Do We Know What We Are Doing With The Internet Of Things?

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This is our first episode we recorded for the HumanTech podcast. It’s about the confusion we seem to have about how to design products that communicate on their own — the internet of things.

HumanTech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Posted in design Tagged with: , , ,

The Buying Brain

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Is there anything specific that triggers the “buy” decision? Can you predict whether and when someone will buy? In this HumanTech podcast episode we talk about the research on the “buy” decision in the brain.

HumanTech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Posted in decision-making, psychology Tagged with: , ,

Will We Trust Driverless Cars?

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What will it take for humans to be willing to give up control of the wheel? In this HumanTech podcast episode we talk about how the interaction design of a driverless car affects whether or not we trust the car’s decisions.

HumanTech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Posted in design, persuasion, psychology Tagged with: ,

Your Brain On Stories

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Why does a good story grab us?  In this HumanTech podcast episode we talk about what happens in your brain when you hear a story, why stories are powerful, and which aspects of stories are the most effective if you want to grab and hold attention, and get people to react and engage.

HumanTech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Posted in psychology, stories Tagged with: ,

Any Cell Phone In The Room Messes With Rapport – (What You Need To Know About People #120)

cell phone on table at cafeYou are interviewing a candidate for a job in your department. You take your cell phone, turn it to “do not disturb” and place it face down on a side table several feet from where you and the candidate are sitting. This way you won’t be disturbed, and you’ve signaled to the other person that you are giving them your full attention and won’t be distracted by the phone.

Right? Well, maybe not.

Andrew Przybylski and Netta Weinstein studied how the presence of a cell phone affects the way people communicate with each other. Because people use their mobile devices to stay connected with people who are not in close proximity, it’s easy to build a conditioned response to the device and think of it as “everyone else.” As long as the cell phone is visible, even if it is on the other side of the room, it represents its owner’s social network. The whole social network is in the room. Which means that the phone will trigger thinking about other people and other events outside the immediate context, which will in turn divert attention away from the experiences that are occurring at the particular time and place.

Some of this may occur consciously, but some of this “not being present” occurs unconsciously. Social psychologists, including Przybylski and Weinstein, theorize that these devices can, therefore, have a negative impact on person-to-person relationships.

To research the idea, they ran two experiments. In the first experiment people who did not know each other were assigned to pairs, asked to leave all their personal belongings outside the room, and then told to “Discuss an interesting event that occurred to you over the past month,” for ten minutes. For half of the pairs, there was a mobile phone (not belonging to either person) on top of a book. The book was on a nearby desk, but not in the direct visual field of the participants. The other half of the pairs had the same room setup, but without a mobile phone.

After the ten-minute discussion, each participant individually filled out forms to measure things such as relationship quality, closeness, and positive affect.

The pairs that had been in the room with the mobile phone felt less close to each other, and rated the relationship lower than the pairs in a room without a cell phone present.

In the second experiment, some of the pairs were instructed to discuss their “thoughts and feelings about plastic holiday trees” (casual condition). Other pairs were instructed to discuss “the most meaningful events of the past year” (meaningful condition). The surveys were the same as in the first experiment, except some new surveys were added to measure trust and empathy.

When the mobile phone was in the room participants gave lower ratings on all the measures, including the new trust and empathy measures. But this effect was stronger in the meaningful condition pairs than the casual condition pairs.

The researchers concluded that simply placing the cell phone in the room interfered with the formation of a new relationship, and that the negative effect of the cell phone was stronger during a meaningful conversation.

So you and that candidate won’t bond as well if any phone is visible.

What to do? This may sound drastic, but if you want to establish great rapport then here are some takeaways:

  • When you’re establishing a new relationship with someone, don’t have a cell phone in view.
  • When you’re trying to deepen an interpersonal relationship or get someone to trust you, don’t have a cell phone in view.
  • When you’re in a meeting, model the behavior by not only turning off your cell phone, but actually putting it out of view.
  • When you’re running a meeting, ask everyone to turn off their cell phones and put them out of view.

What do you think? Does the presence of a cell phone change your conversations and rapport-building?

Here’s the research:

Przybylski, Andrew K., and Netta Weinstein. 2013. “Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, vol. 30 no. 3, 237-246.

If you liked this article, and want more info like it, check out my newest book: 100 MORE Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People.

Posted in behavioral science, psychology, social Tagged with: ,

The Science of Listening

Logo for HumanTech podcastHow well do we listen? What’s the science behind listening? Can you learn to be a better listener? Find out on this podcast episode on the Science of Listening.

HumanTech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Posted in communication, psychology Tagged with: , ,

Technology and Aging

Logo for HumanTech podcastWhat’s true and what’s myth about getting old and using technology? In this HumanTech podcast we talk about the research on older people using technology.

HumanTech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Posted in aging Tagged with: ,

How To Sell To Millennials

photo of Guthrie WeinschenkThis blog post is by Guthrie Weinschenk, COO of The Team W, Inc.

Full disclosure. I’m a Millennial. Guilty as charged.

