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An Urgent Warning for Bill Gates

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I have to get a warning to Bill Gates because I just listened to the 2015 winners of ESOMAR’s “Best Case History” award. How can I reach him? Let me tell you the story first, so you understand the urgency.

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Hubertus Hofkirchner

by Hubertus Hofkirchner -- Vienna, 1 Oct 2015

In their presentation titled “Belief, Intent, Action!” by Final Mile Consulting, the freshly decorated market researchers picked up on a WHO study done in Africa which showed that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infections in men by approximately 60%.

Bill Gates - Copyright: Prediki

Highly motivated by this nugget of an insight, the researchers embarked on a mission to find out how to promote the cutting off of tens of millions of retractable folds of male tissue. They want to change the ingrained behaviour of Sub-Saharan males so that at least 80% would do what the WHO thinks is good for them. The project was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, amongst others.

The researchers used a slimmed down version of a prediction market game (a good choice, guys) to find out the unfathomable reasons why the target segment did not want a piece of their best piece clipped. Then the researchers moved on to explore why males actually might do such a thing to their thing, apart from emerging only half as often lethally infected after dipping their willies.

Due to their excellent choice of research method, the researchers did find one motivational pearl and called it “Better sexual partner” which is a scientific way of saying … well, I don’t need to say. I was getting really puzzled by that time because I tried to listen while pondering if the increased sexual activity resulting from such improved prowess will exceed 42.8%. That’s the growth rate which would offset the beneficial 60% when considering that 50% of participants (women) do not get protection from the snip-snip procedure. Let’s hope for the best. With all the pain involved the growth will probably shrink anyway (pardon the pun).

In their “Male circumcision for HIV prevention” brochure, the WHO recommends a whole range of further behaviour changes such as “the promotion of safer sex practices; the provision of male and female condoms and promotion of their correct and consistent use” which the WHO recommends to combine for lowest infection risk.

Amazingly the WHO list leaves out the one recommendation known to humanity since biblical times which is the impressively phrased: “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery.” The infection risk reduction from this particularly unpopular commandment is very close to 100%. My apologies to the WHO in advance if they did try to field such a study but just failed to find volunteers for the unattractive treatment group.

It is self-evident that the measure is highly effective even when not combined with the other ones on the WHO’s list which is a major advantage. That said some more rigorous researchers may well propose a combination of “Thou Shalt Not” with the original circumcision measure for more effectiveness. So when he comes home after a long night, and the legitimate partner realises “Thou Just Hath” she can point to the WHO combination therapy and … chop. This simple procedure may increase compliance significantly, well in excess of the WHO’s original 80% goal.

But I am digressing, this is about warning Bill. Our fellow researchers did not stop here. They also used state-of-the-art marketing methods to identify so-called “influencers”. These shining examples get circumcised first, and then the mutilated influencers - out of sheer maliciousness - will do their best to drag droves of their admirers to the hospital theaters for a participative replay of the agonising procedure.

This was when I remembered with a shock a Bloomberg news flash from 17 June 2013 that Bill Gates has joined LinkedIn’s roster of “Influencers”. A quick check revealed that by now, Bill has already accumulated 5,058,701 followers. This is almost a quarter of the WHO target number of 20 million circumcisions. Given that those researchers obviously are cluey guys, using prediction markets, winning awards and all, I realised that sooner or later, they will use some clever social media analytics tool, probably developed by Microsoft, and find out about Bill!

So next time the researchers approach him, he will not get off cheaply by donating the odd billion dollars or two. No, they will want something more micro, more soft.

Unfortunately, I do not have Bill’s telephone number but if we all use the power of the share button, maybe somebody gets to read this who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows Bill. Please help send him this warning before it is too late.


About the author:
Hubertus Hofkirchner is CEO of Prediki Prediction Services and a confessed prediction market evangelist. Important note to WHO researchers: He is NOT an “influencer”.

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