Tag / amateur

Nir’s Note: This guest post is by Auren Hoffman, the CEO of LiveRamp in San Francisco. This essay is a bit different from the normal subject matter on the blog but I hope it will stir some discussion about which of our personal habits are worth improving. Connect with Auron on Twitter at @auren or on Facebook.

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To really differentiate yourself in this winner-take-all world, you should be focusing on improving your strengths, not your weaknesses.

Most people who set out to improve themselves focus on their faults.  For example, here’s Bridget Jones’ list:

“Resolution number one: Obviously will lose twenty pounds. Number two: Always put last night’s panties in the laundry basket. Equally important, will find sensible boyfriend to go out with and not continue to form romantic attachments to any of the following: alcoholics, workaholics, commitment phobics, peeping toms, megalomaniacs, emotional wits or perverts.”

My talk at the  Silicon Valley Quantified Self Meetup at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The two most important slides:

Full slide deck here – Knowing Your Behavior Type – Quantified Self meetup
NOTE: If you are reading this over email and you don’t see the video, click here.

 

Note: This post originally appeared in Techcrunch. I’m proud to have co-authored this post with Katy Fike, PhD.  Dr. Fike is a gerontologist, systems engineer and Partner at Innovate50, a consulting firm helping companies create products and services for the 50+ market

As web watchers, entrepreneurs, and investors search for the next big thing, they’d be wise to focus on innovations that can be easily adopted by technology novices. A recent string of companies, including Groupon and Pinterest, have found success outside the early-adopter digerati by building products simple enough to be used by just about anyone. Designing with tech novices in mind can mean the difference between staying niche and going mainstream. Here are three principles for designing software for people Silicon Valley too often disparagingly calls “normals.”

Note: I’m proud to have co-authored this post with my good friend Charles Wang.  Charles is a co-founder of LUMOback, a former classmate, and an accomplished psychiatrist.  He brings a great perspective to the art of Behavior Engineering.

Here’s the gist:

  • Forming a new habit requires a unique set of techniques.
  • Training to become an expert has a completely different methodology than becoming an amateur.
  • Using the wrong technique will doom your good intentions.

Today’s top selling books are about how to acquire world-class skill. Daniel Coyle’s, The Talent Code looks at how deliberate practice is required to achieve greatness.  Joshua Foer shows us how we must smash past performance plateaus to be any good.  Worse, Tim Ferris’s 4-Hour series is doing for hipsters what crash diets do for teenage girls, making promises of quick transformations.