Breaking Down Billions S03’s Negotiation and Communication Scenes

Episode 01: Tie Goes to The Runner

00:02:40

Jock and Chuck’s first interaction

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, we see Jock demonstrating value here. Someone with high status is carefree, doesn’t measure their words, puts their feet on the coffee table, does whatever they want. You can see Chuck, on the other side, humble, defensive, because he’s Jock’s subordinate. He may be trying to just sit back and measure him, see who he is. I like how Chuck challenges him in the end, saying “I thought you came from horse country” – a bit of a trap, pointing out the contradiction to gauge how Jock reacts. And he reacts well, not skipping a beat;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Value/Authority/Grace under fire (Jock, being carefree, doing what he wants);

00:07:10

Taylor leading the meeting

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, we see Taylor trying to lead the meeting logically, but we can see that Axe’s shadow is looming here. The people don’t see Taylor with authority yet, which is why Dollar Bill literally says “Why are we doing this without Axe?”. It shows how, when replacing someone, you’ll be judged against them. Anchoring effect. Their initial reference is Axe, and they will always see Taylor through that prism;
    • Also, initially, Taylor is trying to speak logically to them, but they are Dominants, and Dominants only care about what they win, so Taylor makes the bold move to guarantee their bonuses to calm them down. Excellent pivot and exactly their language;
    • Also, I like the paradox intention attitude here. Since everyone is thinking, in the idea dinner, Axe Capital will fail, Taylor wants to not only show up, but be the best. Exactly the only option to reverse course and reverse perceptions;
    • Then, later Taylor guarantees their bonuses. This is future lock-in. Taylor is giving them an advantage right away – the bonus guarantee – in return for them staying. I mean, in this case it’s not locked in, because they are not forced to actually stay, but it’s a way to motivate trust. It’s future motivate-in, if you will;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Influence archetypes (Taylor is speaking to Dominants, focusing on how they win);
    • Anchoring (Everyone has Axe as the initial reference point);
    • Paradox intention (Taylor mentioning they need a shocking idea. Everyone thinks they’re behind, so the only move is to show they are actually ahead of everyone);
    • Future lock-in (Done by Taylor – incomplete, but good enough);

00:08:25

Wendy conducting the session with Axe

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • We see Axe diving into his Dominant personality type. “Whoever wants to stay on payroll won’t ask about the unfreeze”. Defensive and uncomfortable. Not a usual position for Axe, but it’s realistic considering the hit he took. Usually, it would be a pretty radical character shift, but hey, having billions frozen? I’ll allow it;
    • I love Wendy using the Dickens Pattern here (first time this coaching tool shows up in a TV show). I also like how she namedrops Tony Robbins to establish the authority of the technique. She persuades by showing her the nightmare version of the future and the dream version, and the contrast between the two dictates his action. In this case it fails to persuade, but reveals information about something else, which does happen in coaching. Still, excellent try. Realistic coaching;
      • I also like the last part about how Wendy spins this as a return to the office. Yes, they have clarified Axe Capital is the most important thing. But that does that mean, necessarily, a return to the office? Possibly. She’s actively spinning it as that, however;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Defensiveness/Grace under fire (Axe being defensive, and not having grace under fire);
    • Contrast (The Dickens Pattern is all about the contrast between the two futures);
    • Spinning (Wendy spinning Axe caring about Axe Capital as him being needed in the office);

00:19:35

Bach speaking with Axe

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So, in terms of the frozen assets, what Bach is saying is that, the more Axe can hold on, the more he shows that he is not affected by the freeze, and the more likely the government is to unfreeze them. It’s grace under fire. Showing nothing affects you. It’s showing that you can take their best shot and not even flinch;
    • In a way, this can almost be considered the consequence of a threat. Remember that a threat or ultimatum only has value until it’s done. After it’s done, the person has nothing. So we can consider this from the government here. The government threatened to freeze the assets, and now they did, but now… they have nothing left to play. So, if Axe survives this, they have no weapons left;
    • As Bach points out very well, also, the only way to confirm what Chuck did was to confirm what Axe did as a response. There is no way to take one down without taking both. In other words, Axe is equally as screwed as Chuck, in the exact same measure, and he can’t do one thing without this reflecting proportionally on him;
    • We also see, again, Axe in a defensive position. Consistent with his previous character development in the penthouse scene. As a Dominant, he’s losing something, which he hates, and reacts badly to the idea;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Grace under fire (Axe not reacting to the freeze);
    • Threat/Ultimatum (Bach illustrating that, if he survives the freeze, they have nothing else);
    • Influence archetypes (Axe not admitting the idea of losing the license to trade);

00:24:20

Chuck and Wendy talk

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, we see them make up after Chuck took Axe down. Wendy is not bothered by it, because he was honest and did not hide anything. Which is consistent with their history – the time she got most angry was not due to Chuck screwing up anything, it was due to him lying and hiding. In character, and realistic;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Adverse transparency (Chuck admitting he had to take Axe down to Wendy was vulnerable, but she saw it as a sign of trust and they are OK);

00:25:00

Chuck asking Dake to protect Wendy

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • OK, so a great example of standard manipulation here. Lawyer talk. The deal Chuck had with Dake was to protect “his family”, so Chuck exploits that by saying “My wife is also part of my family”;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Standard manipulation (Chuck manipulating the definition of “family” for his ends);

00:30:00

Bryan debrief with his girlfriend

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Bryan doesn’t trust Dake because h’s not imposing the hierarchy. And it does make sense. Bryan comes from a background of extreme truth, of paying your dues. It will seem very fishy for someone to seem so kind and so humble in a position of power. He’s guessing that Dake has something to hide – and he is right. In a way, it’s about incongruency. Dake is not congruent with his position and the prosecution he’s currently making;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Credibility (Dake’s attitude doesn’t seem credible in his position);
    • Congruence (Dake seeming incongruent to Bryan);

00:35:05

Axe telling Bach to go to Bryan

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • Axe is trying to threaten with the possibility of Bryan failing the prosecution. Using the negative potential, in a way. And illustrating loss, in a way. What Bryan will lose if the case fails;
    • I also love that Bach goes to Bryan to say this, as a bluff, but Bryan has an answer more than ready, and he tells him exactly what is not politically supported anymore, but that this is. Great answer and grace under fire;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Potential (Illustrating the negative potential, the consequences of the case failing);
    • Loss (Illustrating everything Bryan will lose if the prosecution fails);
    • Bluffing/Threats (By Bach, failed);
    • Grace under fire (Bryan took the hit without even flinching and gave it back immediately);

00:36:25

Krakow trying to poach Taylor

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Perfect example of social proof here. As he literally says, if Axe wants Taylor, then Krakow wants Taylor too, for the same reasons. Not even hiding it;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Social proof (Taylor validated as fund manager by Axe, making them attractive to Krakow);

00:38:00

Chuck Sr. and Black Jack Foley talking

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • We see here that Foley is on Chuck Jr.’s side because he has potential to be governor, and all the documentation is in order. Chuck asked his father to protecting him with the affidavit, and he used it against his father to secure Foley’s support. Master play, except that he ruined the relationship in the process;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Reciprocity (Foley being transactional);

00:42:50

Bryan debriefing with Dake

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Excellent mention to the Dominant personality type here, again. I like how they are investing in this this season. More mentions to a Dominant personality type in this episode than in the previous seasons altogether. Bryan mentioning that a billionaire has to have a complete and total win, and that everything they do is to consolidate that win. True and true;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Influence archetypes (Dominant);

00:45:45

Wendy talking with Axe

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, Wendy is guiding Axe on where to focus. Alls he says is true. The rational measure here is to give up trading, to stop bleeding money and stop the possible mutinies at Axe Capital. We can also see how this is an identity issue, as Axe identifies as the owner of Axe Capital, but fears losing that if Taylor is running things;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Identity/Value identity contradictions (Axe fearing he will not be considered the head of Axe Capital anymore if Taylor is running things);

00:47:20

Jock and Chuck speaking again

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Again, we see Jock demonstrating his power again. First, by being sarcastic, saying, “I’m so lucky to reach you on the phone”, then forcing Chuck to state he has dropped the cases (intent labeling), and then hanging up on him;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Value/authority (Showing high status by not caring);
    • Intent labeling (Forcing Chuck to kiss the ring and actively say it);

00:48:10

Axe unlocking Lara’s money

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Great example of adverse transparency. Axe didn’t need to unlock Lara’s money, but he does, so she can do whatever she wants with it, and she rewards that trust by staying with her. Great application;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Adverse transparency (Axe didn’t need to unlock her money and let her free, but he does, and she decides to come back to Axe to reward him);

00:49:20

Taylor discussing the IoT idea with Axe

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • As previously mentioned, Axe and Taylor want the shocking idea so that they are everything that the others will talk about for a long time. It’s an anchoring effect. And a highlight. If you do well on that specific point, it doesn’t matter what you do the rest of the year, because you are still riding the high from it;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Anchoring (Axe and Taylor establishing that peak, which is the only thing others will remember);

Episode 02: The Wrong Maria Gonzalez

00:01:50

Axe calling Wendy

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • This is a great example of spinning, although Wendy does it against his influence archetype of a Dominant. She’s saying, and very well, that constraints can be useful, and that this is a different type of freedom;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Spinning (Wendy turning the bug into a feature);

00:06:25

Chuck and Wendy discussing Judge Funt

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, excellent persuasion attempt by Wendy again here. She really is shining this season. She states, and very well, that Funt is not refusing the favor. He’s putting himself in a position to not even be asked. It’s the opposite of intent labeling. Instead of forcing someone to actively state something, you forbid them from stating it, so it never becomes real. It’s also permission manipulation – if it’s never said, Chuck doesn’t have permission to get the favor;
    • What Funt did was also flipping at its best.
  • Techniques Present:
    • Intent labeling (Funt using it in reverse, forcing Chuck to not state it);
    • Permission manipulation (Funt not giving Chuck permission to make the favor real by not stating it);
    • Flipping (Funt was being put in a position to prove himself, so he switched it on Chuck, putting him in a position to prove he had to do the favor);

00:10:05

Wags messing with the new Halls

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • We see Wags challenging them here, and making them prove themselves. I like how they could have flipped this on him, but they were professional and simply gave straight, immediate answers without reacting. Grace under fire. So, when someone puts you in a position to prove yourself, flipping it on them is a way to get power, but another way to get power is to simply give a direct, straight answer and move on;
    • I also like how we have Wags trying to convince Axe next, asking him directly, “So you won’t move the $2B?”, and Axe says, “I understand, let’s leave it at that”;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Grace under fire (The security consultants not reacting to Wags’ provocation);
    • Intent labeling (Wags tries to convince Axe to state he won’t move the money, and he refuses to do it);

00:18:00

Tsunami discussion

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Ben Kim raises a great point here, which is caring for the people. Permission manipulation. He’s not giving himself permission to participate in a trade that exploits people, while other people such as Wags and Taylor allow themselves to do it. They can separate both. I also like how Ayles’s nonprofit works precisely for this purpose – to do some reputation laundering, and therefore, give them permission to do the bad thing, because they heave a counterweight;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Ben Kim not giving himself permission to make a trade that would hurt people, while others do give themselves that permission);

00:19:50

Chuck and DiGiulio’s conversation

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So, what we see with the Charlie name story is presence. Specifically, tension, pressure, intimidation. Chuck Sr. would show teeth and guilt and shame someone anytime they would call him Charlie. Persuading with intimidation;
    • We also see here credibility and authenticity with Chuck. He’s not considering placing DiGiulio on the case a favor, he’s considering it making it fair, because he’s trustworthy and can’t be bought. Maintains intellectual honesty;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Pressure/intimidation/presence (Chuck Sr reacting to the “Charlie” name);
    • Credibility/authority/intellectual honesty (Chuck’s selection of DiGiulio);

00:23:05

Taylor and Wendy speaking

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • As Taylor says very well, in the lack of a track record, people look to the potential. Anchoring effect. Until Taylor makes a loss, they are considered brilliant, but if they book a loss, all that potential and image is immediately smashed. 100% true;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Anchoring/Potential (Taylor cultivated an image of competence at the beginning, and people will contrast future losses with that);

00:31:50

Axe and Taylor’s conversation

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Again, the same anchoring effect pops up. Taylor can’t operate freely, because they are constantly being compared to Axe – both in good and bad ways;
    • I also like how Taylor uses removing exits, specifically illustrating the loss. Saying, “Hey, you can trade… but you can lose it all and go to jail”. Great illustration of loss;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Anchoring (People are used to Axe as CIO, and don’t take Taylor seriously);
    • Loss/Removing exits (Taylor illustrating what Axe would lose if he trades, or its consequences);

00:35:25

Ben Kim pushing the PIPE deal

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, we see Dollar Bill use both pressure (saying, “Is this still the same crappy deal?”) and then using value identity contradictions (saying “This isn’t Axe Capital”) to stop Ben Kim;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Pressure/intimidation (Dollar Bill seeming irritated as soon as Ben Kim mentions the idea);
    • Value identity contradictions (Dollar Bill saying, “this isn’t us”);

00:41:35

Dake calling Jock

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So, we see Jock demonstrating value here again, and on top of that forcing Dake to submit, literally stating “We’ve got the wrong Guad” (intent labeling);
    • We also see spinning here. While Dake spins this as them needing the witness, Jock spins it as a wrongful immigrant being deported;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Intent labeling (Jock forcing Dake to state what he did wrong);
    • Spinning (Jock spinning the deportation as being well done;

00:45:50

Axe and Lara on custody

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So, we see permission manipulation here. Lara is telling Axe that, if he wants, he is officially off the hook and doesn’t need to care about the kids anymore, even without his perception changing;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Lara giving Axe permission to not deal with the kids anymore);

00:47:00

Chuck versus Funt

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So we see Funt both use flipping and identity contradictions. Even though he owes Chuck a favor, he tries to make him prove himself and say, “Is this who you want to be?”, and also implying that Chuck is not that type of person and shouldn’t do this;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Flipping (Funt trying to make Chuck prove himself);
    • Value identity contradiction (Funt implying this is not the type of person Chuck is);

00:50:10

Bryan warning Dake

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Every single thing Bryan says here is true. Chuck did do a favor to Dake, and he will come and collect later. And even if he didn’t do the favor, Chuck would still try to extract favors. This is a great example of manipulating reciprocity. If you give first, you have the other side on the defensive, and they now owe you. You pre-empt the favor trade, if you will;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Reciprocity (Chuck doing Dake the favor);

Episode 03: A Generation Too Late

00:06:40

Axe trying to convince Gomez to invest again

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, first, we have a demonstration of associations here. Axe wants Gomez to invest in all the satellite funds that he is involved with, such as Ionosphere or Victor’s fund, and Gomez says that he can’t because, naturally, people know that Axe is connected to them;
    • We also see, by Gomez, a demonstration of image and reputation of his own. As he mentions, he cannot be associated with even the suspicion of impropriety. Which is why he can’t touch Axe at the moment. Similar to what Mark Cuban did telling Axe, “I don’t want your money”;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Associations (Axe associated with the funds, making them not viable);
    • Image/reputation (Gomez needs to have a pristine reputation, which is why he can’t do it);

00:11:40

Taylor testing the interviewee with the box

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Reasonably);
  • Description:
    • So, this is one of those extravagant interview techniques. I think they are mostly garbage, but a lot of people swear by them. In this case, we have an impossible puzzle, because the folds don’t fit, so it’s a futile exercise. And I guess the goal is to see who realises it, who keeps trying, and who quits. In the end of the episode, Taylor ends up hiring Winston, who thrashed the box out of emotion. So that tells you everything you need to know. But, rant aside, it’s an example of an obstacle or a test. Placing an obstacle in someone’s way and seeing whether they pass the test or not. And, when you have multiple applicants, picking the people who pass the test better;
    • Also, this creates loyalty and persuades. Ironically, things that are higher effort make people feel a sense of accomplishment and actually like it more. Similar to the IKEA effect. If it’s too easy, it’s not worth it. But if it’s hard, you feel pride in doing it, and you’re more persuaded. Same reason why people like me love Dark Souls games;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Obstacles/testing (Forcing the interviewees to do the box puzzle);
    • Effort/initiative (High effort and putting in initiative makes you more loyal);