I know we can be a finicky bunch. Certainly we do things “differently” than previous generations. Our methods of media consumption are different, so the traditional rules of media marketing were thrown out of the window for the most part maybe 5 years ago. But this is all old hat. I’m sure most people have read a dozen different articles about “marketing to Millennials” already. I’m hoping I can give you a fresh perspective you haven’t heard before (*hint* we’re poor).

The traditional narrative goes something like this:

  • Millennials need to express their opinions, so you need to go through the social media world.
  • Millennials have attention spans the length of a goldfish so in order to get their attention you need to be outlandish even, somehow get them to pay attention.
  • Etc… Etc…

I’m not saying this traditional narrative is wrong. There really are kernels of truth here, but they are often wrapped up in misunderstandings and stereotypes of those under 35. I know that many of my fellow Millennials out there reading this are very familiar with the eye roll that accompanies articles that write off their behavior because of their temperament: “Why Millennials Don’t Fit In At The Workplace/Have No Job Loyalty, etc…” (the end implication is always that they are lazy/spoiled/self-centered). I for one am heartened at the lack of those articles over the past two years as more Millennials have entered the workplace and the narrative is getting much more nuanced (and less eye-rolly).

Truths Of The Traditional Narrative

Social Media — It IS true that social marketing has been an effective way to get the attention (notice I said attention and not business) of Millennials. But that’s because that’s where we spend all of our time. Of course actually marketing to where your audience is spending time is going to be more effective. Ninety percent of all 18-29 year-olds use social medial (Pew: http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/10/08/social-networking-usage-2005-2015/). And if there’s anything we’ve learned from social media it’s that people of all generations love nothing more than to express their opinions online *aHem Trump*.

Attention Span — In “THE AGE OF SCREENS” people are being exposed to more things vying for their attention than ever. Eighteen to thirty-six year-olds consume 17.8 hours of social media per day.  (It’s mathematically possible because they often consume multiple sources at the same time: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2014/03/13/data-point-how-many-hours-do-millennials-eat-up-a-day/.) As a small footnote I researched if people were also exposed to more ads than in previous generations, but I couldn’t find a decent study proving that. But there is certainly more content. So yes, people in general, and especially younger people, are consuming media at a much faster pace. This does not prove, however, that Millennials are goldfish; res ipsa loquitur.

My Economic Narrative About Millennials

Raise your hand if you’ve been in this situation: You had an online marketing campaign in which people under 35 were the focus, or a significant cohort, but it did not go as well as you expected. And you were left thinking “I thought we had a good message. I thought we had a good product, but why didn’t it sell as predicted? Where were the conversions?” It may have even had great traction and views and social marketing likes.

Don’t blame yourself. It’s the economy stupid. Millennials are the poorest generation by a lot. Allow me to put this in perspective. Net worth is the amount of money you have minus all the money that you owe. The median net worth of someone under 35 is only $10,400/ (http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/09/04/it-only-takes-10400-to-be-richer-than-most-millennials/). Again, that’s the median. Many are probably negative. Just for comparison, net worth for those who are 35-44 is $46,700, 45-54 is $105,300, and those who are 65-74 is $232,100. Now it IS true that over time as you work and make more money you save more. But Millennials aren’t making money either. Check out this cool calculator to indicate what income percentile of Millennials you are in (http://fusion.net/story/41833/wealth-gap-calculator-are-you-in-the-millennial-one-percent/). If your average income is $50,000 you’re in the top 15%. At $30,000 you’re still in the top half (45th percentile).

The honest to god truth is that between soaring student debt amounts, the great recession, an anemic hiring market with little wage growth, and increases in other life goods (like healthcare), Millennials are just poor. And it explains so much of our behavior. Pirating music and movies? Poor. Flocking to free apps like social media? Poor. Liking Pabst Blue Ribbon? Poor. Living with your parents? Poor.

And the living with parents trend isn’t just about parents. It’s a seismic shift in how American family structures and the “unit’ work. The percentage of young adults living in their parents’ homes is 26%. But more importantly another 48% of Millennials are “doubled up” that is to say they live with an extra adult (roommate) who is not a spouse or unmarried partner. Only about 25% of Millennials are living either alone or in a traditional “nuclear” household arrangement (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/07/29/more-millennials-living-with-family-despite-improved-job-market/). Maybe it’s because we like having friends around. Or maybe it’s because we are too poor to buy houses. Home ownership for Americans under 35 is only 36%, the lowest level on record (started in 1982– http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/04/30/homeownership-for-millennials-declines-to-historic-lows). Now this isn’t to say we won’t spend money, we obviously do: on organic food, shaving clubs, or other things we feel passionate about. But we just don’t have as much of it to spend. So unless we can really be convinced it’s hard to make us hit the buy button.

So How Do I Sell To Millennials?

 animated gif of someone saying "Help me I'm poor"“Help Me I’m Poor” — My advice for success marketing to Millennials is to treat us like the poor cohort we are. It doesn’t necessarily mean we are cheap, but we are very sensitive to marketing pitches that allow us to spend less money and still live the American self-story we want to tell ourselves. And many of the successful marketing campaigns to younger adults do just this.

