What Works

How does the principle of supply and demand influence what we pay attention to? (And who pays attention to us?)

Show Notes

Attention is a scarce (and precious) resource. A gargantuan number of media outlets, advertisers, influencers, and brands vie for our attention every day. In turn, many of us (including me) are out there trying to attract attention, too. At the same time, the changing nature of the attention market (as well as larger macroeconomic shifts) creates some real weirdness.

This is the first episode of a two-part deep dive into the economics of paying attention, getting attention, and audiences as a commodity. In this episode, we’ll question how an influencer can charge $100k per year for coaching, examine how attention scarcity impacts the market, and explore the “principal product of the mass media.” This episode is for you if you ever spend time on social media, consume any kind of traditional media, buy things, or hope people will buy things for you. We’ll get into the weeds—but all for the purpose of getting very, very practical.


New episodes are published in essay form every Thursday at explorewhatworks.com. Get the delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge, by subscribing to What Works Weekly: explorewhatworks.com/weekly

If you’d like to learn more about how we can approach life and work differently, check out my book, What Works. I explore the history and cultural context that’s led us to this success-obsessed, productivity-oriented moment. Then I guide you through deconstructing those messages and then rebuilding a structure for work-life that works.
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What is What Works?

"Work" is broken. We're overcommitted, underutilized, and out of whack. But it doesn't have to be this way. What Works is a podcast about rethinking work, business, and leadership as we navigate the 21st-century economy. When you're an entrepreneur, independent worker, or employee who doesn't want to lose yourself to the whims of late-stage capitalism, this show is for you. Host Tara McMullin covers money, management, culture, media, philosophy, and more to figure out what's working (and what's not) today. Tara offers a distinctly interdisciplinary approach to deep-dive analysis of how we work and how work shapes us.