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A Convincing Argument

I’m always disagreeing.

I think this might be inevitable. The stuff we agree on is boring, and so the conversation accelerates until it slams into something interesting: a disagreement.

  1. With a neighbour: climate change.
  2. With a family member: basic income.
  3. With a colleague: HBase.
  4. With a friend: messaging software.

I’m not sure where I got this from, but I’ve found a handy–though potentially manipulative–way to advance the conversation:

“What would convince you?”

Suppose we’re arguing about whether to use a blue theme vs. a black theme for a new app. Rather than scattering a bunch of reasons why blue is superior, I ask “What would convince you?” inviting you to tell me exactly which evidence I must present.

You’ll either become convincible by providing concrete problems I must address: “Convince me it won’t get lost in the blue sea of Facebook, Twitter and Inbox. Convince me it will be usable by people who are colorblind. Convince me that blue will strengthen our brand.”

I won’t necessarily be able to address these concerns! Maybe I do the research and discover blue won’t strengthen our brand. But now our disagreement is actionable.

Or you’ll refuse to be convincible by telling me that no evidence will change your mind.

In this case I should stop arguing with you. You’re a stubborn asshole!