Against our own interests

What makes people adopt something new?

Against our own interests
There are food photos in my iCloud that make me happy every time I see them.

As I continue to explore the Product/ Market matching of HouseHeld, I find myself thinking a lot about what motivates people to adopt something new.

The world is full of "better ways of doing things". Project management tools, kitchen gadgets, ways to get healthy, ways to be happier.

But almost none of them get adopted and become the new normal.

Indeed, as often as not, people seem to fall over themselves for products and services that play actively against their "best interests".

What's most interesting for me about this is how commonly these provide a synthetically satisfying, but ultimately unfulfilling, version of things we want or need as humans.

The bag of crisps feels like eating – even like EXTREME eating with its big crunch, punchy flavours and powerful calorific delivery. But it's not exactly food. [1]

The social media scrolling and posting feels like socialising – but you are in fact on your own, talking to yourself.

Tools are supposed to be what make us human. Instead, these services get so good at the satisfaction layer that they make humans into tools to create money.

Thinking about the product I'm designing currently, so much of the advice is about this. How do you create a relationship between product and market that is so compelling that your growth turns to a hockeystick. Change whatever you need to change to get there.[2]

But (and this might sound stupid) I think the world is about more than just giving people what they want. If you're going to make something, and want people to use it, I think you have a responsibility not to lose sight of what people really need.

I've decided on a slightly oblique exercise to get around this: doing a little product exploration around a topic that really doesn't immediately scratch an itch. Something people REALLY don't want to think about or confront. It doesn't immediately make them feel good. But it's something everyone would be a little better off confronting.

I'm working on death.


  1. And don't get me started on Huel. ↩ī¸Ž

  2. A podcasting company becomes a micro-blogging service ↩ī¸Ž