00:14:30

Bryan convincing Ira

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • I like Ira’s rigidity. Since he is a lawyer, he has his own terms, and he knows what to expect. He wants it taken care of quickly and efficiently so he can step to the next stage of his life, and he also has no expectations about Axe going to jail so he’s not disappointed later;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Rigidity (Ira making his demands)
    • Starting with the negative (Starting with no assumptions acts as a test to get Bryan to promise it will work out);

00:15:15

Jock convincing Chuck to go after Lugo

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Besides the usual high-value behavior, Jock also uses two interesting techniques here. The first is a combination of removing exits and intent labeling. He’s both forcing Chuck to not say “might”, and to promise this will be prosectued. Forcing him to actually state it. And then, he uses a commonality to use the contrast against Chuck. Saying they studied the same law, clerked at the same offices, know the same things, and he knows that this must be prosecuted, so so should Chuck;
    • I also like, how in the end, he uses escalation of commitment. He tells Chuck that, since he already gave up on the cases Jock wanted, now he may as well take up the cases Jock wants with the free time. It’s almost a dark and threatening form of escalation of commitment;
    • And finally, Jock thanks Chuck. It’s both a form of reasserting compliance, but also a persuasion technique – making him feel appreciated so he continues doing him favors;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Removing exits/intent labeling (Jock forcing Chuck to promise it);
    • Identity/common ground (Jock using the common knowledge with Chuck to persuade him);
    • Escalation of commitment (Jock establishing what he has in common with Chuck to persuade him);

00:18:00

Wags trying to demotivate Taylor

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • We see Wags in fear of the quants here, and it’s hilarious. But I love the arsenal of techniques he uses. First, potential and suggestion. “We may as well just cancel”. Then, effort manipulation. Trying to make it seem like hiring a quant is a lot of effort and a lot of steps;
    • And finally, he tries to take away the credibility of the quant approach. “Quant is just another for wild f***ing guess”, and thrashes Moneyball too. Good cocktail, and it would have worked with someone less prepared than Taylor. He also makes fun of the quant interviewee for this, saying he’s “stealing brainwaves like a witch doctor”. Ridicule to take away credibility;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Negative potential and suggestion (May as well not do it, may as well end the interview);
    • Effort manipulation (Hiring, interviews, the systems are a lot of effort);
    • Authority/credibility (Trying to destroy the credibility of the quant system);

00:20:10

Axe trying to convince Ira

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • Axe here is trying something a bit desperate, going after Ira at the coffee shop. We also see Ira extremely angry here, and letting it all out. This is a good example of an empathetic rampdown. Axe is just keeping logical and offering an alternative while Ira is talking more and more about how he is going to screw him up legally. It doesn’t work yet, but with persistence Axe eventually wins him over;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Grace under fire/not reacting (Axe staying logical while Ira is angry);
    • Empathy (Axe is showing understanding of Ira’s conditions, although not emotionally, to calm him down);

00:24:30

Bryan intimidating Axe’s friends from the bar

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Bryan is trying to intimidate here, and I like his style. He’s making it seem like the bar owners are not good enough, and rattling them with this. Although it’s a good try, they have been properly trained, and they don’t cave that easily. Then it’s basically threatening and using the negative potential (“You can be considered the masterminds”). Good bravado, but not good enough in this case;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Identity (He’s attacking their identity and their idea of themselves to rattle them);
    • Grace under fire (They don’t have grace under fire, as they react emotionally, but they still don’t cave);

00:26:40

Axe convincing Panay

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Axe is excellent here. After Wendy’s Dickens Pattern fails with him, it seems now he is the one doing the Dickens Pattern to others. Here, he’s painting the nightmare scenario to Panay. Losing his driver, his charity, board seats, flying private, and then asking him what he would be willing to do to keep it all. And he knows an offer is coming. Flawless execution;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Dickens Pattern/Negative potential (Painting the nightmare scenario and the negative potential);

00:30:10

Taylor and Wags interviewing Winston

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • As Winston says himself, he’s flipping the script. He’s not proving himself to Taylor and Wags, but instead asks them to prove themselves. He has abundance in terms of offers (and also, Axe Capital is probably still pretty toxic). Also, he has offers from Silicon Valley firms, which immediately makes it more realistic that he is so arrogant;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Flipping (Winston flipping the situation on them);
    • Abundance (Winston has options, so he’s carefree and doesn’t care);

00:31:50

Chuck persuading the warden

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Reasonably);
  • Description:
    • So, another example of Chuck using reciprocity. He’s using his specific type of reciprocity where he both makes the promise of the favor if the person agrees, but also the threat of what happens if they don’t agree. Standard Chuck play;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Reciprocity (Favor for a favor);

00:33:45

Axe giving Gomez the burger

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • As Gomez states, it’s anchoring. The first time he ate the burger, he gave Axe money, so now those memories come back. It’s also what we call state-dependent memory – you are more likely to remember something if you are in the same state as you were when you created that memory. But it’s still not enough by itself, and Gomez demands that Panay make the numbers work;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Anchoring (The initial burger experience);

00:36:10

Axe convincing Ira

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Ira caves and Axe goes in. Axe knows Ira is hesitant, so he severs the connection with Chuck by saying he sold him out, and saying he is being more benevolent here;
    • I like how Ira asks if this is just a transaction, and Axe says he knows how to make a deal, and this one is fair. He’s going a bit far in saying it’s fair, without asking Ira his opinion, which can backfire, but he’s being logical, and he’s offering him $30M, so there is some latitude here;
    • I also love how Axe offers him the ring for his wife, which is emotional manipulation at its best. Tugging at the heartstrings;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Removing exits (Axe is removing Ira’s hesitancy of considering Chuck by labeling him as a traitor to Ira);
    • Emotional manipulation (Axe offering him the wedding ring);

00:38:10

Wags during the candidate interview

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, we notice here that Wags’s attitude is completely different. And Taylor picks up on that, giving him a sharp look. Both when the candidate gives a humble answer, and when realises the box doesn’t fit, Wags is not hostile. And considering he was hostile towards the quant idea, and not a specific candidate, Taylor probably picked up something fishy is going on here. So, incongruency in terms of Wags’s attitude;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Congruency (Lack of, in Wags’s case);

00:39:30

Ira deposing, turning on Chuck

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, we see Ira’s statement here, and it’s the perfect catalyst for how the rest of the season will play out. As soon as he says he won’t speak about Axe, but will speak about Chuck, you can see Dake immediately flinch and become uncomfortable, because he’s supposed to protect Chuck. And you can see Bryan’s eyes immediately light up, because he has zero tolerance for corruption and has already gone after Chuck before. It’s funny, because there are no explicit persuasion techniques here, but the effect is brilliant. I mean, I guess there is a persuasion technique, which is identification – he’s telling one of them exactly what he wants to hear, and the other one exactly what he does not want to hear;
    • In the conversation between Bryan and Dake afterwards, we also see some spinning. I love how each has their own motivations, and they draw lessons based on it. Dake is defending they have to take the loss and it’s about Axe, and even about loyalty, while Bryan is defending it’s about good and bad;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Spinning (Each one drawing lessons from their own motivations);

00:42:30

Bryan beating up Axe’s bar owner friends

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, typical case of permission manipulation here. Bryan is feeling like he’s not achieving anything, so he punches the guy to feel like he’s doing something. Catharsis;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Bryan giving himself permission to feel like he’s doing something);

00:44:40

Wags and Taylor debrief on quants

  • Is It Realistic: N/A;
  • Description:
    • So, no persuasion here, but some very rich cognitive biases at work. Wags drew the lesson the quant was the problem, while Taylor clarifies there were many other factors at work. This happens in life. We anchor emotions to specific causes, which may not even be the cause, and then fear them. Same reason why people arrive home from work angry, associate it with their spouse, and soon enough they can’t stand each other, when in reality they are associating two things that had nothing to do with each other;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Motivated reasoning/confirmation bias;

00:48:40

Jock forcing Chuck to prosecute

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • This is a great example of a persuasion technique backfiring. So, just like Bryan in the first season, Chuck is trying a kikashi here, forcing Jock and catching him off-guard with an aggressive move. However, all persuasion techniques have ramifications, and in this case, exposing the injustice towards a minority inflames the public, but it also inflames the extremists on the other side of it in the opposite direction. This is an example of polarisation and how both groups become more and more divided;
    • To be fair, I think this was not very realistic, and a complete misstep by Chuck. He knew, from the get go, that Jock doesn’t care about political correctness, or about the public’s opinion. I think a political angle would be much more effective. But hey, maybe they were desperate, or maybe they underestimated Jock’s aggressiveness and disregard for the public;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Pressure/intimidation (Specifically, how it fails and its consequences);

00:53:50

Axe and the team blackmailing Panay

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • First, intent labeling. Forcing Panay to sign the documents with his participation explicitly laid out. Bulletproof air cover. I like how, however, Axe still gives him the option to get out at this point. I mean, he knows he’s desperate, but he still gives him the option. Classy;
    • The only reason why I don’t consider this very realistic is because Axe is actually being… very kind. He only gets half of the profits? When in reality, he was the one to get him the money and Gomez as the investor? Panay is getting half of the full profits just to be a decoy? On top of that, Axe is only taking half of that, because the other half goes to Gomez. I would think Axe would take more, such as when he took almost everything from Ionosphere just to exist. Anyway, seems too kind;
    • I love how he finishes with the explicit declaration, too. He asks Panay, “Are you in?” two times until he nods;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Intent labeling (Making Panay sign);
    • Pressure/intimidation (Blackmail with the documents);

Episode 04: Hell of a Ride

00:01:30

Dake and Bryan proffer session with Chuck Sr.

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Basic case of permission manipulation. The lawyer only gives Chuck Sr. permission to speak once he has immunity. After that, full permission to speak
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Lawyer only lets Chuck Sr. give information once he has immunity);

00:07:05

Oscar meets Axe

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Another case of permission manipulation. Very present in charities. You give to give yourself permission to feel good about yourself. And to give the public permission to accept you despite wrongdoings. Literally how reputation laundering works nowadays;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Giving allows the rich – and the public – to feel good about it);

00:11:05

Bryan approaches Chuck Sr.

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • As Chuck Sr. mentions, himself, it’s all about distraction. Catch the person off-guard, and they will be off their game. But Chuck Sr. is prepared against it, and it doesn’t work;
    • I also like how Chuck Sr. uses the opposite of intent labeling. That is, he says exactly what Bryan wants to hear, but without committing to a single thing. “Maybe I am tired of his moves. Maybe I want to take him down”. Opens the door without actually committing to anything;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Physiological priming (Distraction to make the person caught off-guard);
    • Intent labeling (Opposite of it – Chuck Sr. speaking without saying a thing explicitly);

00:13:05

Wags speaking with Axe

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Great example of presence by Wags here. He asks for Axe’s ninjas to find out something, Axe says they’re occupied with something else, and Wags doesn’t react and just looks at him. He wasn’t aggressive, he was just present and didn’t react. Great example of being present with someone who is richer, more powerful, your boss, and still not reacting;
    • Also, Wags uses a bit of emotional manipulation here. Almost showing Axe the puppy dog eyes, quiet, in silence, almost pouting. It’s both not reacting, but almost pouting at the same time;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Presence (By Wags, in the face of Axe’s rejection);
    • Emotional manipulation (By Wags, indirectly asking for compassion or even mercy by Axe);

00:14:20

Taylor and Mafee on Heidecker

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Everything Taylor says is true. If the person has charisma, they will get away with brutal things and people won’t bat an eye. Steve Jobs and Elon Musk in the real world. The charisma is a distraction, and it gives people a reason to like them. Permission manipulation and emotional manipulation combined into one;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (The charisma gives people an excuse to like the person);
    • Emotional manipulation (The good emotions people feel make them feel good about the person);

00:15:05

Wags introducing the Axe Foundation to Taylor

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Excellent example of escalation of commitment here. Wags couldn’t just put the solar tent project in front of Taylor, because it would seem fishy. So he organises a full giving charity drive, to just introduce the foundation, and when Taylor rebukes his advance, he suggests to set up a meeting. Since the charity drive is for everyone, it doesn’t seem like he is singling out Taylor, and now it seems like the meeting is based on what Taylor said. Excellent misdirect – but I do get the feeling Taylor will notice the set-up later;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Face in the door technique/contrast/escalation of commitment (Getting rejected an initial favor makes Wags convince Taylor to the meeting, or seeing it the opposite way, the initial giving leads Taylor to be open to the meeting later);

00:19:50

Wags versus Nussfaur

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • Wags comes in and catches him off-guard, pretending it’s a consultation. Then he comes with a suggestion for an alternative burial plot. I dislike this combination, to be honest. Catching the person off-guard is good, but you also risk, as Nussfaur mentions, it being adversarial. Because, if your goal is a fair deal, why would you take advantage of the other side and catch them in a position of weakness?;
    • He also doesn’t ask for his opinion or what can be done. He comes in with a deal ready – which is a veiled threat. Seems pushy and makes the other side feel controlled. Bad move;
    • We also have value here. Nussfaur doesn’t care about Wags. he’s cutting his nails, doesn’t react to his threats, and just doesn’t care. Showing abundance and evolutionary value;
    • The good thing Wags did was show the giving with a sacrifice. Saying he did all of this work to get it done. He’s showing that he already took the effort, and invested in this to make it work;
    • Wags also provides a justification for why he wants the plot, which is also a good persuasion technique, but not enough to move someone who doesn’t care;
    • Later, we also find out that Nussfaur was bluffing, and being outed with the mistress does in fact hurt him. So it was just bravado. It’s a good lesson about the consequences of bluffing if someone calls your bluff;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Physiological priming (Wags catching him off-guard);
    • Threats/intimidation (By Wags);
    • Abundance/value (By Nussfaur);
    • Giving with a sacrifice (By Wags);
    • Justifications (By Wags);

00:22:05

Axe and the board member

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • What Axe points out about the culture is real. They do nothing, and just take the benefits, while he is someone who is focused on work, efficiency, optimisation, and the two don’t gel. It goes against their values and identification;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Identification (Negatively – Axe going against the board’s identity and values);

00:24:40

Chuck Jr. giving the speech for Chuck Sr.

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • Basic technique – flattery. Especially, public flattery. But it’s a misstep here. Chuck Sr., much like Axe, is a hardcore Dominant, and only cares about domination, winning, destroying others. Showing vulnerability is not the way to convince him. In fact, he probably respects Chuck for what he did to him, despite being sore, and Chuck should convince him with another big win, possibly one that helps him. Good technique, exactly wrong target;
    • Also, for someone who has been spot-on in the past season, Wendy fails miserably by not telling Chuck this is exactly the wrong technique to use;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Flattery (By Chuck Jr.);
    • Influence Archetypes (Chuck Jr. not speaking to a Dominant);

00:32:05

Bryan convincing Dake to go after Chuck Sr.

