Session notes: Tara Hunt – Happiness as business model

These are the notes from Tara’s Wednesdays Workshop at the Thinking Digital conference. I’ve also included her SlideShare slides. They’re mostly here so I’ll be able to search my blog later for these fascinating ideas.

Adam SmithThe Wealth of Nations, the invisible hand is not invisible anymore. The Web 2.0 is driving the fact that anybody can be a publisher, the customers are your custmers and your custmers are having conversations online. Different technologies help us with raising our voices.
We get to have a voice while hanging out with friends.
Econimics is trying to figure out how the conversations are working. Homo-economicus concept vs. Homo-Feelgoodnomicous – you just can’t build prediction models for him. The key to making him feel good, is happiness.

Why does happiness matter to business? 7 reasons for that:
1. Happy customers talk to more people about their positive experience
2. Unhappy people talk to the most people about their negative experiences
3. Happy customers are also repeat customers
4. Happy customers will pay more for an awesome experience
5. Happy customers are loyal
6. Happy customers will drive your marketing for you
7. Happy employees are more productive, create and loyal

Happiness is lots of stuff to lots of people. There are four pillars to happiness:
1. Autonomy
2. Competence
3. Relatedness
4. Self-esteem

Wine-library TV – very positive guy, where he has a very high set-point for confidence levels and happiness.


Image from Flickr

So, the question is – what works against the happiness?
– Fear (ignorance, misinformation, insecurity, etc.)
– Confusion (paradox of choice (Barry, book), noise ratio, lack of clear information, etc.)
– Loneliness (isolation, distrust of others, fear of rejection, etc.)
– Lack of control
– Struggle for survival

Maslows hierarchy of needs.’s_hierarchy_of_needs

The Axis of Misery:
– Can rental companies (happy:
– Airlines (happy: southwest)
– Telcos (happy: skype)
they are very consistent in making their customers feel bad.

Business idea: the bar is set amazingly low, so there are lots of opportunities to make this a happy experience and earn money in the process.
Happiness pattern in these happy companies: no hidden costs, being upfront about the costs and making customers feel like they matter.

Being aware of basic principles of happiness, being agents for them and be aware of them when building tools/companies/services.

1. Give people tools to personalize their experiences
2. Building tools that democratize previously inaccessible industries
3. Offer clear and attractive choices
4. Be open and transparent
5. Don’t lock people in

1. Create flow … simple entry point to more complex systems
2. Allow ways for mentors to interact with newbies (create rewards)
3. Build consecutive levels of achievement into the experience
4. Plant ‘easter eggs’
5. Don’t talk down to your customer

Achieving flow:
– Skills acquired along the way
– Clear goals
– Feedback provided along the way
– User control
– Facilitate concentration and involvement by making the activity as distinct as possible from so-called reality

1. Build in multiple ways for customers to interact
2. Have many collaborative experiences
3. Create simple ways for customers to share with a friend
4. Design for generosity
5. Create online/offline meeting experiences

Interesting books mentioned:
“The Flow state”

“Why we Love”

“Once you’re lucky, twice you’re good”

“The stumbling on happiness”

“Stumbling on happiness” (economics + psychology)

“Martin Seligman – Positive psychology”; why are we looking at the bad stuff, not what makes us happy

Lessons learned

I also posed a question, weather the presented case studies (moleskin, flickr, etc.) are anomalies or actually achievable by others. The answer to this was that it’s “all in the personalities”. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad news, but it seems to be achievable if we decide to change in this direction.

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