The Business of Claque

Imagine that you go to the theater or to the opera, you enjoy the spectacle, you laugh or cry, you applaud and at the end of the show you get paid for your performance as a spectator. This is the business of claque, the business of clapping, claque meaning clap in French. It sounds a bit ridiculous to get paid for being a spectator and enjoying a show but la claque was often employed in the theaters and operas of the nineteen century in order to use the power of social proof to improve the ratings of their performances among spectators. Sometimes, to get some work (and money), claques would employ some underhanded methods like extorting singers and performers: the singer was contacted before the show and advised to pay up or else he/she will be booed off stage.

Business of claque, clapping
Image source: Flickr

The claques were well organized and structured, they were led by a chef de claque, and their members had various specializations: commissaires, commissaries that knew the piece by hart and told their neighbors when a good scene would follow, rieurs – laughers,  pleureurs – criers, they were women usually, chatouilleurs – ticklers, they would go around and tickle people, no, I’m kidding, apparently their role was to keep the audience in good humor and bisseurs, the guys that would enthusiastically shout “Bis! Bis!” after an act.

After the nineteen century, the claquers and their art were discouraged as the adoption of concert etiquette started to spread.

The business of claque was successful due to the effect of social proof (influence) that states that people have the tendency to look at other people for hints on how to behave in a certain context, the more people act and behave in the same way the more correct their behavior seems and the more it influences other people to copy their behavior.

The Man Struck Twice by Lightning

First, we crawl, then we get up, shaking and awkward only to feel the force of gravity and to fall down; there is someone close-by to cheer and encourage us so we try again and again, we fall, we get up and each time we walk a little bit farther. We master walking, it was an odd and novel experience but it’s natural and it’s not something special anymore so we try something else now, we run, we fall a few times and meet our old friend, gravity, but it’s OK, we rise again and again and we master running as well. When running is not enough we try something new and we set new limits to ourselves, we put our limbs and body through the same process or trial and error again and again with learning how to ride a bicycle and learning how to swim.

Then, we are on our own, there are no more persons close-by to catch you when you fall, achieving mastery over gravity makes us think that we achieved mastery over everything but we find soon enough that this is only the beginning. Some people have it easier than others, some people have it harder.

The man: he mastered the art of walking and he is now exercising the art of running. “It’s raining outside but I will go for a run anyway, what can happen to me? There are only a few drops of water pulled down from the sky by my old friend, gravity. I have to run, I have to stay in shape, I want to live better, healthier and longer.” So he goes out for a run in the rain.

Thunderbolt and lightning.

The man struck twice by lightning
Image source: publicdomainpictures.net

The man struck once by lightning: scared, dazed and confused, trying to understand what happened, trying to understand the hurt, adrenaline pumping,  trying to get up. He stumbles, tries walking but he is feeling again like in his first days of walking,  not believing what just happened to him. “Enough running for today!”.

Thunderbolt and lightning.

The man struck twice by lightning: more dead than alive, feeling that the universe suddenly turned against him, that this is it, the day has come, the inevitable day, too soon, too early. “That’s it, my last run. I didn’t expected this day to come this soon”. The life giving force of adrenaline makes him get up again, makes him believe that there is hope left, that there will be another day, that there will be another tomorrow.

The man struck twice by life: he is no longer scared now, no longer confused, he knows that any day can be the Day, he understands now, his runs are full of life.

 

Isn’t this video a great metaphor for life? When you think that you have it all, when you are running, when you feel like nothing can get you and that Death is only somewhere in the distant future…that’s when the unexpected happens and you get struck by life. Some give up and the first strike, some give up at the second strike, some go on and on until the end of their lives, struck again and again by the lightning of life.

Halfway There. Day 50 of the 100 Days of Writing Challenge

My challenge of writing for 100 Days has been quite a ride so far, I wrote 50 posts and about 20000 words, covered various subjects like book reviews, startups, business, self-improvement, history, neuroscience, cryptography, reading lists and haikus.

