The Math Behind Donald Trumps Brain

Brian Ley

In Episode #293, Nathan interviews Brian Ley, CEO of Alpharank: a start-up that uses heavy-duty mathematics to analyse brands’ word-of-mouth networks. Brian started out studying the spread of diseases – he’s fascinated by how everything from ideas to emotions is spread through human networks. Listen in to hear Brian and Nathan discuss how Donald Trump is memetically hacking your brain.


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Famous 5

  • Favorite Book? – High Output Management
  • What CEO do you follow? — Richard Branson
  • What is your favorite online tool? — Audible
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Most nights
  • If you could let your 20 year old self know one thing, what would it be? —Not to drink alcohol, and to take as good care of your body as you can

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:30 – Nathan’s introduction
  • 01:56 – Welcoming Brian to the show
  • 02:10 – Brian started out studying computational epidemiology – the study of how diseases spread. He’s fascinated by how anything – disease, joy, decisions – spreads through human networks
  • 03:10 – Alpharank generates revenue by charging a data provider fee
  • 03:40 – Analyse a company’s influence and network connections
  • 04:25 – Analysed social structure at a nightclub for multiple weeks: realised that you could see connections by analysing time-series patterns
  • 06:02 – Currently have no revenue: have raised $500k investment
  • 06:40 – Will stay pre-revenue in 2016
  • 06:52 – The network is very tech-heavy – currently have a team of 7 engineers
  • 09:15 – “I have complete faith that someone is going to figure out a way to track network connections directly”
  • 09:45 – Can you explain mathematically what Donald Trump is doing?
  • 10:10 – “Donald Trump is memetically hacking people’s brains”
  • 10:40 – Engaging directly with the mammalian centre of people’s brains – where emotions are directly processed. And emotion is contagious.
  • 11:55 – “Talking about things spreads them”
  • 12:17 – The viral coefficient: K= Invitations x Conversion Rate
  • 12:50 – “Marketing is being turned to math”
  • 13:46 – Connect with Brian on Linkedin or on Twitter
  • 16:40 – Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Your body is your limiting factor: take care of yourself
  2. Everything spreads through human networks: diseases, ideas, emotions
  3. Marketing is becoming mathematical

Resources Mentioned:

  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for cheapest price possible.
  • Leadpages – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5 hour drive) to listen to audio books.