.3x higher than another quote by using pressure sales techniques. I didn't budge. He has that confidence that he can bring me over the line to sign the contract. I respectfully declined, and I will not follow up. He used a leveraged tactic on me. He wanted to use his standard sales techniques with pressure and passion and expected to agree. He wasted his time.

A better way to sell is to use a different type of leverage. We may have found a way to work together if he trained with better techniques, like question-based selling, and learned to listen instead of interrupting.

My takeaway is that the blunt application of leverage is often harmful to human connection because it often recuses humans into an object of manipulation.

Investing in deep leverage is much more effective, where you learn how to create a deeper connection more effectively.