12/09/2019

Rory Sutherland on Alchemy

"Rory Sutherland: Well, I can more or less prove that, in fact, because there was a case where they took a set of railway lines, which had existed for about 25 years and had been called Silver Link Metro. And they made it into a kind of circle, and they called it the Overground, and they added it to the London Underground Map.

Russ Roberts: Oh, nice.

Rory Sutherland: When those lines appeared on the London Underground Map, usage went up by 400% in the first month alone. So, what you've done was absolutely extraordinary, if you think about it. You've created something like three billion pounds' worth of infrastructure, mostly with ink or with the digital equivalent.

And so there is an extraordinary opportunity, I think in many cases, to look at choice architecture, to say at what point is a choice creating--I'll give you a lovely example of this, actually. There's a website called seat61.com, where a man who's more enthusiastic about railways than is strictly healthy gives you advice on how to make rail journeys across Europe. And one of the reasons this website is so vital is because he gives you advice from a human perspective, whereas an algorithm gives you advice where it assumes that time minimization is the greatest objective"