Mindreading 101

A mind trick is a trick, which can be used to confuse people. The following mind trick, which I used, happened in the real world. I changed the names of the mobile provider on purpose in this real tale.

A Tale of Two Techies
Once upon a time I had a phone call with a programmer of a supplier. He excused himself for being unreachable. I asked him:
“Are you in Rotterdam?”
[Immediately; strong voice] “Yes.”
“Are you using UVWXYZ [mobile provider]?”
[A little hesitation; normal voice] “Yes.”
“Do you use an Android phone?”
[Long hesitation; trembling voice] “Yes.”

The end

Breakdown
The weekend before I had problems with my mobile phone. So I called my mobile provider. There was a problem in Rotterdam. I asked how I could be reached on my Android phone. Then the customer service agent gave me instructions, how to configure my phone.

When I talked with the programmer, I knew that he was in the office. As a thumb of rule people, whose office is close by the customer’s site, are assigned to a project. Rotterdam was my best guess. Then UVWXYZ became the plausible cause of his unreachability.

The last question was my best guess. Programmers like to tweak things; Android phones are highly tweakable.

Now comes the worst part of my analysis. I really wanted to help this man: tester’s honour. As a tester I provide information to people to let them make an informed decision or perform an informed action. I only get information by asking.  But with my fast moving questions I frightened the man.

At the end of the phone call I had helped the programmer. He could use his mobile phone again.

Tips

  • Score three times yes in a row for unrelated questions and people start freaking out.
  • Put your victim at ease..
  • Be mindful on things happening around you. Especially people.