The Billion Dollar Mind Trick: An Intro to Triggers

Note: I’m proud to have co-authored this post with Jason Hreha, the founder of Dopamine, a user-experience and behavior design firm. He blogs at

Internal triggers are key to building widely-adopted productsYin asked not to be identified by her real name. A young addict in her mid-twenties, she lives in Palo Alto and, despite her addiction, attends Stanford University. She has all the composure and polish you’d expect of a student at a prestigious school, yet she succombs to her habit throughout the day. She can’t help it; she’s compulsively hooked.

Why Everyone Hates I.T. People

We hate the I.T. department because of the lack to create innovationQuick: what’s the biggest bottleneck in your company? Yup, we both know it’s the Information Technology department. Let’s face it, nobody likes IT people. For all of their technical wizardry, IT is where good ideas go to die. We follow their onerous documentation requirements and patiently wait in line through endless backlogs, yet somehow IT still can’t seem to get their work done.

Hating the IT department is a common sentiment in almost every company big enough to have such a group. But the truth is,

Hooking Users In 3 Steps: An Intro to Habit Testing

Habit Testing The truly great consumer technology companies of the past 25 years have all had one thing in common: they created habits. This is what separates world-changing businesses from the rest. Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter are used daily by a high proportion of their users and their products are so compelling that many of us struggle to imagine life before they existed.

But creating habits is easier said than done.

Abolish The Reference Check

Performing a reference check won't help you hire exceptional employees

It’s time to abolish the reference check. The unpleasant process of calling up a job applicant’s former boss to gab about the candidate’s pluses and “deltas” is just silly. Maybe if we all just agree to stop doing it the practice will go away, like pay phones and fanny packs. Instead, I’ve learned a better way to hire that leverages a universal human attribute—namely, the fact that we’re all lazy.

What’s my beef with reference checks?

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