June 30, 2003
Playing relate-a-zon. A beginners guide
The highly addictive game relate-a-zon can seem unplayable on first attempt at a really hard problem. A little experience in relation space gives some valuable pointers on how to play an effective game of relate-a-zon.
- Relation space is not symmetric. There are plenty of one way routes in relation space. This happens because popular products are often purchased in addition to unpopular products but not vice versa. Bestsellers are formidable attractors, and once you're caught in a top hits attractor it can be difficult to escape.
- Immersion is an attractor. A good rule of thumb is that there are more paths from less immersive material to more immersive material than the opposite. That is, boring textbooks have more links to novels than vice versa. Novels have more links to records than vice versa. Records have more links to DVD's than vice versa.
- Different media are isolated from each other. In general records are related to records, DVD's to DVD's, books to books. Be careful when changing into another type of media than the one you need to end in.
- Diversity is better for less immersive product. DVD's have horrible diversity, because demand is highly polarized. Records are a little better. Fiction better yet and non-fiction books the best.
- Use cross-media products to escape a fiction vortex. A good tip if caught in the wrong media type is to use a top-hit like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings to change into the right media type and then escape from there staying within that media type. Finding your way to the top hits is easy.
- Move sideways. Generally speaking stay away from 'top' recommendations. They either stay near the product you're on or (even worse) pull you toward the great immersion attractor.
- Don't despair. Some games just take 100 moves.