Weird patterns

Every time I get on a plane, the same pattern occurs, no matter the company, no matter the duration of the flight, no matter the country. When the plane engine stops, people stand up from their seats in a rush, take the luggage from the cabinets and wait in the corridor. You can't go out until the previous row is cleared, but it seems that people prefer to stand, rather than remain still in their seats.

If you take the metro and don't pay attention, you'll start to accelerate your walking pace. Because some people are in a rush, they increase the rhythm, and individuals around them follow. If a person near you is walking fast, you'll increase your speed as well. It's contagious.

If you drive your car or motorbike in a city like Barcelona, a similar effect occurs. Try to stand still for ~5 seconds in your vehicle when the traffic light is green, and you'll learn some fantastic Spanish swear words. Try to stand still for more than 15 seconds, and you might need to go to the hospital. It's crazy.

When a person stays long hours in the office, someone in the team will follow because they don't want to stay behind. Little by little, team members will follow this pattern like dominoes. Eventually, the whole team will suffer from sticking in the office more than necessary. Then, human resources need to come up with weird solutions like turning off the lights of the building at a certain time to force people to live their lives.

Businesses recognise these patterns and make a profit from them. For example, Black Friday is near, and everyone seems obligated to buy things or, at least, to pay attention to special offers. If your neighbour buys a cheap TV, so do you, no? Good marketing teams are specialists in starting the domino effect. It seems a good strategy for a producer. On the contrary, your best option as a consumer is to remain in your seat and to stand up when the corridor is empty, or be the last one to abandon the plane.

Hi, I'm Erik, an engineer from Barcelona. If you like the post or have any comments, say hi.