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So, Bryan is using progress and loss by using the usual TV show technique of asking permission to do something that he has already done. So the person can’t take it away, or they will be actively stopping it. It’s already in motion. He also uses intent labeling, by telling Dake that, if he wants to prevent it, he should deny it in writing explicitly;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Progress and loss (Bryan hs already started the process of going after Chuck, so Dake has to stop it, not start it);
    • Intent labeling (Bryan asking Dake to explicitly deny it if he wants to);

00:32:50

Chuck and Wendy conversation on the cheating

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, we see that Chuck is happy to not go deeper into the subject or seek punishment. When Wendy asks why, Chuck says that, at the time, it leveled him, but everything’s been fixed since. In other words, it’s permission manipulation. He already went through the process, and already came out the other side, so it’s done. He checked the box. So that need is fulfilled;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Chuck has already given himself permission to put it behind him);

00:37:20

Chuck and Foley’s conversation

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • I love how Chuck goes in with a bit of emotional manipulation, with those puppy eyes, and asking Foley for help. And he frames his loss as Foley’s loss in terms of losing the governor. So Foley comes in with a way to help. It’s a weird technique that I didn’t see Chuck use yet. I thought he would be transactional and just ask Foley for a favor or give him something in return. Pretty out of character, but he is desperate. Hmm. I don’t know;
    • By asking for a favor, Chuck also flatters Foley. As they say, one of the best ways to honor someone is not do a favor, it’s to ask one;
    • In terms of the consequences of this later, it’s very interesting. Chuck uses Foley and Scolari to screw Chuck Sr., by taking away the casino from his land (which, in turn, he took from Axe), and Chuck Sr. values it. It’s a domination move, and this is what makes him proud. He even insults Bryan to his face when Bryan admits emotion, saying “only fortitude will get it done”;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Emotional manipulation (Chuck getting Foley to have mercy or pity on him);
    • Association (By lumping Foley and Chuck together, he rallies him to action. A common enemy);
    • Flattery (Chuck asking for a favor flatters Foley);
    • Influence Archetype (Finally a move playing to Chuck Sr.’s personality);

00:43:35

Axe attacking Oscar to support him

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Axe uses a very simple, yet effective technique here. He attacks Oscar, and since he is hated, the board supports it. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. I also like how he uses the identity of the board against them. The more he dares them, the more they go against them;
    • It’s also contrast, as Oscar himself mentions. They hate Axe so much that, by contrast with Oscar, they don’t even realise they hate Oscar;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Identity (By attacking their identity, Axe convinces them to take the opposite action);
    • Perceived contrast (Their ill-will against Axe is so big that the one against Oscar seems small);

Episode 05: Flaw in the Death Star

00:01:15

Dollar Bill connecting with the scientist for information

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Here we see Dollar Bill be a complete chameleon, as he was in the past with the farmers, to obtain inside information for a trade. He uses empathy, pretends to connect, on top of the bribe, in order to get the information. It’s a personal touch on top of something that would otherwise be transactional;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Empathy/identification (Connecting with the other person by understanding them);
    • Reciprocity (Bribing the people for the information);

00:03:45

Dake pressing Bryan

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • When Dake says, “Failure is becoming a common refrain with you, don’t let it become your anthem”, he’s using a value identity contradiction. He’s using Bryan’s identity against him;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Value identity contradictions (Dake using Bryan’s identity against him to persuade him);

00:07:55

Dolar Bill convincing Taylor

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmmm;
  • Description:
    • I see what Taylor says. Dollar Bill says “libtards” to provoke an emotional reaction in Taylor, which will make them realise it and overcompensate. Using contrast to persuade. To be honest, I don’t like this specific execution, I don’t see it working, and I also don’t see Dollar Bill using this sophisticated technique. Nope. This one doesn’t pass the test for me;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Identity (Supposedly Dollar Bill using Taylor’s identity against them so they react the way they want. I’m not sure this would work);

00:09:40

Axe pressuring Dr. Gilbert

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • OK, so we’re back to realistic here. Axe is using reciprocity and association to tie Dr. Gilbert to him. By making him a favor or paying him off, they are in bed together. Or, maybe they already are, but this would consolidate it. Gilbert refuses;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Reciprocity and association (Axe aims to trade favors with Dr. Gilbert and associate himself with him);

00:10:05

Chuck convincing Walter to get the doctor’s name

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, some things of note here. Chuck uses the information about Axe to turn Walter against Axe and get him to give up the doctor – he doesn’t willingly, but he reveals he’s the oncologist, and reveals he is a donor;
    • Also, Walter reveals that the doctor gave to Donnie’s school, was at the funeral, and helped him. This is pure permission manipulation. Dr. Gilbert probably felt bad about letting Donnie die, so he tried to make other things to make up for it or alleviate his guilt. Like cheating partners giving big gifts;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Associations (Chuck is trying to break Axe’s positive association with Walter so he turns on him);
    • Permission manipulation (Dr. Gilbert helping Donnie’s family after letting him die);

00:14:55

Dollar Bill coming to Spyros to authorise the trade

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I love how Dollar Bill has to come to Spyros for validation. He’s coming to his office, he’s waiting until he finishes making his coffee. He’s playing on his turf. And on top of that, Spyros is the judge of something Dollar Bill needs validation on. Complete control here;
    • I also dislike Dollar Bill’s aggression here in making this public. No need. He could have waited and gone to Taylor. What was he expecting, that a public humiliation would make compliance suddenly authorise the trade? But this is in character, since Dollar Bill is a pretty intense guy who lets his emotions out;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Home advantage (Spyros meeting in his office, on his terms, and being the judge);

00:16:25

Dollar Bill and Spyros session

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, Wendy’s session here is accurate. They can’t communicate. Wendy’s exercise is good, and it’s permission manipulation. The idea is to let it all out, and once everything has been said, you have permission to move on. The problem is that this only works if the person agrees to let it all out and leave it behind. These two are letting it all out, and coming back for more. You can’t do a catharsis when you have enough material to keep catharting continuously;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Wendy’s exercise, but failed);

00:19:25

Wendy on Chuck and Axe

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • What Wendy says here is 100% accurate. Like Chuck Sr., Chuck Jr. and Axe are both hardcore Dominants. Few words, logical, to the point, humiliate the other side. The key here is that Dominants either love other Dominants or hate them. They love them if they see the dominance in them, but they hate them if they see them as enemies, and if they turn to hate it becomes primal. So every single word she’s saying here is spot on;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Influence archetype (Two Dominants loving each other and turning to hate);

00:21:10

Chuck speaking with Sacker about Boyd

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • In the end, when Chuck tells Kate she already decided, he’s both removing exits, using progress, and using consistency against her. He’s saying she already started helping her, and she has already started doing it, she may as well continue. No use in actively stopping it now;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Removing exits/progress (Chuck telling her she’s already helping her, and she already made the choice);
    • Escalation of commitment (Chuck telling Sacker she already started helping him, she may as well continue);

00:23:50

Chuck persuading Boyd

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I love how Boyd calls Chuck out on his exact persuasion technique. Why is he threatening instead of asking? And this is exactly what Chuck does. The usual reciprocity with the carrot and stick attached. This is what you gain if you help me, this is what you lose if you go against me. True;
    • Boyd also establishes a home advantage, in a way. He’s saying that only once he has what he wants will he give the names for the investigation. This is on his own terms;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Home advantage (Boyd collaborating on his own terms);

00:29:00

Dr. Gilbert negotiating with Axe

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Extremely);
  • Description:
    • I absolutely love how Axe is trying to break Dr. Gilbert by using implementation intention here. Forcing him to go deep on the details. Dr. Gilbert is evasive, and Axe is pressing him to talk about every single step he took. Implementation intention is the perfect technique to break a liar, and this is an excellent representation of it. Possibly the most realistic application of this technique I have ever seen in the media. Bravo;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Implementation intention (Axe focusing on the details of how Dr. Gilbert eliminated the slide);

00:32:00

Spyros complaining about Dollar Bill

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, as much as Spyros is uncool and dislikeable, he is completely right here. This is a perfect example of rigidity. The compliance department is crucial to prevent rogue traders, and the rules must be absolute. He is completely right when he awkwardly says that “Compliance… must be complied with”;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Rigidity (Complete rigidity by Spyros in terms of compliance);

00:33:25

Axe and Wags with Spyros in DANIEL

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I like what Axe and Wags are doing here. They are taking Spyros to an exclusive place. I’m not sure it’s to show respect and honor him, or to show abundance and throw it in his face. I’m assuming it’s a gesture of giving, since Axe then says he’s one of them, and he must be part of the team, etc. So maybe it’s saying, “You are us both in terms of the perks and the responsibilities”;
    • He also uses association. “You are one of us now”. He’s in bed with them, so he can’t threaten them. He is them. He also uses an identity contradiction, saying, “You’re better than that, aren’t you?”;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Giving (Axe doing the gesture for Axe and Wags);
    • Association (Axe saying Spyros is one of them now, so he can’t turn them in);
    • Identity contradiction (Axe to Spyros saying he’s better than that);

00:37:00

Chuck convincing Dr. Gilbert

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I love how Chuck convinces Dr. Gilbert here by simply doing more than others. He made the connection between Donnie and the Ice Juice bacteria, and he lets Dr. Gilbert know that he knows it all. And just that convinces him. Done. No major persuasion technique here except pure effort and going the extra mile;
    • Also, in the end, Dr. Gilbert doing reverse intent labeling, saying “For the record, I know nothing about this”;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Effort/initiative (Chuck convincing him by showing he knows everything);
    • Intent labeling (Dr. Gilbert stating he knows nothing);

00:40:40

Karl and Sacker massaging evidence

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • A great example of spinning and standard manipulation here. Sacker is uncomfortable because they are fabricating evidence, but Karl says that the evidence is real, they are just changing the dates. According to one point of view, it’s one thing. Through another point of view, it’s another. Through two different standards, it’s two different things;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Spinning (Interpreting a thing in two different ways);
    • Standard manipulation (According to two sets of standards, it’s two different things);

00:46:20

Kate versus Bryan in court

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • This is a great play. Chuck and Sacker, instead of giving the Spartan-Yves evidence with the fabricated dates directly, pretend to protect it to lose it in court and pretend to be forced to give it to Bryan. This makes it more legitimate. However, not even this convinces Bryan, since he’s now pretty paranoid. But still, pretty solid technique;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Obstacles/Initiative (Forcing Bryan to have to win to get the evidence makes it seem “earned”);

00:49:35

Bryan trying to convince Boyd

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • I like how Boyd tells Bryan to tell the story and pitch it out, to try and persuade him, and he does look satisfied when Bryan lays out his theory. It’s a way of telling him everything without telling him anything. So, implementation intention in terms of forcing Bryan to make it real and go into details, and negative intent labeling by not saying anything explicitly;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Implementation intention (Boyd telling Bryan to pitch the story in detail);
    • Intent labeling (Negative, Boyd not explicitly saying anything);

00:51:30

Dollar Bill ramming Spyros

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmmm;
  • Description:
    • So, this is exaggerated for show purposes, but it’s good standard manipulation. That is, Dollar Bill was prevented from continuing the fight at work… so he continued it outside work. He did what he wanted while completely obeying the rules;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Standard manipulation (Dollar Bill finding a way to get revenge while complying with what was requested);

00:52:20

Dr. Gilbert negotiating with Axe

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmmm;
  • Description:
    • So, we naturally know that Axe knows that Dr. Gilbert’s ask is a bluff, since he doesn’t want money. But this isn’t realistic because he spoke with Chuck first. I mean, Chuck knows how dangerous Axe is, and he has coached people in other occasions to say the right thing, in the past, so they don’t slip up. This seems like a very unprepared play and out of character for Chuck. Seems like a good mechanism to advance the plot, but not realistic;
  • Techniques Present:
    • None;

Episode 06: The Third Ortolan

00:01:20

Ortolan eating scene

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, just a quick mention here. The covering of the head is pure permission manipulation. Historically, as Wags mentioned, you used the head covering to hide the act from God. So, doing it in private is a good enough excuse to do it. It gives you permission;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (The head covering allowing the execution of the act);

00:03:40

Axe team brainstorm

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Reasonably);
  • Description:
    • I like Bach’s strategy here, which is effectively a bluff to force the other side to show the slide. It’s setting a trap for them;
    • Also notice another small example of permission manipulation. If Wendy comes in, she has to officially be a client of Bach to discuss the situation, as it’s under privilege. They need that for permission;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Physiological priming, distraction/Pressure (Bach setting a trap to provoke the enemy into making a mistake);
    • Permission manipulation (Wendy can only participate if she’s an official client);

00:06:25

Foley and Chuck discussing the introductions

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Reasonably);
  • Description:
    • So, at the start, more permission manipulation. Chuck saying he feels bad about the pig, but doesn’t stop him from doing it. It’s also permission manipulation when Foley says the Axe situation must be squared away before Chuck is supported – it’s a prerequisite;
    • Then, grace under fire. Foley presses Chuck on the marriage and he doesn’t react, maintaining eye contact and looking natural, and Foley reveals it’s a test and compliments him on it;
    • And finally, identification. When Foley says, “You’ve always been a man of purpose, we’ll make you into a man of the people too”, it’s identifying with his constituents to get votes. Identifying with their pains and problems;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Both Chuck mentioning he gives himself permission to do bad things despite feeling bad, and Foley mentioning the Axe issue must be squared away before supporting Chuck);
    • Pressure/grace under fire (Pressure by Foley on the marriage issue, and grace under fire by Chuck);
    • Identification (Foley mentioning that Chuck will become a man of the people, identifying with them);

00:10:00

Dake and Bryan discussing the court appearance

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So, Dake is telling Bryan to, in lack of evidence, simply seem confident. If he acts like he’s guilty, the judge will see it. Fair enough. A lot of courtroom argumentation is about perception. That’s why there are nice suits, people playing the victim, and more. So yes, it’s fair advice, although I’m not sure enough to win the case;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Image/appearance (Dake telling Bryan to behave with confidence to be valued by the judge);

00:10:50

Courtroom argumentation

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • I like Bach’s metaphor at the beginning. Great opening statement, serving as an anchor. He emphasizes what Axe suffered and how little the prosecution ends. I’m betting he’ll repeating this in the end, too, for a nice recency-primacy effect;
    • Bryan, in my opinion, is shooting himself in the foot here, because the contrast is working against him. That is, if he started with nothing and said they made progress, it would be one thing. But he’s saying they were supposed to have a lot of things, but don’t actually have them. This paints a picture of backward progress. It’s using the progress technique… against yourself! Honestly, I expected more from Bryan. Not realistic. Or he’s confused and depressed from switching targets between Axe and Chuck. I’ll grant it may be realistic;
    • I also like how DiGiulio, as he mentions, splits the baby here. He sees the merit in both sides – Axe suffering without proof against him, and Bryan needing time to produce evidence – and arbitrates a solution that allows both sides to win;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Anchoring/primacy effect (Bach starting with a very powerful metaphor);
    • Progress (Bryan using it… in reverse);

00:14:10

Wendy about Taylor being rattled

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I really like this dialogue, and it’s realistic. Taylor is using grace under fire – not overreacting to Axe setting up a public war room in the company – but Wendy knows they may be vulnerable, so she goes to talk to them. They’re both sides of the same coin, and both powerful persuasion techniques. ;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Grace under fire (What Taylor shows in public);
    • Vulnerability (What Taylor shows in private with Wendy);

00:16:30

Axe and Bach debrief on the slide

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • The argument is interesting, but what I love is the perception here. Bach is convinced there is no slide, so he considers Axe to be paranoic, but in reality, Chuck is planning to plant the slide in his home, so he’s not really paranoid – in fact, his added security is probably what prevented Chuck’s operative from planting it. It shows how something can be seen as realistic or not depending on the point of view. Pure spinning/reframing;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Spinning/reframing (From Bach’s point of view, Axe is paranoid, but in reality he is right);

00:19:05

Chuck trying to turn Spyros

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • We see Chuck using his basic attack pattern here. First, trying to discredit Spyros by saying his work must be hard, and that he called Axe a loser previously and is now working for him. And then he threatens Spyros. Both with being involved in the case as a defendant, and the rape topic he has on him;
    • It’s interesting that Spyros’s attitude is completely changed here. Maybe it’s due to the money or the perceived status, but while he was terrified in Season 1, now he’s completely arrogant and in abundance. Shows how high status and value are all perception – if you think you have it, you have it;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Image/authority (Chuck trying to discredit Spyros before doing the favor);
    • Threats/pressure (By Chuck, as usual);
    • Abundance/value (By Spyros, not caring);

