First OneĀ Free

The next design pattern comes from Machiavellian Lens pack and called “First One Free”. I have chosen it as a second pattern to show because it looks absolutely natural and easy to use.

It is described as:

Can you give something away which gets people interested or addicted, so they come back and pay for more?

As an example from design point of view it says:

Offering one chapter (often the introduction) free has become increasingly common as a way of promoting new books more widely.

I bet your first reaction is that this is not a design but a sales pattern. And you are absolutely right. That is the psychology pattern. So, it can be used everywhere.

However, I guess that you think about sales process while trying to recognize the usage of it. But as you remember this series of posts is about management. It might sound ridiculous but sales is the natural part of management.

50% of your time you sell. You sell the work to your subordinates. You sell your results to boss. You sell your ideas to everybody around. And you sell, sell, sell.

Thus, this is your pattern. As an example think about selling a new idea to your boss. You can just come to him and describe it. Natural and easy way of communication but no warranty to get an approval for the implementation. Alternatively, you can sell him a free part of the idea. Implement the first step and gift it to him. Don’t ask anything. It will be your boss who will ask you to move further.

Disclaimer: the weakest points of all junior sales people are overselling and underpricing. Think about it when planning your first action that will be done for free.

Inspired by:


Degrading Performance

Lets start with Machiavellian Lens that are even by name close to management.

Original description of the pattern says:

Can you degrade the performance of a product or system until users comply with some behaviour change you want?

And illustrated by:

Some Nokia phones allegedly sense when a 3rd-party battery is used and switch into a high-power mode so it runs out more quickly.

If we switch to managerial topics this is the pattern that can be used to adjust the behavior of people you work with.

For example you want your team to work on their own. You trust your guys and they are able to do the job themselves. However, historically you are the one who makes decisions and drives the process.

Classical management says – delegate! Brilliant suggestion. The only question is left: How? And here goes the mentioned pattern. Just degrade your performance. They’ll have to start doing the job themselves.

Your can work visibly slow or become unavailable on irregular basis. So, there is no one to decide and the team has to rebuild the process naturally to eliminate the bottleneck. It is up to you to define how exactly you change you performance to force the change. Each situation is unique and you should act accordingly.

Disclaimer: I do understand that from the point of view of classical management this approach sounds ridiculous. But it works. That is one of my favorite patterns of delegation implementation. Add this weapon to your armory. Your can be blamed for bad performance but no one will blame you for bad performance as a tool.

Inspired by: