The Hidden Structure Behind Kanye West’s Brilliant “Association Collapse” Persuasion

“When you embrace both sides of any polarity – bringing a positive and negative charge together – they cancel each other out. You are left with an empty space of unlimited potential.” – Paul Scheele

Kanye West unleashed a brilliant method of getting the idea of him running for President in 2024 in millions of people’s heads.

Because West is a master persuader, I can tell you how it works.

West has posted dozens of tweets over the last few days referencing such ideas as changing, being excited about the future, spreading love, unity, and rethinking perspectives. Some examples:

Reading these tweets evokes the states that Kanye wants people to experience: hope for the future, love, being willing to learn, breaking out of old thought patterns, letting go of fear, how competent Kanye is, and more.

After three days of this – building interest, positive feelings, and media attention – West introduces a powerful symbol: Trump’s red MAGA hat.

For some, that red hat symbolizes the end of American weakness and apologizing, and a return to the competitive optimistic spirit that made America the most powerful nation the world has ever seen. For others, and perhaps for the majority of West’s millions of fans, that hat symbolizes all that they are afraid of: hate, fear, oppression, and racial tensions. And many of them, thanks partially to the Clinton campaign’s persuasion work and to the mainstream media, associate those same feelings to Trump himself.

But West doesn’t just introduce the MAGA hat; he tweets a picture of himself WEARING that hat. This smashes those negative MAGA hat and Trump associations into the same time and space as all those positive states he spent the last 3 days evoking in people: love, openness to new ideas, optimism, learning, and breaking away from old mindsets. Those two sets of associations can’t exist in people’s experience at the same time, so they integrate and cancel each other out, leaving what Scheele above calls the “empty space of unlimited potential.”

And what does West do with that space of unlimited potential? He fills it with this powerful image.

West masterfully executed a classic pattern on a mass scale: he knew most of his fans had negative associations to Donald Trump and to the MAGA cause, and because of those negative associations they were unreceptive to the new ideas West wanted to spread. So West stacked a lot of newly evoked good states and integrated them with the stack of existing negative states to neutralize them, and used the resulting space to create something positive: West for president 2024.

Bonus Persuasion: West’s 2024 slogan “Keep America Great” is a persuasion play on Trump’s mission. It presupposes that Trump will “Make America Great Again,” so that West can inherit that mission and Keep America Great.


Black male approval for Trump doubles in one week.

I am now offering a limited number of persuasion consulting sessions if you see the value of learning how to persuade.

How Not to Be Persuasive on Twitter, Part 1: What Message Are You Really Sending?

Recently, Kanye West created a stir when he retweeted several clips of one of Scott Adams’ periscope videos. This caused a huge amount of cognitive dissonance (i.e. “heads exploding”) in some circles and the anti-right twitter trolls went into overdrive attacking Adams and West.

Some of them screwed it up because they don’t understand persuasion.

For example, take this tweet by Jules Suzdaltsev:

Clearly this is an attempt to ridicule and discredit Adams. But look at the tweet and think about what you experience.

You see a 60+ man with a better physique than 90% of young men these days. Humans, like all social primates, respond unconsciously to displays of dominance because position in the social hierarchy determines mating opportunities. Alphas are particularly considered more credible and worth paying attention to than those lower in status. In the retweeted pictures Adams comes off as physically superior, one type of dominance display (others include displays of talent, wealth, wit, and authority). So by Suzdaltsev retweeting the pictures, Adams’ message of dominance and credibility has now been spread to Suzdaltsev’s 58,000+ followers.

Think about that again: Suzdaltsev got persuaded into spreading Adams’ message, while all the time, thinking that he was making Adams seem weaker.

Who was more persuasive here?


If you came here from Twitter, feel free to go back and like the Twitter post because that lets others know what value you found here.

Why β€œInterface” Is A Persuasive Name For An App

Via Scott Adams I recently learned of a new smart phone app that connects experts and those seeking expertise via live video. The app is named “Interface.” Adams is an investor in the company that makes Interface, and as a master persuader, I think it makes sense that anything he is involved with should have his persuasion fingerprints on it. And it does. Here are four ways the name is persuasive.

1. The app’s name is a verb and a noun at the same time.

You can open up Interface, and you can Interface with someone. This enables the app to occupy more “semantic positions” in people’s speech and in their thoughts. They can think about it, and they can talk about doing it. You can Google at You can tweet on Twitter. You can Interface on Interface.

2. The verb describes in one word what the app does.

Minimal description is required, because the name itself provides a summary of its function. Interfaces connect things. In contrast, does anybody know what Zelle does? Or Bebo (what is that, a jazz music app?) Or Redfin ( … tuna?). A few early apps like Google defined their industries with nonsense words, but the days where that can happen are long gone.

3. The name has an existing usage, and the app’s usage leverages the existing connotation.

Interface is a business term. It is not slang or a nonsense word, or something odd. In the corporate world, people interface with customer liaisons all the time. The app will eventually take on the additional scope of the dictionary word already in use, leading people to think of the app for any interaction that could reasonably be called interfacing.

4. The name of the app has the potential to appropriate the generic term for the entire category of similar functionality.

This works because Interface is, as far as I know, the first app to offer this function, and has the previous three boxes checked. This makes Interface the default app for its function – the one people think of first. The semantic dominance wins market share in people’s minds.

So we can see that Scott did indeed make sure the name of his app was highly persuasive.

How can we use this information?, if you are reading this, you need to start popularizing the term “D-Go” to refer to searching on your site.