00:21:05

Bryan coming to DiGiulio

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • I like the standard manipulation here. That is, DiGiulio himself tells Bryan that, as a litigator, he should find a way to do what he wants while still obeying his order. Gaming the rules given;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Standard manipulation ();

00:23:35

Spyros dropping the “chaos grenade”

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Despite this probably being the most hilarious scene of the season, there are some solid persuasion techniques here. First, naturally permission manipulation, as Spyros can only speak after being retained by Bach. Then, reframing, because by putting the spotlight on Wendy, as he says, Axe is not the focus anymore. And third, funnily enough, is he uses distraction, but without wanting to, against Axe, Wags and Bach, because they are completely caught off-guard when he mentions he already gave the evidence to Bryan. Although this is a bad type of distraction which is not persuasive at all;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Spyros can only talk if he’s retained by Bach);
    • Reframing (Putting Wendy into a corner takes away the focus from Axe);

00:27:35

Axe telling Wendy

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Two simple techniques. Permission manipulation here (when Axe tries to reassure Wendy by saying he will get her the best lawyers, trying to give her permission to feel reassured), and implementation intention, when he asks, “What words do I need to say to make you feel safe?”. Axe has been killing it with the implementation intention. But it shows how, in this case, not even that is enough;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Axe promising Wendy the best lawyers to give her permission to feel safe);
    • Implementation intention (Axe asking Wendy what he needs to say in order for her to feel safe);

00:31:50

Axe and Bach discussing Wendy

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, more implementation here. They are gaming it out. Almost like a trial close, but for Axe turning himself in. How it would work, what time would he get, etc. Making it real, going into details in order to know what to do;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Implementation intention/details/specifics (Axe discussing the specifics with Bach);

00:49:15

Wendy and Foley talking

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I love this conversation, not just because it’s great acting in my opinion, but very subtle in terms of persuasion. Foley is testing her, and she is passing. We see a bit of flattery on both sides, both complimenting each other on their mutual approaches;
    • I also love how Wendy asks him for advice. Basic persuasion principle that the best way to bond with someone is to not do a favor, but ask for one. Flatters the person and bonds with them. I also love his answer in terms of reframing. When there’s no play to be made, you break the stick. Similar to the Suits metaphor of, when someone puts a gun to your head, there are 300 things you can do besides just obeying. Eccellent reframing example;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Flattery (By both Wendy and Foley, both in terms of compliment, but also in terms of Wendy asking him the favor);

00:54:10

Chuck and Axe at loggerheads

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Wendy mediating is extremely realistic. Both are Dominants in terms of influence archetype, hell-bent on humiliating the other and seeming better. Very realistic. And Wendy uses permission manipulation, by literally saying, “I did not give you permission to speak, Axe”;
    • I also love both the adverse transparency and the credibility here. Wendy is forcing both of them to surrender weapons they could use against each other, losing that weapon by building trust in the process, and she builds credibility by being the point of trust between the two;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Influence archetypes (Two Dominants fighting);
    • Permission manipulation (Wendy not giving Axe permission to speak);
    • Adverse transparency (Both surrendering their weapons, including Chuck with the slide);
    • Credibility (Wendy forcing Axe and Chuck to trust each other by using herself as a proxy);

Episode 07: Not You, Mr. Dake

00:01:25

Chuck convincing Dr. Gilbert

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So, the story about the soldiers is interesting, because it’s about effort manipulation and identity at the same time. The general say there is no shame in quitting, but of course there is. They are both making it hard to quit, although possible, so nobody actually does it, and using their identity against them – they all want to serve;
    • Then, Chuck asking Dr. Gilbert if he’s sure is pure intent labeling. Getting him to declare it actively. Also, when he replies with the triage metaphor, it’s permission manipulation. You do what you can, and give yourself permission to not think about the fate of the rest;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Effort manipulation + identity (Sargeants telling soldiers there is no shame in quitting);
    • Intent labeling (Chuck telling Dr. Gilbert he has to be sure);
    • Permission manipulation (Dr. Gilbert telling Chuck you save who you can and not think about the rest);

00:03:45

Chuck, Wendy and Axe negotiating

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • We have an example of spinning here. Connerty can make Wendy’s trade seem like a lot of things depending on context. Her attacking Chuck, her saving Chuck, her helping Axe, her profiting personally, or any combination of these;
    • Then, we have permission manipulation. In a big crime, someone must be thrown under the bus. So they have to find someone to go down;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Spinning/reframing (Wendy’s trade can be made to seem 30 different things);
    • Permission manipulation (The people prosecuting will only feel satisfied when someone goes down for it);

00:08:50

Chuck breaking Dr. Gilbert

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • First, it’s realistic what Dr. Gilbert says. He wants to air it all out to compromise Chuck;
    • I dislike Chuck’s speech here. Too performative, too exaggerated, just to say he’s guilty. Could have saved time and be less dramatic;
  • Techniques Present:
    • None;

00:15:25

Chuck debrief with Karl

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, we see Karl being evasive here. Dake is trying to lure him in, with the liquor bottle, but he’s not able to get information out of him, and it’s pretty funny that Karl not only takes the bottle, but gives him nothing and goes away. Shameless;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Giving/reciprocity (Dake is trying to trigger reciprocity by giving first, but it’s not enough for the task);

00:19:30

Axe testing Mafee

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Great example of both obstacles, testing, and escalation of commitment. Axe is both asking, “If things are harder, can you still be counted on?”, and hinting at Mafee that he wants him to do more than just his usual work;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Obstacles/testing (Axe testing Mafee’s commitment);
    • Escalation of commitment (Axe hinting Mafee must have to do more);

00:27:05

Team discussing Mafee

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • What Bach says in response to Wags is true. Threatening to fire him, and publicly humiliating him may just make him want to get even more revenge;
    • It’s hilarious how Wendy decides that she’s going to use her attraction to manipulate Mafee, when, if we consider that he is a Nurturer, in terms of personality type, then supporting him, giving him things, maybe bonuses, a promotion, and Axe Capital promising they would do everything for him could be a better strategy. And I thought Wendy would know this. Oh well;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Influence archetypes (Mafee being a Nurturer, and them not knowing how to persuade one);

00:28:40

Taylor confronting Wendy

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Exceptional use of value identity contradictions and placing someone’s credibility in check. Taylor is saying she expected Wendy to do her best to help Mafee and not help her interests, as a doctor, and makes Wendy backtrack and hesitate. And then Taylor seals the conversation by telling Wendy the exact expectations they have for her to do the right thing, removing exits. Great combination and persuasion stack;
    • I also like how Taylor is using pressure, physically imposing on Wendy’s space, which is a technique they never used before, and that works even better because it’s out of character;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Value identity contradictions (Taylor putting into question Wendy’s objectivity and fiduciary position);
    • Removing exits (Taylor telling Wendy how they expect her to act);
    • Pressure/intimidation (Taylor physically imposing on Wendy’s space);

00:31:35

Wendy visiting Mafee

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So, we see emotional manipulation. Wendy looking like the victim and baiting Mafee into changing his behavior;
    • We also see Wendy being a big secretive in the end. When he asks, “How bad can it get?”, she waits and only replies later, to deliver with more effect;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Emotional manipulation (Wendy seducing Mafee);
    • Secrecy (Wendy withholding how bad it can get to then deliver it with more effect);

00:50:20

Dake, fired, with Chuck

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • What Dake says here is true. He was manipulated into being promoted into that position, and he was manipulated into failing to prosecute Axelrod, and Chuck’s hands were all over it. And the fact he realised it didn’t change anything. To be honest, maybe his biggest mistake was not deciding. He should have let Bryan attack Chuck from the beginning, or force Bryan to stick to Axe completely. I think his failure to control Bryan was what screwed him. He could have taken down one of the two;
  • Techniques Present:
    • None;

00:52:05

Chuck Jr. giving his father a gift

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So, giving a gift is still not the best way to convince a Dominant. However, this is a gift from a proven athlete that won a competition with it. So it’s a “dominance gift”. I guess if you’re going to give a gift to a Dominant, this is the one to give. Not a bad technique;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Influence archetype (Convincing a Dominant);
    • Giving (Chuck Jr. giving his father the club);

00:54:15

Bach oversharing

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmm;
  • Description:
    • So, it’s funny here that they are in a moment of victory, and Bach overshares, and it’s hilarious, but it’s effective. Him being transparent makes him quirky and a bit more likeable. If nothing else, more memorable than any other lawyer they come across. Good for executive presence;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Transparency (Bach oversharing about his love life);

Episode 08: All The Wilburys

00:02:20

Chuck Sr. and Foley ambushing Chuck and Wendy

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmm;
  • Description:
    • So, basic distraction play here. Catch the person off-guard, and you are much more persuasive. It’s starting to be a staple of this series. But I like how Chuck was not intimidated and says, “get to it”;
    • We also have emotional anchoring here, as Foley himself says, which is a type of association. Heightened emotions at the time of a persuasion attempt anchor those. In other words, Chuck and Wendy will never forget this particular lesson;
    • Despite the good persuasion, not a realistic scene. They had no need to do this. Would they orchestrate breaking into an S&M parlor just to tell Chuck and Wendy Chuck needs to run in an unforgettable manner? There were many other ways to do this. Seems convoluted;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Physiological priming (Distracting them by catching them off-guard);
    • Emotional anchoring/associations (Attaching the lesson to the emotions of the time);

00:07:20

Taylor interrupted by Axe’s arrival

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Very realistic here. Axe is known to be a good boss, with bonuses, exclusive healthcare, and more, and I’m sure the case was very high-profile, so people’s reactions are realistic for this triumphant return. Social proof at its best. Everyone is clapping because everyone else is clapping;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Social proof (Everyone cheering for Axe);

00:09:15

Meeting in Axe’s office

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Axe is a Dominant, so it is not surprising that he wants to dominate more now that he won. Dominants are insatiable and use a victory to fuel the next victory. Nothing new here;
    • It’s also possible this is due to the contrast. That is, under normal conditions, he wouldn’t think of raising capital. But after being prevented to trade for so long, now he has to double down on trading and raising capital to satisfy that urge;
    • I like how he is flipping the script here. They are the buyer, and they decide who they accept money from. It’s a power dynamic, subjugating the other side and making them come to him. The home advantage. I’m not sure that being cleared of legal troubles is enough to raise, though. Especially since they paid a civil fine, which does lock in some guilt. Allocators are flighty. Which Taylor points out;
    • I also like how Wendy is the voice of reason. Axe is going full Dominant, trying to force Wendy to be motivational just to fit his goal, and she clearly says it may not be what is currently needed. But it’s extremely realistic in terms of Axe being a Dominant on a rampage, trying to force others to align with him;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Influence archetypes (Dominant attitude by Axe, and even trying to tell Wendy how to motivate them);
    • Perceived contrast (Axe being prevented from trade making him want it even more);
    • Home advantage/contextual power/abundance (Axe positioned as the buyer, not seller);

00:11:50

Bryan arriving at the Southern District office

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Unsurprisingly, Bryan is a pariah, returning to work for the person he tried to throw under the bus. We see the home advantage here too – Chuck has not given him authorisation yet, and he is on Chuck’s turf, playing by his rules, waiting for him, and being in his space;
    • We also see negative social proof, or exclusion. Nobody wants to be associated with him;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Home advantage (Bryan on Chuck’s turf);
    • Negative social proof/exclusion (Everyone excluding Bryan);

00:12:30

Axe meeting Krakow at his freeport

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, this is extremely realistic, and I love it. Krakow is the sneaky kind, and always was. He cannot be associated with insider trading, so he needs someone to do it for him. maintaining his image and credibility;
    • We also see adverse transparency. He didn’t need to show the credit card, because now Axe has something on him, but he builds trust by doing that;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Image/credibility (Krakow maintaining a pristine image);
    • Adverse transparency (Krakow sharing his vulnerable bank information to earn Axe’s trust);

00:17:15

Axe offering Taylor the car

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmmm;
  • Description:
    • Taylor’s initial questions are very true. Axe is making a change right before raising capital. This is imprudent. Allocators care about long-term performance, and material changes to strategy can even freeze current investments. It’s insane he believes he can raise capital when he just switched strategies. But oh well. TV;
    • I love Taylor’s contrast technique. They say, “I don’t want the car, but I want this instead”, as if a replacement, but then they want the car, too. Good negotiation;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Credibility/reputation (Axe killing his by changing strategies before raising);
    • Contrast (Taylor using the illusion of contrast to get their own book, but then want the car too);

00:18:20

Chuck visiting Sweeney

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Chuck giving Bob Sweeney what he has on him is adverse transparency. He’s giving up what he has on him to earn his trust. Exactly same move as Krakow two scenes ago. Although Chuck is manipulative as hell, so I do not personally believe it is his only copy;
    • He’s also coming to Sweeney, which means he’s on his terrain, which can be a sign of respect;
    • Another small demonstration of adverse transparency. Chuck saying, “There is no move without your information”. He could lie and say he didn’t need Sweeney, but he’s honest and says that he’s crucial. More credibility and trustworthiness to his claim;
    • Then, he offers Sweeney a new favor in return for help with Foley. Usual Chuck reciprocity. I also bet that, if Sweeney didn’t accept this, he would turn to a threat. Usual Chuck;
    • In the end, Sweeney’s also using intent labeling, asking “You swear?”. It’s a demonstration of a code of conduct and a consistency trap;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Adverse transparency (Chuck giving up what he has on him);
    • Home advantage (Chuck coming to him);
    • Reciprocity (Chuck exchanging a favor for another one);
    • Code of conduct/intent labeling (Sweeney asking, “You swear?”);

00:20:40

Axe and Wags firing Spyros

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • So, every scene with Spyros is ridiculous, and the exaggerated pop culture reactions don’t help, but this is an excellent example of an association. Just like startups say they are “The Uber for X”, Spyros could be “The Wilbury of compliance”, which would indicate extreme talent. But Axe and Wags actively say he is NOT a Wilbury at all, indicating he does not have that ineffable combination of wit, cool and credibility;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Association/metaphor (Axe and Wags comparing Spyros to a traveling Wilbury, just to say he is NOT one);

00:22:45

Spyros packing up

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • Another great example of persuasion with Spyros involved (this is a surprising episode). He persuades Dollar Bill and uses the exact persuasion for his identity (dirty play, hidden information, no chance of compromise). He also knows that Dollar Bill is reckless and acts in the moment, so he may want to take advantage of this right here and now. He plants the seed in his mind, even says, “I guess you don’t want to hear about it” as a test (exclusion confirmation), and lets Dollar Bill thirst over it. I am appalled such an effective persuasion stack comes from Spyros;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Identity (Spyros knowing exactly who Dollar Bill is and communicating to that);
    • Exclusion confirmation (“I guess you don’t want to hear about it”);

00:25:50

Axe and Lara having the “smackdown”

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmmmm;
  • Description:
    • OK, so this is ridiculous. Absolutely. I get it that they wanted a pretext for Axe and Lara to fight, but the surprise on the fees is ridiculous. Axe literally says this. It’s in the agreement. If Lara is so worried about what she’s paying, why did she not read the agreement? Lara is seen as an extremely pragmatic and ruthless person. This is completely out of character;
    • I do like Axe reaffirming objectivity and intellectual honesty. He’s saying that this is the cost of having her money there. It’s not up to him, she’s a client like anybody else…. but then he claims he’s being vindictive because she threatened to move with the kids. So wait, did he change the fees or not? Because if the fees were in the agreement, it doesn’t matter whether he’s angry or not, she would always pay the same. Or did he change them? This is confusing as hell. Poor execution;
    • I also love the removal of the association when Lara catches Gordie with Wendy. He calls her “aunt Wendy” and she immediately breaks that association saying “she’s not family”. Labeling manipulation from both ends;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Objectivity/credibility (Axe saying she’s just another client – and then losing that credibility by being vindictive;
    • Labeling manipulation (Gordie calling Wendy “aunt” for proximity, and Lara killing that label for distance);