Word Count plugin, 100 Days of Writing Challenge

I’ve written most of those 20000 words in March, I have quite a lot of posts about 900+ and 1000+ words long. In April however, I started slowing down but I kept going, I “cheated” a bit by creating short cryptography challenges, reading lists with my favorite books and three lines long haikus.  I slowed a bit with writing on my blog because I’m quite busy lately and I’m also questioning if it’s worth writing long, interesting, value adding and time-consuming blog posts because almost nobody reads them.

I hope that you like haikus because long posts or not, I’m determined to finish this challenge even if that means writing most of the next 50 posts as haikus.

I’ve started doing series lately in order to bring more structure and order to my posts; my first posts where about all kinds of subjects, I didn’t do much planning and I din’t knew about what I will write until a few minutes before starting.

The first series that I started doing is about decision making:

How Much Analysis of Outcomes is too Much Analysis?

How Much Analysis of Outcomes is too Much Analysis? Part 2

Rational Inattention

I continued with a series with cryptographic challenges. These little cryptography challenge where fun to make and didn’t took much time to do them, one hour at most, compared to one to three hours for a lengthier post.

Decrypt This Post, Difficulty Level: Easy

Cryptographic Fun With Emojis

Cryptographic Fun No. 3: Deus Vult!

Islands, Pirates and Treasures: Cryptographic Challenge No. 4

The Pharaoh Sails to Orion: Cryptographic Challenge No. 5

Four Brain Cells Cryptography: Les Shadoks

Atomic Cryptography

 

Continued with reading lists:

My Top Fiction Books – Reading List

My Top Books on Startups – Reading List

My Top History Books – Reading List

My Top Marketing Books – Reading List

My Top Mind & Neuroscience Books – Reading List

My Top Business Books – Reading List

My Top Biography & Autobiography Books – Reading List

My Top Psychology Books – Reading List

And then haikus:

Ask the Wind, Ask the Dust – Haiku

Morning Run – Haiku

The Gun Kata – Haiku

Artificial Intelligence – Haiku

La Vie en Rose – Haiku

A Neighborhood Walk in the Spring – Haiku

The Mind – Haiku

#DeleteFacebook – Haiku

Three things that I learned so far:

  1. Somewhere around day 20 I started worrying about running out of subjects to write about. Well, the number of subjects that you can write about is virtually infinite, your only limitation is your imagination and your creativity.
  2. One thing that I do in order to remember about what I want to write is to create a draft post, an empty draft post with nothing in it but the title. At some point I had about 20 or more of such drafts, I still have a lot of drafts waiting to be transformed into full fledged posts.
  3. It’s important to start; this step can also be the hardest. Even if you feel like writing or not, muster enough will to write a title and a paragraph. Most of the time you won’t stop there and continue writing until you finish the post.

French Days, French Immediate Surrender and Hilarity

French Days is the French equivalent of Black Friday. This year is the first edition and it lasts from April 27 to May 1, “les jours imbattables du e-commerce français”, the days with unbeatable prices in the French e-commerce world. Why did they named this event ‘French Days’? I don’t know exactly, seems like an odd choice of naming to me. Is there something nationalistic about buying something online (and products that are not made in your country)?

I wanted to do a little study on how the French do their marketing during this type of event…well, at least, that was my initial intention. What I found instead is hilarity, deceptive practices, complaining and…immediate surrender!

Let’s see the findings.

French Days clowns

This guy tweets about the French copying the Americans but doing it very poorly, the American Black Friday version has -50% to -70% discounts in prices while the French Days version has discounts of 10 Euros…after they increased the prices beforehand. “A band of clowns”.

French Days Immediate Surrender

This one is my favorite. Well played Microsoft Translation, well played. If you are not familiar with the French and surrendering then too bad because the French surrender meme is quite popular.

French Days Huge Discount

Wow, this is a great deal! Old price: 0,01 Euros, new price: 299Euros99. They even have free transportation.

French Days avant et pendant

Before and after: seems that the good folks from Boulanger know how to use the déjà vu effect to increase their sales. Not. Mdr indeed!