Brett Berson & Jonah Berger , In Depth

How to lower barriers to change when building and selling products — Jonah Berger’s advice for founders

01 Dec 2022 • 57 min • EN
57 min
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Our guest today is Jonah Berger, a marketing professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the bestselling author of “Contagious” and “Invisible Influence.”  Today we’re chatting about his follow-up book, “The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind.” Founders start companies to change industries and behaviors, but change is hard. Going back to chemistry, Jonah notes that catalysts don't just create change by pushing harder or exerting more energy — they remove or lower the barriers to change. (In the book Jonah offers a helpful framework about 5 specific barriers to change, called REDUCE — which stands for reactance, endowment, distance, uncertainty, and corroborating evidence.) We focus on how founders and leaders can do that in the context of building and selling products. Jonah shares his thoughts on: Whether you truly need to build a 10X better product and why a startup’s biggest competitor is actually inertia.  The role of urgency in selling or getting someone to adopt a product. How to apply the freemium approach in different contexts, like with physical products. Techniques for negotiating price, as well as the role that identity and category creation play in persuasion and product adoption. You can follow Jonah on Twitter at @j1berger. You can email us questions directly at or follow us on Twitter @firstround and @brettberson. 

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