00:28:55

Chuck firing Bryan

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • This is the most Chuck thing ever. Public humiliation. He’s drawing a boundary, not accepting what Bryan did in attacking him, but taking it one step further and publicly humiliating him;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Rigidity/personal boundaries (By Chuck);
    • Pressure/intimidation (By Chuck)

00:32:10

Taylor confronting Axe on the 2B

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Very in character for Taylor. First, rejecting the natural gas tip. Taylor is losing the opportunity to make profit, but maintaining their credibility due to it. Also, not associating with dirty plays;
    • We also see Axe in his worst Dominant personality. This is very realistic – a billionaire Dominant who just sees an open road ahead of him will want to conquer everything and never be attacked again. Very realistic and the worst of Axe;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Adverse transparency + credibility (Taylor rejecting the natural gas tip);
    • Influence archetypes (Axe at his Dominant worst);

00:35:25

Chuck catching Foley off-guard

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • This is the most Chuck thing ever. The reciprocity whammy of exchanging a favor while you have something on the other person, so that you can help them if they agree, or threaten them if they don’t;
    • I also like how quickly Foley bounces back from this. He compliments Chuck and everything is OK with him. We see him as a very transactional person, logical and rigorous in his approach, and I’m guessing that he’s OK with Chuck leading since he gets something in return;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Reciprocity + pressure/intimidation (Both exchanging favors, Chuck with a threat embedded);

00:38:20

DiGiulio coming to Chuck

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • OK, so a lot to unpack here, and an extremely realistic and well-done scene. Brilliant execution from everyone;
    • They start with transparency. I like how DiGiulio says to just be honest and talk things through openly (I wish half of the people I knew lead conversations this way);
    • I love how DiGiulio gives a justification here. Good for persuasion. He’s not saying “stay US attorney”. He’s saying “stay US attorney because I need your guidance, and without you someone else could attack me”. Tailored justification;
    • He also uses a combination of rigidity and reciprocity. He doesn’t accept Chuck leaving, because of the favor that he did to Chuck in taking the Axelrod case;
    • I finally love how Chuck learned his lesson from Judge Funt and forces him to state the favor directly in the first person. Intent labeling;
    • And finally, I like how Chuck also uses a justification to try and get out of it. Saying, “I have waited for this, I have bled for this”. Great justification in the opposite direction;
    • And, finally, I love how DiGiulio compliments him. It’s both flattery – complimenting someone makes them more likely to do you favors – but also a bit of a consistency trap and removing exits (he’s complimenting Chuck as someone with morals, because someone with morals won’t go back on his word);
    • Then we segue to an excellent career coaching execution from Wendy, clarifying that Chuck’s AG position is much better tailored for him than the political one. Career coaching aside, it’s speaking to the Dominant influence archetype, and using his identity to guide him to stay in that position and not go into politics – identity contradiction;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Transparency (DiGiulio telling them both to speak openly);
    • Justifications (Both DiGiulio and Chuck justifying why they want the things they want);
    • Rigidity + reciprocity (DiGiulio not accepting the favor );
    • Intent labeling (Chuck forcing DiGiulio to state the favor);
    • Flattery/removing exits/identity contradiction (DiGiulio complimenting on Chuck to prevent him from breaking the favor);
    • Influence archetype + identity contradiction (Speaking to the Dominant personality type + stating how politics goes against his personality);

00:43:35

Axe going to Wendy

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Axe coming down from his high here is realistic. He felt like a conqueror for a day, but now it’s not enough as a Dominant. He felt a big win, but it evaporated, and now he’s not winning anymore;
    • I also like how he’s casually challenging Wendy here. Reversed power dynamic. While usually he has a problem and brings it to her, now he’s challenging her, saying, “What have you got for me?”, getting her to say something and come up with something. Good flipping;
    • Also, Wendy naturally claims here that her credibility is now tarnished. Considering that they both colluded to put a doctor in jail and get off scot-free, whatever she recommends now is coming from that prism. The credibility hit is the anchor, and everything that comes after will be filtered by it;
    • In the end, Axe uses both contrast and permission manipulation to convince her. First he says that it’s not a big deal compared to other things in this world. Then, he tells her that she needs to do something in order to take back control – in other words, to do something that gives her permission to move on;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Influence archetypes (Dominant disappointed he’s not dominating anymore);
    • Testing/flipping (Axe not coming to Wendy with something, but instead challenging her to suggest something herself);
    • Credibility/authority/image/anchoring (Wendy’s credibility taking a hit);
    • Perceived contrast + permission manipulation (Axe saying it’s not a big deal compared to other things, and telling her to do something to give her permission);

00:45:45

Dollar Bill bringing Spyros to Axe

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • First, we see Spyros waiting outside the room. It’s a sign of deferring to Axe and Wags, and a great contrast to him barging through the door the previous time with his “chaos grenade”. It’s also the home advantage – he has to come to Axe and Wags on their territory, not them coming to him;
    • Then, Dollar Bill using adverse transparency. Saying, “I was hasty and wrong”. Cements his credibility as someone who can admit a mistake. Of course it’s for profit in this case, but hey, he could present Spyros and not even admit he was rash. So this is credible. And in-character, seeming Dollar Bill is very direct and down to earth;
  • Techniques Present:
    • The home advantage (Spyros waiting outside);
    • Adverse transparency (Dollar Bill saying he was too rash);

00:47:45

Axe negotiating with Lara

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Extremely);
  • Description:
    • So, excellent persuasion stack here by Bobby. Perceived contrast with future lock-in. Masterful. First he says, “It may not seem much, but it’s better than I do for everyone else”, which immediately makes it seem exceptional, and then, it’s in return for a 7-year contract. Excellent strategy;
    • Axe also uses unexpected rigidity, saying, “Oh, one more thing, the kids aren’t going anywhere for 7 years either”. And Lara hits back to lower the fees to 1 and 10. Realistic on both sides, Axe as dominating and Lara as pragmatic;
    • And finally, Axe uses pressure/perceived scarcity to force her to sign right then and there, so that she doesn’t have the time to think it over later. He usually doesn’t do this, so I am surprised, but maybe he’s emotional due to the boys. I honestly don’t know;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Perceived contrast (“May not seem like much, but it’s better than what I do for anyone else”);
    • Future lock-in (It’s in return for a 7-year lockup);
    • Unexpected rigidity (Axe saying, “And one more thing”);
    • Pressure/scarcity/limited access (Axe forcing her to sign right then and there);

00:53:15

Axe and Taylor gauging who gives up first

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Extremely);
  • Description:
    • This power dynamic is superbly well done. Axe and Taylor are both proving they are the one who stays at the office the longest, which in a way is a statement that they are the better CIO than the other. Axe doing it in a Dominant matter, asking “Hey, when are you going back home?”, and Taylor in their style, subtly hinting at the illegal gas move and indifferent, continuing to do their stuff;
    • In a way, it’s almost a home advantage reversed. Both are fighting for the office, and both trying to show that they are in their terrain, and other is a visitor. Axe does not have the edge here, I confess, since he pretty much has nothing to do;
    • The final moment, of Axe not meeting their kids just to stay at work and show Taylor he’s more persistent is 100% realistic as a Dominant. He only cares about strength and dominating, and he will let his kids wither if he manages to assert his power at something while doing it;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Power dynamic (Who is proving themselves, who is more persistent, who “belongs” there);
    • The home advantage (Used in an original manner – same terrain for both, and both trying to prove whose terrain it is);

00:55:15

Wendy getting the jump on Chuck Sr.

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Wendy, like Chuck appointing Bob Sweeney as Governor, is paying back Chuck Sr. and Foley in the same style, catching them off-guard and telling them how they are going to play this. It’s both reciprocity in terms of the attack, and evening the power dynamic, putting them at the same level;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Reciprocity (Countering an attack with an attack);
    • Neutralising advantages (Wendy and Chuck showing Foley/Chuck Sr. that they have the same power);

Episode 09: Icebreaker

00:01:30

Jock forcing Chuck to come on the hunt

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Two simple and quick techniques – home advantage (Jock forcing Chuck to come to him and accompany him on his task) and effort manipulation (Chuck asking, “Do I really need to come?” to make it seem like a lot of effort – although this one is useless, as he’s literally already there);
    • We also have a comparison/metaphor here. Jock uses the brutality of the coyote kill to tell Chuck to behave just like that in prosecution;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Home advantage (Jock making Chuck come to him and do his activity);
    • Effort manipulation (Chuck making it seem like he doesn’t need to be there);
    • Comparison/metaphor (Killing the coyote compared to Chuck’s attitude prosecuting)

00:04:10

Hall briefing Axe on Andolov

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Extremely);
  • Description:
    • So, Hall orchestrated this to make Axe be aware of what Grigor Andolov represents. It’s adverse transparency, and obstacle/test, negative anchoring, and challenging the “yes”. You show the person the worst parts, and ask them if they are still in;. This ensures they know what they’re getting themselves into;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Adverse transparency/obstacles and testing/negative anchoring/challenging the yes (Hall showing Axe the negative parts of Andolov so he knows what he’s getting himself into);

00:06:10

Chuck and Sacker

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Extremely);
  • Description:
    • Two simple techniques here. Credibility and rigidity by Sacker. Despite hating it, she is doing her job, and she does not let the unfairness of the situation change that. Then, we see standard manipulation and permission manipulation both here. In terms of standard manipulation, it’s about the plea. That is, for the same crime, you can select how aggressive of a conviction you want to pursue, and they are selecting a lower quantity of jail time for the same conviction. Gaming the rules for a good reason. And it’s permission manipulation in terms of satisfying the right-wing people. including the AG – do the least possible just to say you convicted the guy, and they will leave it at that;
    • We also have a second, much smaller example of permission manipulation here, which is Sacker getting it out of her system, as Chuck says. Until you let it out, something will be bothering you and cooking in your mind. But after you let it out, you’re done. It’s what Chuck says here. She lets out all her rage and disappointment, and now she has a clear mind to keep going. There are personal development exercises which are literally this – you let out all your excuses, problems, rage for 30 seconds, and then you’re done with them forever. Also similar to the Spyros/Dollar Bill exercise Wendy tried, except in their case it failed;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Credibility/rigidity (Despite hating it, Sacker does her job, and thoroughly with no change);
    • Standard manipulation (Actively selecting one out of possible different convictions for the same crime);
    • Permission manipulation (Checking the box with the right-wing people. Convicting just to get it over with and move on);

00:08:35

Dollar Bill confronting Bonnie

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • OK, so two great examples of components of presence here. One excellent, one disastrous. The first is grace under fire, or complete lack of it by Dollar Bill. His dollar is missing, and he freaks out. He is completely rattled, and does not hide it;
    • Then, Bonnie drawing a boundary and not taking crap from Dollar Bill, and telling him she’s going to beat him up if he takes one more step towards her. And in her case, with complete calm;
    • The contrast between the two is excellent. You both have two people who are not accepting something and being aggressive about it, but while Dollar Bill has zero calm and is completely affected, Bonnie is aggressive while completely calm and confident;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Grace under fire (Complete lack of it by Dollar Bill);
    • Personal boundaries/showing teeth (By both Dollar Bill and Bonnie, but better demonstrated by Bonnie);

00:09:50

Axe and Taylor squeezing Spartan-Yves

  • Is It Realistic: Nope;
  • Description:
    • OK, so the scene here is extremely unrealistic. But I’m not sure if it’s due to lack of knowledge, or due to Axe himself being delusional. So, $20B is a gigantic quantity of money, for the top of the tops of hedge funds. Only funds with institutional-quality operations and history raise this, and even then, they don’t raise it just like that. And, as the Spartan-Yves person says, raising this from institutions in a record timing, after a conviction, is simply impossible. So, raising a record amount of capital is already hard, and raising a record amount of capital after being convicted is practically impossible. It’s ridiculous;
      • So, either Axe is delusional, or this scene was very badly written. I think not even Axe is that delusional – he knows how much he can squeeze, and he knows when things are ridiculous. I think this was created to show exaggeration, and to be a little Hollywood, but zero realism here. I’m also appalled Taylor, with all their knowledge, doesn’t realise this. They’ve never been on a raise, but they’re not stupid either;
    • Anyways, as for techniques, removing exits. And rigidity, too. The guy says he will generate some ideas, and Axe does not accept it, and says that only generating money is accepted, and then he can pay for ideas;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Removing exits/rigidity (Axe not accepting the Spartan-Yves person saying he’ll generate ideas);

00:12:20

Axe meeting Andolov

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmm;
  • Description:
    • This is one weird interaction. I don’t know what to think of it. OK, so first, we see Axe proving himself. He seems a bit desperate. When Andolov talks about survival, Axe proves himself and says, “I know that better than anyone else on Wall Street”. And later he says, “Why don’t you cancel all your meetings with the candy-asses?”;
    • We see an interesting identity play here. Andolov identifies as a ruthless survivor, a dominator, and Axe identifies with him, stating he’s one too, and labels the other fund managers as the opposite, too soft, to bring them together and create a “we against the world” dynamic;
    • We also see Andolov showing his abundance here. He literally tells him, “Maybe I want to pick other people, or maybe I want to pick you but I want to make you work for it”. He’s pressing his advantage;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Abundance and testing (Andolov testing Axe);
    • Pressure (Not in an intimidating way, but almost in a desperate way, by Axe);
    • Identity and labeling manipulation (Axe and Andolov as survivors, ruthless, others as “candy-asses”);

00:15:20

Taylor blowing up the pitch

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • As Axe later mentions, we see Taylor bombing the meeting on purpose so they don’t take the dirty money. This is an aggressive move by Taylor, which backfires, and is probably part of their fight with Axe over who is really the CIO of Axe Capital, which is still unresolved by this stage;
    • When Axe confronts Taylor, we also see some good grace under fire. Axe tells them he made the decision without them, and Taylor just says “I see”. Zero reaction;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Identity (Taylor using Andolov’s identity to make the investment repel him);
    • Grace under fire (By Taylor against Axe);

00:17:15

Sacker and Chuck on Lugo’s death

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I like how Chuck tries to exclude Sacker. He says “Don’t read the death report, I will”. He’s trying to give her permission to steer clear of the darkness and not let it affect her. But Sacker feels strongly about it, so she wants to be involved, and doesn’t want permission to be excluded. She wants to be it in it;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Chuck giving Sacker permission to have peace of mind, but her rejecting it);

00:19:20

Axe and Andolov at Axe’s house

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Andolov’s rationale is an interesting one. Intent labeling in use. He’s thinking Axe wants to leave, but does not have the courage to cancel, so he blows it up on purpose so Andolov has to cancel. In other words, leaving without explicitly saying it. Not what happened, but a good theory;
    • Then, we see both adverse transparency and showing teeth. Axe is inviting Andolov, who is extremely dangerous, to his house, as a gesture of vulnerability and trust, which he states himself, but then Axe draws a boundary about mentioning his kids;
    • Also, a good identity contradiction here. Andolov had previously said “however you get there”, and Axe is making it seem like this is a weak statement, not a strong one, and using it to get Andolov to prove himself. He’s turning the situation on him. It goes from Axe being weak to Andolov being weak. Good advantage neutralisation;
    • In the end, when Andolov mentions he can compel trust, he wants influence instead, it’s him still proving Axe. Pretty much saying he needs to make sure Axe has power, otherwise he’s not worth his time;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Intent labeling (Andolov claiming Axe wants to quit but doesn’t want to explicitly state it);
    • Adverse transparency (Axe inviting Andolov to his house);
    • Personal boundaries/showing teeth (Axe when Andolov mentions his kills);
    • Identity contradictions/neutralising advantages (Axe making it about Andolov’s weakness, not his own);

