This category contains 24 posts

Tips to Making Great Data Products

Don’t try to be too clever. Simple, straightforward approaches beat cleverness 9 times out of 10. Start with something simple, then make it more complex if needed. Don’t start with something complex and then simplify. The hardest part of data science is getting good, clean data. Cleaning data is often 80% of the work. Try … Continue reading

How to Create Products that Facilitate Long-Term Behavior Change

Understand the user’s mindset: It is especially important to understand the mindset that individuals are in, as it shapes how they respond to your application. These different facets of self can be selectively activated, and shape our behavior in different contexts. Similarly, if a product can change how a person sees herself (i.e., her self-concept), … Continue reading

Four Steps to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

From: “ HOW TO KEEP YOUR RESOLUTIONS  By KATHERINE L. MILKMAN and KEVIN G. VOLPP, January 3, 2014, NY Times     1. Make a concrete plan. When you do so, you both embed your intentions firmly in memory (which reduces forgetting) and make it harder to postpone good behavior, since doing so requires breaking an explicit commitment to … Continue reading

Human Behavior and the Unconscious Mind

extracts from John A. Bargh, Scientific American, (Jan 2014) 32-37 The ability to regulate our own behavior depends on more than genes, temperament, or social support. It also hinges on our capacity to identify and overcome automatic impulses and emotions. “Snap” (subconscious) judgements of others allow us to make decisions about how we will act … Continue reading

The Human Animal

Notes from Prof. Robert Sapolsky’s talk at the Being Human 2013 seminar last week in San Francisco. Humans: – Are just like any animal, in certain ways – Have the same basic design, but novel use, in other ways – Have certain features that have no animal precedent Like Any Animal “the Wellesley effect” Socially … Continue reading

The Hormonal Predicates of Romantic Love

From the research of Doctor Helen Fisher As presented at the Being Human 2013 conference There are three fundamental hormones that drive human love, sex and affection: Sex Drive – testosterone Romantic Attraction – dopamine, norepinephrine (seratonin) Attachment – oxytocin, vasopressin These three endocrine systems are interrelated: triggering one (e.g. dopamine) can trigger another (testosterone). … Continue reading

What is Consciousness?

Notes from Charlie Rose Special on Consciousness Patricia Churchland: The historical description of consciousness started with Descartes: – Physical body – Non-physical soul It is the soul that has creativity, perception and reason, Descartes argued. In the 1800s, Von Helmholz postulated that: – It is all physical (the brain) – otherwise the law of conservation … Continue reading

Methods for Creating Long-Term Behavior Change

Health Belief Model The health belief model stipulates that a person’s health-related behavior depends on the person’s perception of four critical areas: the severity of a potential illness, the person’s susceptibility to that illness, the benefits of taking a preventive action, and the barriers to taking that action. The model also incorporates cues to action … Continue reading

How Copenhagen became the greenest city in the world (and you can, too)

From McKinsey’s “How to make a city great”   Copenhagen Building for the environment The city of Copenhagen has invested substantially in green infrastructure and is now ranked the most sustainable city in Europe, according to Siemens’ European Green City Index. Energy. Each district has a centralized heating system that takes waste heat from electricity … Continue reading

How to Make Good Decisions

(From Dan Heath, author of Decisive: How to make better choices in life and work)  Multitrack your options when you are facing a difficult decision. (Having multiple options leads to better decisions.)   When you consider multiple things simultaneously, you’re actually learning a lot about the shape of the problem —the important factors involved—and that knowledge … Continue reading