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Discussing Octane AI with Co-Founder/CMO Ben Parr on the Mobile First Podcast

Discussing Octane AI with Co-Founder/CMO Ben Parr on the Mobile First Podcast

  • Podcast /
  • Product Development /
  • Product Leadership /

Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention (Ep. 46)

Ben Parr is the author of the best-selling book Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention– named the top marketing book of 2015 by Strategy+Business Magazine and Small Business Trends. He is Co-Founder and COO of Octane AI, the CRM for Messenger marketing. He sits on the board of directors of Samasource, the global non-profit dedicated to impact sourcing and giving work and is a member of the advisory board of Lufthansa Airlines. Previously, Parr was a venture capitalist, a columnist and commentator at CNET, and Co-Editor and Editor-at-Large of Mashable. He is a member of the Forbes 30 Under 30.

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Here are the highlights of our conversation with our guest:

  • Ben is passionate about two aspects: solving a complex problem which he has not solved before and creating a scalable solution to that problem. He believes it’s never enough to just solve a problem then move on, what excites him is scaling the solution to the entire planet. He started with this inclination in college and this got crystalized when he became an editor in Mashable. He believes that he has the ability, thus, the responsibility to change the world for the better. It’s part of the reason why he does a lot of the things he does.
  • From editor to VC, to being an author and starting a company, he shares that the rudimentary skillsets needed in each of these roles are the same. It is the switching that’s hard because people can be super focused in one thing and be great at that but when you change roles, your primary focus will shift and you need to exercise those muscles that you have not flexed that much.
  • Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention is a book that Ben has written and he shares that it is a deep dive into the psychology and science of attention. He wrote it because lots of companies come to him for him when it comes to items such as press, marketing, user acquisition that he realized all these areas fall around the same thing, which is attention. Thereby, going deeper in this subject could be helpful. He went through years of research, interviewed about 50 experts to understand the key things which trigger attention, the seven stages of attention and how to capture attention in each of those stages.
  • The seven stages of attention go in the order of how early in the stages of attention they happen:
    1. Automaticity – automatic sensations and how certain colors captivate our attention automatically versus others.
    2. Framing – we use framing to decide which things to pay attention to or not.
    3. Disruption – we pay attention to the things which violate our expectations of the world.
    4. Reward – certain types of rewards and the way they are delivered change the way we behave.
    5. Mysteries – the right kind of storytelling captivate our attention for a lot of psychological reasons.
    6. Acknowledgment – we pay attention to the people and things which pay attention to us and provide us validation, empathy and understanding.
    7. Reputation – triggers our attention based on reputable sources of information, the power of experts, and the power of the crowd.

About Octane AI: Messenger marketing is the new email marketing. Billions of people used messaging apps and if you need to reach the younger demographic, you need a software which could communicate to build campaigns to reach this audience to do all that but it is yet to exist. This is where Octane AI comes in. It’s built as a CRM using bots and AI in order to automatically communicate with customers starting with Facebook Messenger and eventually to other platforms. Their target market is companies and brands which are already established. Octane AI can be used for awareness but it is especially ideal for lead generation and conversation.

Their biggest challenge right now is writing content for conversation. Writing for newsletters or blogs is one thing but writing content for conversation is another. It’s different and you have to script out what you are going to say and what you want your audience to respond. Once you get the hang of it, the possibilities open up so it’s a new thing that we have to learn.

Rapid Fire Questions

  • What is your definition of innovation?

Innovation is creating something new by a new thought process.

  • Would you put more emphasis on the idea or the execution? How would you weigh each of them and why?

Far more on the execution – 90% – 95%. 5%-10% to the idea at best because ideas are less than a dime a dozen. Everyone can come up with an idea, it’s all about execution.

  • What is your biggest learning lesson on your journey so far?

That I am not the center of the universe and the more I let go of that idea, the better a manager, a business person, a human being I become.

  • What is your favorite business book?

Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention by Ben Parr
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Scaling the Unscalable
Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Brad Feld

  • What is your favorite digital resource?


Forward. Digital. Thinking.

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