00:23:05

Wags telling Taylor a story

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmmmm;
  • Description:
    • Axe telling Wags not to do it seems realistic. He’s maintaining intellectual honesty. He’s risking Wags becoming angry at the cost of telling him the truth. Also, Axe doesn’t really care, so, realistic for sure;
    • I don’t like this final part. Yes, granted that it seems that Axe is making the moves out of desperation – we saw him proving himself to Igor, which we never saw before. However, the part where he claims that Taylor doesn’t understand him just because they haven’t gotten to that level yet seems like BS. In personal development, we actually say this a lot. You can’t take others where you haven’t been yourself. But can you apply it in this context? He’s pretty much saying that Taylor doesn’t understand Axe onboarding criminals because Taylor hasn’t done it yet, but will naturally as part of their journey. Maybe. But it sounds weird. Can’t put my finger on it;
    • In terms of persuasion, pure spinning/reframing, Wags is spinning Taylor’s lack of understanding as their issue, and not Axe’s issue;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Intellectual honesty by Axe (In the story, telling Wags not to marry the woman);
    • Spinning/reframing (Wags reframing Taylor’s lack of understanding as their issue, not Axe’s);

00:24:45

Sacker and Bryan

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Pure permission manipulation/removing exits in the end. Bryan knows that Sacker wants to be reassured, that she wants to feel like it’s OK and it’s not her fault, and he is saying that whatever it is that she needs in order to feel well, Bryan is not going to give it to her. Removing her license;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation/removing exits (Bryan saying he won’t give Sacker permission to feel well, which she is seeking);

00:27:50

Bryan interviewing

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • Great example of adverse transparency. And great storytelling at it. Bryan’s retelling of Pi is precisely him admitting that he was wrong. To be honest, I think this is a play. I don’t think Bryan thinks he was wrong, but he is pretending to in order to look good. The adverse transparency solidifies his credibility and gives him a chance at this job;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Adverse transparency/transparency (Bryan opening up to seem credible);

00:30:20

Taylor with Axe about Andolov

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmmmm;
  • Description:
    • Another wacky scene. Yes, Taylor needs to understand the process, they are logical by nature, so on and so forth. And it’s a good show of intellectual honesty, demanding proof regardless of Axe’s position and status. But this is still about onboarding a criminal, which goes against Taylor’s values, and Axe making it seem like it’s just about growth as a fund. To me, this is not positioned correctly. Doesn’t seem realistic. And Axe still hasn’t told Taylor anything about what reasons or “process” is behind this. Sorry, this scene is wack;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Intellectual honesty (Taylor demanding proof, even despite Axe’s status);

00:32:30

Axe, Krakow and Andolov

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Axe is working as a mediator, in order to show Andolov his influence. And Axe draws a hard boundary here. Great example of rigidity. Krakow cannot speak to Andolov, period. Period. He has to go through Axe. He cannot even be put in a position to reply, or to deny. He cannot speak with Andolov. Great example of rigidity by Axe, and personal boundaries too;
    • The last part is pure intellectual honesty here. Axe is showing he is not swayed by Andolov’s influence, and that he treats one brother like he treats any other brother. Telling a russian bratva billionaire “fuck you” is risky at best, but he does to show that he protects Krakow just like he would protect Andolov. He treats everyone the same. Shows radical credibility and authenticity. And Andolov folds immediately;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Rigidity/personal boundaries (Axe preventing Andolov from speaking with Krakow);
    • Intellectual honesty (Axe showing Andolov that the way he treats one brother is the way he would treat him too, and not making exceptions);

00:36:20

Dollar Bill trying to talk with Ben

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • Dollar Bill’s persuasion attempt here is all over the place. He uses empathy and a softer tone of voice, which is excellent to not draw the other person’s guard up, but he stereotypes him and says “you people”. A great technique mixed with a faux pas;
    • I also love that Ben Kim draws the boundary on him when he is racist the second time. Because he’s usually timid, this provokes and even bigger reaction than usual. Strategic inversion;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Empathy (By Dollar Bill, although mixed with racism);
    • Personal boundaries/rigidity (Ben Kim not tolerating the stereotypes);

00:38:35

Chuck, Sacker and Jock

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • When Jock mentions Chuck sending Sacker to warm him up, it’s displayed authority. That is, instead of Chuck making his arguments for him, if someone else does it, it has more authority. In case Sacker was mentioning Chuck, naturally. But even if not, it’s 2 versus 1, so they still persuade with numbers. But Jock is the type of person who honestly does not care, so I don’t see subtle persuasion techniques working on him. Only strength and subjugation;
    • I love how they use Jock’s identity against him, and escalation of commitment too. Excellent example. So, first they get him to agree that retaliation is fair. Then they go deeper. An eye for an eye. A life for a life. And once has agreed to all of these, micro-agreeing during the conversation, Chuck says, “Oh, then the guards that kill a guy must pay, too”. Boom. Beautiful and fluid execution;
    • Curiously, Jock avoids the consistency trap by doing exactly what you should in this case – when the other side is saying, “You agree to this before”, you simply say, “Well, that is not exactly what I agree to, this is different”. So there is no consistency;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Identity and escalation of commitment (Getting Jock to agree on certain principles and then using them against him);

00:41:20

Axe and Wendy

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Extremely);
  • Description:
    • Pure permission manipulation. Wendy feels guilty, she helped put Dr. Gilbert in jail, and she wants peace of mind. Selling the car, plus donation would help that;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Wendy trying to give herself permission to feel better about what they did);

00:48:20

Andolov signing the papers

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • I love here Andolov’s tension and presence. The power he communicates with few words. He tells Axe, “You can’t lose my money”, and Axe says, “Oh, of course not, etc etc”, and then he interrupts and says, “No, you don’t understand. You can’t lose my money”. It’s a chilling delivery, and knowing what we know about the character (assassination, involvement with the Russian bratvas, ripping of the guy’s arm), it’s a great example of why, to pressure and intimidate, you don’t need a lot of words – in this case, 5 words were enough to probably make Axe break into a cold sweat on the spot;
    • His story, though, kind of breaks the realism of the scene. How does it even fit this context? So, naturally, we later find out that he was the boy in the story, but what is the lesson here? The conclusion? What is he trying to say? “I always ask what happened to the boy. No one ever knows”. I would say it’s a test of some type, of people trying to read him, but it doesn’t even make sense. Very awkward moment in an otherwise great scene;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Tension/selectiveness (“You can’t lose my money”);

Episode 10: Redemption

00:02:00

Chuck meeting with Cornbluth

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, once again, Chuck exchanging favors here. I like how he leads with his material. He’s doing the favor first, and requesting Cornbluth to give him something later. Contract, as they have state in the show multiple types. By giving first, Chuck gains the advantage, begets reciprocity, and leverages the timing of the favor. Good execution. I’m just expecting him to turn to threats if Cornbluth can’t get anything later, but so far the interaction is pleasant;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Reciprocity/giving/return timing of favors (By Chuck);

00:03:40

Chuck requesting the team’s help against Jock

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Adverse transparency as usual, as well as negative anchoring, and maybe even a test. Chuck is laying out, from the beginning how hard it is, and letting them make their decision. And if they decide to stay, he knows it’s with 100% intention;
    • We also notice a pretty shady move by Chuck at his worst. He asks Sacker for permission to go to her father, and when she denies it, he seems to back down but curates his words. He literally states “I will not ask you to go to him”… but nothing stopping him from going himself. Standard manipulation, gaming the rules laid down by Sacker. Also, a hell of a credibility hit that later in the season ends up taking him down;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Adverse transparency/challenging the yes/obstacles and testing/negative anchoring (Telling the team the negative parts right away so they can bail);
    • Standard manipulation (Chuck obeys the rules that Sacker set… in his own way);

00:06:00

Andolov pulling his money

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Andolov pulls his money with no kind of redemption period – I assume this was part of the deal, and even if it wasn’t, he would find some way to force Axe to provide the capital;
    • Small effort manipulation/removing exits by Axe, almost as a complaint. “Your money just landed”. As if it’s harder to pull due to that. And then he says, “I gave you a courtesy I did not give other investors”, as if that is a reason to not use that courtesy. Andolov ignores him and asks to take out the money;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Effort manipulation/removing exits (Axe saying the money just landed);

00:07:30

Jock visiting Chuck

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • First, notice the subtle home advantage power dynamic. Jock is coming to Chuck, but he doesn’t come to his office. He finds a room to make his own, the library, and forces Chuck to come to him in his own office. Superb inversion of the power dynamic here;
    • Then, we see a bit of removing exits by Chuck. Him asking, “Do you really want to spend federal funds to prosecute dime bag offenders in housing projects?”. But Jock doubles down on it;
    • Jock also subjugates Chuck by forcing him to host him for dinner. It’s almost forced vulnerability – forcing Chuck to open up his home and show a part of himself;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Home advantage (By Jock, making Chuck’s terrain his own);
    • Removing exits (By Chuck, asking in an accusatory manner, “Are you sure?”);

00:09:00

Team debrief on the cap raise

  • Is It Realistic: Nope;
  • Description:
    • It’s very funny Taylor adopting the lingo. Using the macho “sex wax” analogy after the Top Gun reference some episodes ago. It’s identification at play – Taylor connecting better with Axe, and the macho men of Wall Street with their language, mirroring their words;Future lock-in (Done by Taylor, persuading people to say);
    • Then, after Spyros gives the hilarious warning that the 1.5B have been pulled, Axe fesses up to knowing about it. Bad move and loses credibility. This is the opposite of adverse transparency – this is hiding negative things on purpose to hope they are not found out, despite the fact they will hurt the other person;
    • Also, this scene is so unrealistic it makes my eyes pop. How was having a couple of days going to save Axe? Even if institutional investors committed to allocations, usually these are not on the same day. They are relatively immediate, but there is a grace period of up to 14 days, and even after the commitment, if they say the 1.5B being pulled, they could redeem their capital or at least Axe’s trust would be lost with them. Axe had zero advantage in trying to buy time, because losing the 1.5B now or in a few days would be devastating either way. This is sensationalist scene in my opinion;
    • Then, Taylor is converted, because they mention another dirty player, Frotty, and Taylor says “seems somewhat ideal”;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Identification (Taylor adopting the language);
    • Credibility/trust (Axe losing trust and credibility by hiding the 1.5B redemption);

00:11:25

Axe asking Gomez to come back

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Very in-character for Axe. He does Gomez a favor, with the meal, but immediately states what he needs, and when Gomez whiffs, Axe doesn’t skip a beat and tells him that if he’s not going to give him money, then go to work for him and raise from other pension funds;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Reciprocity/giving (Axe asking Gomez);

00:12:40

Chuck going to Frank

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • We see Chuck preserving Sacker’s image by not involving her in the process. And Frank picking up on that;
    • We also see lawyer talk here, the opposite of intent labeling. Frank tells Chuck everything without every saying anything directly. “I’m not going to tell you about the land deals”. “I’m not going to tell you what that may have cost who, and who might have benefited”. Very similar to Chuck in Season 01 saying, “I was never here, nor would I leak the document” to say precisely that;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Image/appearance (Chuck preserving Sacker’s image);
    • Intent labeling (Frank doing the opposite, not saying anything explicitly or in the first person);

00:19:10

Wendy session with Ben Kim

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Realistic. It is possible that Ben taking a risk traumatised him and caused a snapback effect;
    • I like how Wendy convinces him. Very realistic. First, she talks about potential. Potential always sells. Tell him, “You can be CEO”, doesn’t matter how improbable that is, and he will be inspired. Maybe it’s 1% probable, maybe it’s 0.00001%, but you’re just saying, “You can be CEO”;
    • Then, changing his identity. In a way, Ben is persuading himself to not go outside his comfort zone because that is his identity. So Wendy is forcing him to shake it up. To launch a surprise attack on his identity and find out he can do something different, which changes who he is, and therefore not limiting himself anymore;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Suggestion/potential (Wendy talking about Ben Jim’s possibilities);
    • Identity (Wendy trying to break Ben Kim’s identity so it has less control over him);

00:25:00

Axe and Wags meeting Frotty

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, home advantage. They come to Frotty on the restaurant he’s at. He has the money, he has the power, he sets the rules;
    • We see rigidity and and personal boundaries. Axe not accepting a name change;
    • We also see associations here. Displayed authority. Frotty will benefit from Axe being associated with him;
    • I love how Axe is using a “present lock-out” here. The opposite of a future lock-in. He is taking the hit in the short-term in order to have freedom in the long-term, demanding to be able to break up the contract in a year;
  • Techniques Present:
    • The home advantage (Them going to Frotty);
    • Rigidity/personal boundaries (Axe not accepting the name change);
    • Associations (Frotty benefitting from Axe being at his conference);
    • Future lock-in (Used in reverse by Axe – taking the immediate hit to be free later);

00:28:35

Axe and Bruno

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • The way Bruno convinces him here is both realistic and not. That is, Axe is a hardcore Dominator. He loves to win. The only thing that would convince him to not take the money is to believe he is winning more by not having it. His kids being proud is OK, but it’s not millions of profit-level achievement. I don’t know where this would be the best way to persuade a Dominant. Maybe. If Axe really loves his kids;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Influence archetypes (Bruno convincing Axe as a Dominator);

00:32:40

Chuck arriving for dinner

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • We see Jock demonstrating value as usual. Chuck says where he was and Jock tells him, to his face, “That is not where you were. You were doing something else”. He thinks it’s for a good reason, but he calls him out nevertheless;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Abundance/value (By Jock);

00:36:45

Axe and Frotty almost clsoing the deal

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, we see unexpected rigidity here. The literal “One last thing” pattern. The same thing Chuck pulled during the deal by trying to get Axe to accept a full lifetime ban. And we know how that worked;
    • Frotty is also under the belief that he has abundance. Therefore he literally tells Axe “You’re going to accept it because you have nothing else”. But he overestimates his abundance;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Rigidity (Unexpected, by Frotty);
    • Abundance (Perceived, by Frotty);

00:39:30

Chuck pressuring Cutler

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Chuck starts by discrediting him. Saying he’s not a Wall Street investor. Questioning his image and authority. Then he uses simple blackmail with the information he has, and gets help in return. Typical carrot/stick Chuck favor exchange;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Image/authority (Chuck destroying Cutler’s before negotiating, to gain an edge);
    • Pressure/intimidation (By Chuck);

00:43:25

Team pitching to the Kansas pension fund

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Taylor is providing logical answers to their objections, standard here. I like how Axe seems unavailable, but shows up just to say “Hi”. Makes him seem very busy, makes it seem like he’s sacrificing time to be with them, and injects a personal touch;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Giving with a sacrifice/personal touch/limited access (By Axe, showing up to say “Hi”);

00:47:10

Taylor confronting Axe about Genometch Atlas

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Ver);
  • Description:
    • Completely in character for Axe, who is a hardcore Dominant and doesn’t care about about the damage he causes. A pretty rash move for him, but hey, he is desperate in this case. 100% realistic;
    • I also like how Taylor has a direct bonus from this. It ties them to the transaction so that they can’t fight it afterwards, as they benefitted;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Influence archetypes (Axe being a Dominant and leaving destruction behind);
    • Authority/credibility/associations (The transaction is tied to Taylor to compromise them, so they cannot make an attack on it with credibility);

