Why did I buy the Wool by Hugh Howey Saturday night sometime after 11pm?

In the tradition of Deb Luneau, who impressed me some six years ago with her customer journey diary, here’s my account of the consumer journey.

We had gone to see the latest Batman. If you follow me on twitter, and open twitter on the weekends, and, have me in a list that you pay attention to, then you knew that I had low expectations going in. And, the movie exceeded my expectations. We got home at around 9pm and ate Thai.

I fired up Netflix at around 11pm. It recommended a movie called ‘Kick-Ass’. Bad choice. What a terrible movie.

The iPad was out by 11:15pm. I checked the usual subreddits. I have them laid out so I can get through the important material in about 15 minutes. Then headed on out to Twitter to see if anybody had caught onto Friday’s developments.

And I started scrolling.

Then I saw something like this:

Augie and I have not met IRL (In Real Life). We may have spoken just once while he was at Forrester. I’ve cited his work in the past – as he’s smart and credible. He’s done some really great work at USAA, which is a line of business I worked briefly on in the past and contains people that I also respect.

Augie is, in Granovetter terms, a weak tie.

The content of his message was relevant. I own paper copies of 1984 and The Road. I don’t care much for The Hunger Games. The content of Augie’s message is relevant.

So, I click to see who this Hugh Howey is. He’s real. And he’s not a douche. Great. I spent all of, maybe, 15 seconds there. I found his use of newspaper in his pic to be very Ossington and amusing. I wanted to know more.

I closed Twitter, opened up Wikipedia, and typed in ‘Wool by Hugh’. It was easily found. I learned that there was a series and that the first book was a short story. I liked that. I didn’t read down the page because of spoilers.

I closed Wikipedia, opened Safari, typed “Amazon Kindle” into the Google Bar in the upper right corner. I’ve trained myself to ignore the Amazon.com or Amazon.ca main pages, as, I haven’t expended the effort of finding the kindle store on either.

I click the link the first Google organic search result link, and, I’m presented with my logged in state at Amazon. Amazon is suggesting a few business books, like something about a leadership checklist. I’m briefly distracted (good job data scientists, good job), and then type in ‘Wool Hugh Howey’. I see there’s an Omnibus. I click on that link and arrive at this purchase page.

I touch the ‘buy now with 1-click’ and have it delivered to my iPad using WhisperSync. I close the browser, open up Kindle, download the book, and I start reading. Kick-Ass is turned off and replaced with a re-run of Saturday Night Live, the one where Wil Ferrel isn’t funny enough to cause me to pay attention to him for longer than 5 seconds. That one.

The first book is read by 12:30am.

It was a great first book.

What a tweest!

Why did I buy?

There’s no single reason, is there?

My environment was a living a room with a dull stimulus. I had an iPad and I was already locked into the Kindle/Amazon environment. I knew Augie and I was following him on Twitter. I have a preference for dystopian fiction. I had several apps installed. I was in a cool buying state, in that I wasn’t in shopping mode.

  • Twitter brought me to Augie.
  • Augie, at the very least, delivered an impression that made me aware of ‘Wool’. 
  • Augie described the book and was conveying an endorsement. It made me consider ‘Wool’.
  • The Wikipedia App informed me that it was a series.
  • Google helped me find the right Amazon store.
  • Amazon highlighted the omnibus.
  • 1-Click enabled me to buy it right then and there, in a dark room, without a physical keyboard or a wallet.
  • It sent my purchase to another app.

It’s a system of reasons.

And it’s not as though any single piece of instrumentation will be wrong in next months reports. There is no join statement that bridges all of those apps and all of that behavior.

I can list a chain of events, preferences, technologies, and relationships. To me, the reason I bought was a system of reasons. There’s nothing singular about it.

Does a system of reasons qualify as an answer to the question?


I’m Christopher Berry.
Follow me @cjpberry
I blog at christopherberry.ca