Dollar Shave Club (https://try.dollarshaveclub.com/try-the-club/), which just sold to Unilever for $1 billion, had great success with brash videos about how their factory-direct-over-the-internet model would save you money. Companies like Netflix have had great success appealing to “cord cutters” who want entertainment but do not want to pay for expensive cable. Spotify and other music streaming services have had great success catering to users who want all the music for a much lower price point. Then there is Casper Mattresses (https://casper.com/) for factory direct online mattresses, Uber, Lyft, or other rideshare services for cheaper taxis, and Airbnb for cheaper hotels. “Freemium” games have exploded, and I’m not just talking about apps, but also mainstream PC gaming including MOBAs (Dota 2, HoTS, LoL), and card games (Hearthstone).

More Millennials are cooking at home following the national trend. And while Millennials do eat out a lot, it’s mostly at cheap fast-casual places. Market researchers at The NPD Group found that young millennials spend an average of $1,240 a year at restaurants, while the average American spends $4,214 ( http://time.com/3749962/millennials-money-parents/ and https://dqydj.com/how-you-stack-up-to-other-americans-in-monthly-food-spending/).

The point is, if you want a successful sales pitch to Millennials SAVE THEM MONEY OR INCREASE VALUE.

Millennials Value Time More — Uh oh. I’m going to do some economic stuff. Feel free to turn away if you’re scared. I bet you’ve heard the phrase the “time-value of money”. Lucky for you I don’t want to talk about it. But I do want to talk about the “money value of time”. It’s pretty simple. There are only 24 hours in the day. Each minute of free time that a person has to spend is worth a certain dollar amount. What if I told you I could give you one extra minute right now to do nothing, or anything. Whatever you wanted. How much would you pay for that? One penny? $.50? A Dollar? $10? Whatever that number is, that’s your money value of time. And sure it changes if you have more free time or if you’re poor etc.  I don’t need to go into the nuances of what changes the number. My argument is that millennials have a higher value of their time than previous generations.

It’s why we can’t stand wasting time working at work, or work inefficiencies. It’s why we will go above and beyond to save time buying anything: grocery delivery (no more wasting time picking food up), and Amazon prime for everything and anything. Even if we could actually have the product faster by simply walking down the street to Walgreens, we’ll prefer to buy online. Anything we can do on a phone in two seconds instead of three, we’ll flock to: working from home, online banking, texting rather than a phone call, shortening “be right back” to brb. Think of all the minutes saved! We enjoy squeezing every last second out (as long as it isn’t too expensive). Our marginal utility per minute appears to be insanely high.

And what do we do with all this time? Idk. Watch Netflix or play video games or something. It doesn’t matter! The point is if you want a successful sales pitch to Millennials SAVE THEM TIME.

Tell A Story — This is more a general point. Like every generation Millennials love a great story and love to be part of something. If you can make them feel part of a team, that will sell.

Millennials Grew Up Online. They Don’t Trust You — As the first internet generation (Internet Gen 1.0 I call us), we grew up online with pedophiles and viruses and spam and clickbait at every turn. We have a very high guard. But if you can prove you have actual facts, and know what you’re talking about we’ll believe you.

A McCarthy Study found that of those aged 18-34, 84% “do not like or trust” all forms of advertising. As a personal anecdote for my work at The Team W, we find that Millennials actually respond really well to information presented by someone of any age, including Boomers, but only after you gain their trust with insights and facts.

My personal advice (I don’t have research on this, sorry) is to give Millennials substance without the filler to gain their trust. The message can be short, but just make sure it’s valuable.

Conclusion

I bet either you’ll never read this because you stopped reading, or if you are reading this, you just skimmed down to the bottom to read the conclusion. I won’t disappoint and I’ll be quick:

Millennials are poor and value time. Give them value, save them money, save them time, and tell a story with substance for best results.

Share this with everyone you know and hire me for speaking, consulting, or interviews by emailing info@theteamw.com.

Thanks, and all the best.

Guthrie Weinschenk

Posted in Generational Differences Tagged with: ,

Reading Is Weird

Logo for HumanTech podcastWe are born with the capability to speak, but not the capability to read. In this HumanTech podcast we look at the research on how the brain  “steals” resources in order to learn to read.

HumanTech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Posted in brain, reading Tagged with: , ,

A Vision Of Schooling, Education, And Technology

Logo for HumanTech podcastWhat’s your vision of what schools, education, and technology should be like? This episode is a “Part 2” to a previous HumanTech episode on education and technology.

HumanTech is a podcast at the intersection of humans, brain science, and technology. Your hosts Guthrie and Dr. Susan Weinschenk explore how behavioral and brain science affects our technologies and how technologies affect our brains.

You can subscribe to the HumanTech podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts.

Posted in schools, technology Tagged with: , ,

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