00:50:50

Sacker confronting Chuck

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I love how Sacker 180’s here. First she is angry that she is compromised with a favor in return for Frank and Chuck, but some minutes afterwards she immediately says, “And it feels good that now I own that chit”;
    • Also, in a very different way, you can notice how this is future lock-in, in a way. that is, Chuck got the immediate advantage of the favor in return for hurting his relationship with Sacker in the long-term. he literally says that he doesn’t mind the damage later in return for the result now;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Spinning/paradox intention (By Sacker, turning her point of view on the spoit);
    • Future lock-in (Chuck gaining the immediate advantage in return for a future problem);

00:52:45

Axe and Andolov

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Extremely);
  • Description:
    • Andolov is a hardcore Dominant, just like Axe. When he says that complaining would just make him never think of Axe again, this is 100% realistic. And Axe holding strong and tolerating it without showing weakness only made him more respected;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Influence archetypes (Dominant at play here again – not showing weakness);

Episode 11: Kompenso

00:03:30

Chuck approaching Ira

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Reasonably);
  • Description:
    • We see here a very high amount of arrogance by Chuck. He is the one screwed Ira’s deal, and he’s saying that Ira should have come to him;
    • We also see negative reciprocity here. As Chuck said, he took a hit at him, and Ira took a hit back, so they’re even. This settles the score and allows them to repair the relationship, because no one is more hurt than the other (I mean, I guess technically Ira is, but they are rounding it down and assuming both situations were the same). It’s permission manipulation, in a way, because they now have permission to move on;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Reciprocity (Of the negative type);
    • Permission manipulation (Both taking a hit at each other allows them to move on);

00:07:20

Axe humiliating McGann

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Very realistic. Again, for a Dominant personality type, and especially since we’ve seen Axe unhinged, desperate to assert himself, lashing out and being more grandiose as of late, 100% realistic. He needs to destroy the other side to feel like a man;
    • I also like how McGann strikes back by messing with his identity. He’s saying that he concedes Axe had a good run, but he’s not an intense worker anymore, performing, he’s the boss now, just sitting back and watching others perform. He takes a step back, conceding, to then take a step forward and attack. Good mix of contrast with identity contradictions;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Influence archetypes (Axe, as a Dominant, needing to crush the other guy);
    • Adverse transparency with contrast to an identity contradiction (McGann concedes just to then attack Axe by saying he’s not who he thinks anymore);

00:09:00

Chuck asking Decker for help

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • Good example of reframing here. Decker complains of being a convicted felon, and Chuck raises his eyebrows and asks, “And in your opinion that’s my fault?”. Great example of a personal boundary, with class;
      • I also love Chuck’s body language here, as he draws a personal boundary with his face. He gives him what I call “What did you just say to me?” look?, with the raised eyebrow and serious tone, as a way to create tension;
    • Then, the usual reciprocity double whammy. A favor in return for a favor, and I bet it will turn dark if he refuses;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Spinning/reframing (Both of their views);
    • Reciprocity (Favor for a favor);

00:11:20

Axe, Wags Wendy on comp

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • We see Axe continue his Dominant aggression here – almost an actual blind spot in his thinking – considering he does all the work, the workers do nothing, it’s his money, and so on;
    • I like how both Taylor and Axe use adverse transparency in different ways. Axe says they can’t delay the bonus payments – it hurts in the short-term, but it’s necessary to build trust. And Taylor uses adverse transparency by being upfront and telling Axe about the promise they made to pay everyone the same as last year, which may make Axe angry, but it’s better than finding out later from the people;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Influence archetypes (Dominant considering he’s the winner, everyone else are losers, etc);
    • Adverse transparency (By both Axe and Taylor in different ways);

00:13:25

Axe and Taylor’s negotiation

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • First, home advantage. We see how Axe literally takes Taylor to his office and sits in his chair, comfortable, while Taylor is made to seem to almost be trespassing on his territory. Basic power play;
    • So, we see Taylor using a lot of good arguments. Could have led with a specific number instead of a rounded one to persuade more (e.g. $47.5M). I like how Axe, in return, is simply dominating. He doesn’t deny anything that Taylor says, he just says, “It was my money”;
    • Then, we see a weird turn here. When Taylor mentions profiting of of Oscar’s sacrifice, axe says, “Are you still sore about that?”. Flipping. Going from proving himself to forcing Taylor to prove themselves;
    • Then, we have unexpected rigidity, which also comes from Axe’s aggression. Him telling Taylor they should not be in the pitch meeting. This is last-minute, will cause aggression, but is a good technique to cause a distraction and throw Taylor off their game. Axe is probably not doing it on purpose – just out of ego – but it ends up being very good in terms of persuasion;
    • I also like how Taylor uses personal boundaries, in a logical way without aggression here. Axe says, “The final bonus will be [ABC]” and Taylor says, “Still, I don’t accept it”. Also, Axe uses a comparison for context manipulation. “When I was your age, I never made that much money”;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Home advantage (Axe in his chair, in his office, and Taylor coming to him);
    • Influence archetypes (Mismatch – Taylor slow and logical, Axe fast and logical);
    • Flipping (Despite Taylor’s arguments, Axe doesn’t prove himself and flips it on Taylor to justify they’re not angry about Oscar);
    • Unexpected rigidity/physiological priming (Axe cutting Taylor off from the pitches last-minute, which serves as a punch to the gut and throws them off their game);
    • Personal boundaries/rigidity (By Taylor, literally saying, “I do not accept”);
    • Perceived contrast (By Axe, saying that he never made that much money when he was Taylor’s age);

00:15:35

Axe comp negotiations

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • Bonnie starts with extreme anchoring. Great technique. As she mentions, she doesn’t think she deserves it, but if she never asks, she’ll never get it. Now she can ask for the real number and get it immediately, because it seems lower by comparison;
    • Mafee says he has already proven his value, refusing to prove himself. It’s showing abundance. I like how Axe uses his wrestling knowledge to throw him off, though – very funny. I like how Axe then just says he hasn’t been “feeling him” lately, just as an excuse to reduce his value and throw him off his game further;
    • Then, I love Ben Kim’s technique. What he says is precisely right. He can use extreme anchoring the opposite way – if you throw out a number that is too small, the other side immediately accepts it. So if you have low self-esteem, it’s crucial to let the other side throw out a number first. Then Axe gives him a new position without a raise. Contrast. The new position seems great compared to the previous one, so he doesn’t even forget about the salary. But I find it weird they talk about salary, and they didn’t talk about the bonus itself;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Extreme anchoring/perceived contrast (By Bonnie – high number first, so the real one seems normal);
    • Abundance (By Mafee – not proving himself);

00:17:20

Bryan agreeing to Jock’s search

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • What we see here is risky. Naturally, the FBI director is being rigid, not accepting the rules to break an agenda, but Bryan is overriding her just for personal gain. Here we see a lack of credibility – we can literally see that Bryan is saying “screw the rules” to get back in the game and move his career further. This is out of character, since Bryan is the biggest stickler to the rules and what is right, but maybe this is the start of his transformation into corrupt, or maybe he’s just enraged at Chuck and wants power to strike back – he is easily angered;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Rigidity (The FBI director not agreeing to the search easily);
    • Credibility/intellectual honesty (By Bryan, lack of it in this case – personal advancement over credibility);

00:18:40

Chuck and Ira

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • Interesting that we see Ira using what I call a “strategic inversion” here. In his case, in personal life. That is, since he is lawyer and treats everything so carefully, this time he decided to not be a lawyer and be more personal. Using a personal touch;
    • I also like how Ira, in denial, is kind of making a guess at permission manipulation here. He’s saying that, after Taiga finishes her affair with the other conman, she will be satisfied and stabilise. In reality, he has no reason to think this, and no data backing it up. Oh, Ira;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Personal touch (Ira not setting up a pre-nup);
    • Permission manipulation (Ira guessing Taiga will be satisfied and “check the box” once this is over and come back;

00:21:15

Wendy with Taylor

  • Is It Realistic: Somewhat;
  • Description:
    • So far, this was realistic, but now they’ve blown it. Completely. Sure, Taylor took a hit and is angry due to being taken off the raise team. But they didn’t say this in the meeting. They just talked about money. Now Taylor is telling Wendy the number is acceptable, but being taken off the raise team is not acceptable? They didn’t mention this before!! Taylor has been a great communicator so far – they would have stated this in person. “I will accept the number but I need to be on the raise team”. Or maybe they took some time to digest it and are only now realising it? Either way, feels weird;
  • Techniques Present:
    • None;

00:23:25

Spyros’s comp negotiation

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I like Spyros’s initial technique. He’s using contrast. He’s saying that he turned the shop around overnight, and did more than expected, so he should gain more than expected. But it’s useless considering that, as Axe says, compliance doesn’t get bonuses. Period. So it doesn’t matter what he does. Maybe he should have asked for a raise instead;
    • I like how Axe uses contrast in his body language, in a beautiful way here. He seems to warm up and say, “Oh I forgot about that!” and then turns killer mode, intense, with a completely different pacing, and says, “But that reminds me where you were before. Fired. Halfway out the door. Dead to me. No, your reward is staying here”, and Spyros literally flees from the room. I love how he then piles with contrast, saying that, in order to calculate how much Spyros gains, he would need to calculate how much he cost them;
    • In the end, that line about seeing “their hungry little mouths” and just wanting to punch them is another realistic Dominant trait. Whatever they win is Axe’s loss, coming out of his pocket, and he wants to fully dominate and not give anyone anything, if possible;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Contrast (By both Spyros and Axe – Spyros uses contrast to make it seem he did more than the usual professional. Axe uses it to put in context what Spyros cost before he asks for what he wants);
    • Pace and tonality (By Axe, varying it dynamically);

00:26:20

Wendy approaching Axe

  • Is It Realistic: Bad at first, brilliant later;
  • Description:
    • I like Wendy’s timing. This is brilliant. She knows he is a hardcore Dominant, and so chooses a time when he is weak in order to be able to persuade better. Can be considered a distraction – physiological priming;
    • But then, this Taylor negotiation is again unrealistic. Wendy says what Taylor says, that moving forward is more important than money, and Taylor only asks for money since they took everything else out. But Taylor did not ask to be on the team in the first place, and did not counter when Axe removed them from the team. They did not communicate this. They are trying to shoehorn Taylor’s negotiation priorities when they were not used in the actual negotiation;
    • What Wendy says is accurate. Identity. Breaking a person’s identity, or making it seem their actions go against it is the fastest way to break them and make them switch sides;
    • I also love Axe’s candor in the end. He says he may do it, but doesn’t want to, because it’s another accommodation, and he wanted to become powerful to not need to make them. Perfectly aligned with the his recently augmented dominance. 100% realistic;
    • Then, Wendy shifts gears and uses empathy here, tailored to his influence archetype. After this janky start, this elevates this scene. She takes exactly his fears, his worries as a Dominant, and puts them out here. He hates being treated like just another one, he hates having to compete with others, and he hates the accumulation of small accommodations eating at him. Beautiful execution. And she closes by saying that Taylor will make him stronger, not weaker – which is precisely the best way to convince a Dominant;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Physiological priming (Catching Axe off-guard meditating);
    • Identity (The captured prisoners having their identity broken);
    • Empathy applied to his influence archetype (Naming the fears, worries and irritations of the Dominant);

00:29:25

Lara with Wendy, then Axe

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I really like the parallel here. In the past, Lara complained that Axe made mistakes and did not give himself permission to fix themselves without Wendy. Here, Wendy is saying that Axe made bad decisions and needs Lara to keep him in check. Great parallel, and two sides of permission manipulation;
    • I also like the reframe. Wendy clarifies she’s not asking her help as a friend or acquaintance, but as an investor. It’s also neutralising her advantage – if it’s a favor, Lara can decide not to do it – if it’s an investor issue, she has to;
    • Axe later clarifies that want Taylor wants cannot be given, it must be taken. Bravo. Exactly the Dominant mindset, and 100% realistic. They believe everything obtained must be earned, must be through pain, and through conquering and subjugating others. And he also says that, if Taylor tried to take it away from him, he would cut them down. Super realistic. A Dominant believes other Dominants must prove themselves and destroy… but always others, not them – if they go against this Dominant, they will destroy them back;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Axe not giving himself permission to fix things without Wendy, which he should, in the past, and Axe giving himself permission to be bad with comp, which Lara takes away);
    • Reframing/neutralising advantages (Wendy clarifying she’s asking for help as an investor);

00:37:40

Chuck intimidating Radaelli

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Reasonably);
  • Description:
    • I love how Chuck uses negative credibility here. That is, instead of seeming like he’s objective, and that he would never abuse his power, and being pure, here Chuck is cultivating the opposite – he is establishing a reputation of being dirty and ruthless, threatening Radaelli’s family, and even getting Karl to confirm it as well, which is displayed authority that he is a bastard (never thought I would write these words). Great execution;
    • I also love Chuck’s intimidation technique here. First, Radaelli is a mini-Dominant, saying he won’t back down. So Chuck has to break him by force. So he gets up in his face, literally pointing physically, and telling him that a federal case is his worst nightmare. Negative potential combined with physical intimidation;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Credibility + displayed authority (Chuck seeming like a ruthless bastard, cultivating that reputation and even asking Karl to confirm it);
    • Pressure/intimidation + negative potential (Chuck intimidating him and telling him how bad it can get);

00:40:50

Bryan with the director

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Reasonably);
  • Description:
    • Bryan has a lot of nerve, which is funny. He took the initiative on Jock’s request to advance his career, and even tells the director it was to shield her. Turning a weakness into a strength. Spinning + paradox intention. Bryan is becoming arrogant, desperate and unhinged, so this is pretty realistic;
    • Also, I don’t know how he didn’t get fired. Isn’t he on trial period or something? So, the FBI director knows he tried to railroad his boss in his previous position, hired him, and he just railroaded her, and she… does nothing? I guess she can’t fire him, as Jock knows Bryan is doing the favor, but she seems too amenable. Oh well;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Spinning/paradox intention (Bryan using his weakness as a strength);

00:42:55

Chuck intimidating Taiga

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I like Chuck’s candor here. He says he doesn’t know how to persuade here, and doesn’t know what to appeal to. But he settles on fear, which is his usual go-to tactic;
    • Chuck also uses credibility. When he says, “I may play dirty, but I don’t deal dirty”, he’s trying to establish that, despite his actions, he is not unfair in terms of deals or on paper. It’s a bad technique here, because she has no idea what his reputation is, and because Chuck does deal dirty – he made a deal with DiGiulio and abused the hell out of him for favors, and then made a deal with Dake and abused the hell out of him for protection;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Personal touch/candor (By Chuck, when he says he doesn’t know how to persuade her);
    • Credibility/image (By Chuck, when giving her the postnup to sign);

00:46:25

Axe negotiating with Bach

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Both sides have credit. Axe mentions Bach didn’t really win the case – it was the underhanded tactics. And that is true. But Bach played his role as a lawyer, and he was good at argumenting in court. Then Axe says the hours were inflated, and then Bach says it doesn’t make a difference to him, but it would make all the difference to the associates. Both are right;
    • Bach’s description of him is also true. He has to win, crush, dominate, destroy everything. Absolutely true;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Contrast (Bach makes the discount seem good in comparison with the base price, but Axe makes it seem bad by saying they were inflated in the first place);

00:50:55

Axe flashback to his mother

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • We see a very interesting set of perspectives on permission manipulation. So, his mother says she didn’t want to toss his dad’s things, to not give him power, and Axe asks, “Storing his stuff for 34 years isn’t doing that?”. Both are right. Both throwing away the things could be, finally, permission to let him go, but also deciding to leave the things ignored could be permission. Just goes to show that, whatever you decide to give you permission, gives you permission;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Permission manipulation (Axe’s mom deciding to ignore his dad’s stuff for closure);

