How To Influence “The Big Boss”

I have convinced people at Red Bull to spend money on social media ads and also convinced Nike to run ads against the players instead of against the central brand. I was using the data’s reasoning by actually spending time analyzing the data, not printing charts, and not using more tools.

I did almost all of this with no tools, except the most important tool, which is the one between your ears that’s MAA.

I am curious to see what you will think about the influence.

What Is MAA? ( Metrics, Analysis & Action)

It’s a three-phase way to solve problems or convince people, but you’re using logic so that they have to agree that this is the right thing to do.

  1. Metrics: Here’s what the figures are.
  2. Analysis: We diagnose the situation to be, and then
  3. Action: This is what we need to do.

How MAA Works?

Let me give you a better example.


When I was working at American Airlines, we had an issue where many people were coming to the website. Back then, people weren’t sure they were getting the best price. And every time someone checked the price, it cost us a penny because of all the servers and other things involved.

MAA Process


So we started just tracking up these huge expenses. I had a million dollars a month at the expense of people coming to the website and just checking flights. Imagine that there are all these people coming that. So initially, we were successful because, like all these, people are coming to the website.

So if you give them 10,000 miles and another thousand miles, that is not enough. But if you give them 5,000, that’s a quarter of the way towards another ticket. They would earn enough for another ticket if they did it four times.


We just needed to offer a first-time booking bonus. I printed out the charts and showed how this graph was so everyone could see it. I called a meeting. And people came into the room, and I printed out these papers and gave them to everybody.

And I said, “Everybody, let’s talk about the right incentive we should offer.” 

First off, I didn’t say let’s cover what my idea is. What about Mike’s idea? What about Braden’s idea?

Then I showed them the data and went through metrics, analysis, and action. And I went through each of these cases. And the analysis is because people who book the first time will continue to buy.


We need to get people into the thing once and give them some incentive. And the incentive economically has to make sense. So $35 to get someone to book. The first time is not bad because we’re paying $50 as our travel agency commission. So we’re still saving money. And if they continue to buy through us, we’re paying no commission because every time they book through the travel agent, they have to pay that commission.

We have to pay the commission to the travel agency every single time. And then I made a little guesstimate. I said, of all the people coming in, maybe 200,000, 300,000 people a day to the website, and they’re just doing fair quotes, and it’s costing us money. So we’re saving money versus the other channels.

There’s someone from reservations who runs the call center, they were in the room, and they said, “But we could just run them through reservations cuz people can just call the phone number.”

And I said, “But there are many people that don’t wanna call the phone number because of the internet, or for various reasons, they just rather just do it on the internet.”

For MAA, You Need Data

I came up with that idea, and the other airlines copied it. That’s an application of using MAA. It doesn’t require you to put together this whole analysis; whatever it’s, you can use MAA all the time in this lightweight way to analyze.

 People have to take your recommendations if they’re logical because you can, from the recommendation, be logically chained to the analysis. And then, the analysis is tied to the data.


In the last 25 years, I’ve learned that whoever has the closest control of the data owns the whole decision-making process.

Because from the data, we have the analysis, and no one can challenge our analysis because we have the best access to the data. They’d have to challenge us on the data. Whoever’s the data can do the analysis. Whoever’s the analysis can make the recommendations. So I have done this a hundred times inside the largest of companies.

What is Decision Making

If you think of decision-making, you’re stuck in the middle of a dark room and don’t know where to go. Data is like shining a light on your surroundings. And if you can control that, people are going to go where the light is shining.

If you believe in this idea of MAA, which is this logical way of solving problems, you should own that data. And this idea of who owns the accounts and the data in smaller businesses. People never really think of that as an important issue.

Status sharing

Imagine you have something like a weekly status report or some update. But are you doing it in such a way that every time you give that update, you also say,

  • This is what I have done,
  • This is what I will be doing next, and
  • Here’s where I need your help so I can do my job.

Where you guys have to help me, you need to talk to somebody because they’re not cooperating, or you need to give me money, or I need to hire a VA, or here are the things I need to do my job. That way, these three are linked together. If you make the request and it’s not based on your goals, what, and what you’re trying to do, it doesn’t mean anything.

How to Cope Up with Hippos in Your Organization

You’re not trying to fight the hippo because the hippo’s bigger than you, and they’ll squash you. You’re like a deer, and they’re the hippo you put in place this framework of MAA.

Showing ReportsAnd you say now, for example, start with reporting. So reporting shows this is how many impressions we had. This is how many clicks and phone calls you have; that’s reporting. That’s the first step of MAA because it’s just metrics, any reports.

That’s just metrics, and you put those metrics out there. And so you feed all the hippos, those metrics because the hippos who are the big bosses don’t want to be in the little weeds and details. They want to know the numbers, so they can provide their opinion, which is great.

  1. Listen To Their Opinion

You’ll then listen to their opinion. It doesn’t mean you’ll act upon the recommendation, but you’ll acknowledge it. You’ll understand it. You know how, there’s a way where you can reflect an understanding, active listing, reflect that you understand what they’re saying without necessarily agreeing or saying that, okay, we’re going to do that. You acknowledge an understanding of what this thing is and that you will analyze it.

  1. Put the Frame Work

They carry more authority, but when you put in place this logical frame, this is why I’m saying, you than you, but you must put this thing in place first. So people respect you because if it’s on your territory, you will win. If it’s their territory on going out for martinis and who knows who and how many years you’d be like, you will lose that game.

You play the game on your field, where you win. Then if to reinforce this, you also want to have authority. Now you feel that you can implement. Is there anything you need for me to be able to implement this?

I have been preaching this framework to agencies, corporate officials, and young adults I have yielded amazing results. This framework is part 9-Triangles.

Dennis Yu

About the Author

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads.  He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations.

You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.

You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.