Do You Have a Moment to Talk About Anki?

Author: Ethan Glover
Last Updated: Nov 14, 2021, 8:46 AM UTC
Anki flashcard software.

The fellow over at Master How To Learn doesn't tell his friends about Anki anymore. I can't say how many people I've recommended Anki to with no results. I feel the pain of trying to turn people on to something great and getting no response. We've all been there. I've got a shortlist of things I recommend to people every chance I get.

I've been drinking Soylent for 8 years, I recommend it whenever I can. That can either lead to a debate on what “healthy” is or the standard, “I just like food too much.” response.

I recommend people use an RSS reader like Feedly instead of browsing news sites, depending on YouTube subscriptions, or looking at social media feeds. In fact, I recommend people not use social media at all. While I've never been able to turn anyone onto Feedly, I have noticed people I know lose interest in, and reduce their social media usage to basically 0. I've let people know about Google Fi as the better phone plan. I've gotten a $20 referral out of that. People always seem interested in Fi, but it's rare to randomly come across someone looking to change phone plans. And I recommend to anyone looking to learn code to check out Zero To Mastery and Wes Bos. I've absolutely gotten people to check them out and buy courses.

So the question I have now is, what's the difference between the things that people do jump on, and what they don't? It's not necessarily a matter of investment. Anki is a long-term investment into a daily habit. It's difficult for anyone to take interest in that. However, courses by ZTM and Wes Bos are not free and can take months to complete.

But really, the answer is clear. It just comes down to what people are interested in at the moment. I've put a lot of effort into studying and writing about persuasion, cognitive bias, and heuristics in the past. Trying to figure out the secrets to sway people to your side.

The final conclusion, and the point I retired on, is that the best way to persuade people is to just listen to them. Not listen to find the key points to use against them. But with no intention of even saying anything, just listen. It's so counterintuitive but it so works. The more you listen to people, the more willing they are to listen to you. And the more likely you are to learn about something from them.

Master How To Learn concludes on the idea of not being too zealous about things for the fear of scaring them off. That's still a cheap salesperson strategy. If you're thinking about things like that, you may as well just not say anything.

We all have our favorite tools and methods. Not everything works for everyone, we all know that. But take the approach of being a peer rather than someone who's ‘mastered the game’ teaching other people how to play, and you'll find yourself learning more and having the satisfaction of being able to share more with friends.

Don't be afraid to talk about and be zealous about the things you're zealous about. And don't be afraid to listen to the things your friends are zealous about. If you're interested, give it a shot. If not, it doesn't matter. The same goes in reverse, if they're not interested, they're not interested. That's ok. Don't sit around trying to come up with a better strategy. That's where you're going to lose their interest permanently.