00:52:40

Bryan visiting Dake

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • I disagree with Dake here. He says that lawyers don’t need to know the truth about the law, and it’s better to find out later. Full disagreement from me. If they already know the negatives, they are prepared for it. It’s negative anchoring. Everything later seems better by comparison. But he’s anchoring them with the ideals of the law, so afterwards, all negative things seem worse by comparison;
      • It’s similar to what happens in personal development. It’s better to be a pessimist. If you’re an optimist and expect things to go well, you’re always disappointed. If you expect most things to go wrong, you’re always either right or pleasantly surprised;
    • I also how Bryan flips the responsibility on Dake, and also starts with the negative. Makes it classier. He’s not telling Dake to go after Chuck, he’s wondering if there is an absence of reasons not to do it. Classy, and makes Dake persuade himself. Excellent flipping technique. On top of that, combined with diagnosing (“What made you trust Chuck?”);
  • Techniques Present:
    • Anchoring (Anchoring the students positively vs. negatively);
    • Flipping + diagnosing (Bryan not convincing Dake, asking instead Dake to convince himself);

00:54:05

Chuck and Sacker meeting with Epstein

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Somewhat);
  • Description:
    • OK, so some theatrics here. These people are planning an attack on the AG of the United States without anyone knowing, stopping them, or monitoring them in any way. Let’s set that aside, though;
    • I like this technique, because it’s using distraction in large-scale. Instead of distracting the person on the spot to get them to make a mistake, you are doing it long-term. Baiting them into making a mistake, and putting pressure on them in the long-term. Honestly very effective;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Physiological priming (Distraction, persuading Jock by baiting him into making a mistake);

Episode 12: Elmsley Count

00:03:20

Taylor persuading Andolov

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Grace under fire by Taylor. Andolov pretty much said, “I would do you”, and Taylor doesn’t even react. I don’t know whether he was testing Taylor or just being a Dominant in general, but either way Taylor passed;
    • I also like how Taylor goes beyond the expected, with candor. They say that they’re not going to talk about the usual BS, such as market outlook and other platitudes, and simply says they have better reflexes and technology. Simple and effective. Transparency. Showing a personal side beyond the usual, professional platitudes;
    • The answer to leaving Axe is a good one. I mean, it doesn’t say much as an answer itself, but the metaphor is tuned to Andolov. He’s a survivor, he has been through rough – even brutal – conditions, and the metaphor is one that will gel with him, for sure. A metaphor about dominating rather than surviving would be even better, but this one is already tuned to his identity;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Grace under fire (Taylor not flinching);
    • Transparency (Taylor sharing their true opinion versus the expected);
    • Identity (Taylor using a metaphor about survival/brutal conditions that Andolov knows well);

00:06:10

McGann and Birch versus Axe Cap

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I like the reframing. Axe mentions they have a waiting list, and that McGann is talking trash due to being jealous, and McGann frames the waiting list as being just an excuse to see the freak show, and not serious. Excellent real-time reframe, and very realistic as trash talk between two alphas;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Spinning/reframing (Both sides reframing Axe Capital’s waiting list as two completely different things);

00:07:05

Chuck with Epstein

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I love Chuck’s premortem of the situation. Extremely realistic. Jock will either try to discredit the prosecutor, or the witness. 100% true. You either attack the message or the messenger. Or both;
    • Also, Epstein’s reasoning here is solid. I mean, we later find out he’s just entrapping Chuck, but if he wasn’t, this advice was still solid. If Chuck does a favor without asking for anything, it seems too pure, suspicious. But by asking something in return, then Chuck seems more credible. He seems like he’s the same type of person, and that brings credibility itself, like a reciprocity among dirty professionals. A bandit code of conduct;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Image/appearance/credibility (Chuck predicting Jock will destroy either the case or the prosecutor’s credibility);

00:10:40

Taylor arriving and pitching

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmmmmmm;
  • Description:
    • Wendy’s advice to them is solid. The allocators need to do their due diligence, but the manager needs to stand out. They are buying the manager. They are reassuring the allocators that it’s safe to place money there. Remember, since allocators have so many fund managers seeking their money, they use heuristics to eliminate them. Bad image, bad results, and so on. So, in this case, it’s not about standing out, but about having lack of negatives that would eliminate them. They just need to seem solid and reassure them. As Axe says, solid and trustworthy;
    • I am, however, underwhelmed with this. The pitch was literally 30 seconds. Is this how they are going to rake in 1/3 of the 30B available? Come on. I would have expected a slide deck with 5 slides, or a general description of strategies, or even a mention of the process. The investment presentation should be simple, but they went a bit Hollywood here. It’s not THAT simple. Unless they are presenting more in-depth later, or in another session. But still, so many people gathered at this time for a 30-second pitch? Or maybe they already said everything and Taylor’s bookending it? Unimpressive, either way;
    • Later in the concert, Axe mentions they got $6B instead of $10B. This is realistic, but it’s maybe also because you’re using 30-second presentations to try and close these people. Come on, Axe. Do better;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Image/appearance (Fund managers cultivating the right appearance);

00:16:30

Chuck Jr. coming to Sr.

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Extremely);
  • Description:
    • I love how Chuck Sr. already assumes Jr. is transactional, and that he doesn’t do courtesy calls;
    • Chuck Sr’s advice may be good or not. In this case, I think it is. His point is that, if what you have is not good enough, it will be found out over time. So you do escalation dominance. You keep things moving and attacking, and you never stop so that your material can be evaluated and the weakness found;
      • This was literally how the Nazis did WW2. They kept advancing with their lighning-fast movements, but did not defend captured regions well, because they kept the tanks moving. That gave the appearance of strength. But when they were finally forced to stop and defend, they immediately crumbled. Same here. If your material is inferior, keep moving and taking action, so that you don’t have to stop and have it evaluated;
      • Additionally, this is completely consistent with Chuck Sr.’s personality. He’s telling Chuck Jr. to bait Jock, and distract him to get him off his game and make a mistake, and we have seen Chuck Sr. use this technique himself – for example, on Chuck and Wendy at the BDSM place, catching them off-guard to dominate them. So, great technique and very realistic. Very competent scene;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Physiological cues (Distracting the opponent and catching them off-guard);

00:18:10

Wags and Axe realising Taylor’s betrayal

  • Is It Realistic: No!;
  • Description:
    • OK, so after one of the most realistic scenes, we have a completely ridiculous one. Institutional allocators are extremely reserved, and they cancel commitments or take out money if they detect even the slightest issue. They will not follow Taylor in the middle of a separation process with Axe. It’s too much turbulence. I would expect both of them to get absolutely zero capital;
  • Techniques Present:
    • None;

00:20:00

War room meeting

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • All of this makes sense. Taylor is compromising their image, they have to contain the problem, and they have to pass on the image this will not affect them. And throwing Taylor off their game with the legal suit is also a good technique to distract them;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Image/appearance ();
    • Physiological priming (Distracting Taylor with the legal suit);

00:21:00

Team interrogating Ben Kim

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Taylor’s technique was very smart. They recommended Axe withhold resources from Ben Kim so that they could then frame it as lack of appreciation, and motivated Ben Kim to leave Axe. As Ben Kim says, himself, a solid game theory move;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Framing/spinning (Taylor framing the lack of bonus as lack of appreciation for Ben Kim by Axe);

00:24:20

Andolov meeting with Axe + Hall debrief

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • So, home advantage. Axe coming to Andolov on his special turf. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s being recorded;
    • Then, rigidity. Extreme rigidity, tension and pressure from a murderous crime ring billionaire. His words have a lot of weight here. We see him also enforcing it, with a violent personal boundary, when Hall speaks out of turn and gets slapped in the face;
      • A curious detail is how we see, in the last few episodes, several types of personal boundaries used by different people in different ways. We see Chuck with Decker saying, “And in your opinion that’s my fault?”, indignant but polite, we see Taylor use them logically, saying, “I do not accept this bonus”, and see Andolov here using them physically, slapping hall in the face;
    • I also love Axe’s intent labeling use here. He literally says, “I cannot ask you to do it”, and Andolov literally saying, “If you want me to do it, you have to say it, I have to hear you”;
  • Techniques Present:
    • The home advantage ();
    • Rigidity and personal boundaries (Andolov not allowing speaking out of turn);
    • Intent labeling (Axe refusing to state the ask, Andolov saying he must state it);

00:27:45

Axe confronting the MaseCap team

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • First, pressure and intimidation against Mafee, standard;
    • Then, we see reframing here. Taylor is framing what they went through as being prepared to be ejected by Axe, while Axe is considering it the opposite, a graduation ritual, a hazing of sorts while Taylor grew in his intimate circle. To be honest, I agree with Axe, I think it was rash of Taylor to leave. Sure, they would suffer through more humiliation and low-balling while working for Axe, but if the alternative is to be their enemy, I would have stayed;
    • I also love the reframe of Taylor’s actions. Axe frames it as stealing, as cheating, as false pretense, while Taylor simply frames them as objective actions to grow their firm, and nothing to do with Axe. Once again, I have to side with Axe on this one, since if Taylor used the cap raise pretending to be on Axe’s team, and paid the quant experiment with money they probably obtained from their salary, it’s dirty to turn and try to make them their own;
    • The Everest Death Zone is a great metaphor to place things in contrast. He goes from Taylor mentioning their possible success – 1 success out of 1 in total – to mentioning most people die along the way – 1 success out of hundreds in total. In away, it’s even changing the option set. Compared to different options, Taylor’s success now seems a lot less promising;
    • Axe’s final statement is also interesting. “You have to know that anything I do to stop you is warranted”. Permission manipulation. He’s saying that he now has “official permission” to retaliate, since Taylor did this. It’s also a justification;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Pressure/intimidation (Axe threatening Mafee and Taylor);
    • Reframing/spinning (Axe framing Taylor’s rise as close, while Taylor framing it as being ejected progressively);
    • Contrast/option set change (Axe mentioning one success out of 100s to put it in context);
    • Permission manipulation/justification (Axe saying whatever they do is justified now);

00:31:30

Chuck meeting Jock + follow-up

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • Chuck tries to tease out what is Jock’s next move, which Jock clarifies is not against AG Epstein, due to his reputation, but against Cutler, since he’s the weak witness;
    • I also love how Chuck is using exclusion confirmation here to tempt him. He’s saying, “Oh, just let this play out in court, let’s not do something dirty”, when he fully knows Jock wants to play dirty, just to get him to state it explicitly;
    • Chuck’s ask here is extremely realistic and efficient. So, he has to ask for something in return. So, he doesn’t just ask for a favor in general. He injects a bit of truth in the fake act, by asking to call his own plays. It was already noticeable he was bothered by Jock’s orders to take certain cases. Even though this favor doesn’t make Jock happy at all. He’s applying that old adage of making a lie seem true by injecting a bit of truth. If he asked for a generic, pleasant favor, it could seem very simple and artificial. But by asking something of Jock which seems real and uncomfortable, it does seem authentic of him. Adverse transparency;
    • In their follow-up conversation, Chuck says that he subpoenaed Cutler, even though the New York State will be very angry at him for doing so. This is giving with a sacrifice. If you show the effort you put into something, it seems more credible and authentic;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Exclusion confirmation (Chuck inviting Jock to not play dirty, just to tempt him to want it even more);
    • Adverse transparency (Chuck asks something which Jock doesn’t like, but this makes it credible and helps sell the favor better);
    • Giving with a sacrifice (Chuck doing Jock the favor at great apparent cost);

00:37:50

Taylor trying to persuade Wendy

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmmmmm;
  • Description:
    • Taylor’s attempt seems junior here. As Wendy states, and very well, their moral compass was already twisted. Taylor positioned themselves as someone logical and innocent, but has only become more dirty as time went by, from the moment they put their signature on Dollar Bill’s Klaxon analysis back in the Season 2 ending. And while it seemed they took a step back in Season 3, they just took on Andolov’s money, so Taylor’s moral credibility is definitely ruined here, no contest;
    • Taylor’s reframe here is also not good. Arrogant and condescending. “I’m also giving you a chance for your own sake”. No. Nope. Exactly the wrong way to play it with Wendy. They are being intellectually honest in terms of the mistakes of both, which is admirable, but intellectual honesty alone won’t convince Wendy. Taylor is reducing it all to facts precisely with the person who doesn’t consider the facts;
      • A small comment is that Wendy is also a bit hypocritical here. She talks about loyalty and true relationships, but she got the Ice Juice profits that wrecked Ira, and she helped Chuck and Axe put Dr. Gilbert in jail. So, yes loyalty in some aspects, but in other aspects, she can be reduced to money and numbers. So I would say that Wendy is still the person who doesn’t just consider the facts, but she has been a bit moved towards the facts lately. Still, wrong persuasion tactics overall by Taylor. It’s in-character considering their lack of social skills, though;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Credibility (Taylor’s credibility ruined);
    • Reframe (Taylor reframing Wendy’s hiring as a fresh start for her, not them. But arrogant);

00:40:05

Axe and Hall discussing taking out Taylor

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Very);
  • Description:
    • I like how Axe asks Hall to deconstruct it and break it down;
    • Hall telling Axe Andolov would have this on him is true. He can blackmail him, he can demand more and more of him, and he may never stop. And if it’s already dangerous to have a blackmailer, then having a billionaire murderous one is probably a gigantic risk;
    • But, as Hall says, then Axe would have something on Andolov too. They are tied together, and both can use it against the other;
    • And, as Hall also mentions, how Axe says “yes” or “no” also counts a lot. Again, remembering who Andolov is, with the countless murders, ripping off the guy’s arm and so on, the actual politeness and how Axe handles even the conversation itself can make it go very well or not;
    • What Axe mentions is also 100% correct. He cannot give the impression of weakness, or seem like he can lose a key person and not do anything about it. He does have to teach Taylor a lesson as a personal boundary, and to show publicly he is not weak;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Threats/intimidation/blackmail (Simulating how Andolov could use them on Axe, and vice-versa);
    • Image/reputation (Axe has to do something in retaliation for Taylor leaving to protect his image and strength, otherwise it’s tainted);

00:42:45

Axe rejecting Andolov

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmmm;
  • Description:
    • So simple, identity contradiction here, and one tailored to a Dominant influence archetype in specific (“I thought you were a man with nerves of steel”, etc);
    • We also see Andolov here saying, “If you don’t want me to tell it, but want me to do it anyway, that’s fine”. Previously he said, “I need to hear you say the words”. What? Completely went back on the persuasion technique of intent labeling he previously used!
    • Also, we see that Andolov here says he will take all his money and give it to Taylor. A Dominant would do this out of spite, for sure. So Taylor, despite their merits, is probably getting the allocation just as a “screw you” to Axe;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Identity contradiction ();

00:44:35

Chuck being ambushed

  • Is It Realistic: Yes (Reasonably);
  • Description:
    • I like the arrogant spinning by Jock. he tells Chuck, “You inveigled yourself into my life, you ingratiated yourself to me”. When in reality, it was the opposite. He was the one who forced Chuck to invite him for dinner, he was the one who ordered Chuck around and demanded favors. But for someone with such an arrogant point of view, it is completely realistic that he would think that Chuck was he one doing it. Literal selective memorisation;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Spinning/Reframing (Jock reframing Chuck as being the one approaching him);

00:49:35

Oscar giving Taylor seed money

  • Is It Realistic: Hmmm;
  • Description:
    • So, we see Taylor not being credible anymore, after that opportunistic swipe of Oscar’s IPO by Axe to make up the Andolov redemption money. However, this scene doesn’t strike authentic to me. Not at all. Look, Oscar knows how smart Taylor is. And he knows that Taylor is about logic and objective plays, not inside plays. So he would believe it if Taylor just outright said, “Axe did it without my knowledge”. Taylor could literally say it. And they didn’t. Instead of all this beating around the bush with, “Let me try and explain”, why not just say it? “It was Axe and not me”. I find it hard for Oscar to believe Taylor’s logical integrity without believing their integrity in terms of not screwing him over. Especially know Taylor left Axe. But oh well. Drama;
  • Techniques Present:
    • Credibility/trust (Taylor’s credibility destroyed);

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