February 1, 2023

The negativity loop

After leaving social media for over a year, I realized that one of the worst aspects of it is that it rewards you for being negative. Every complaint, gripe and grumble can be a piece of content. Complaining about something makes you look and feel like someone who knows better.

It’s an easy trap to fall into. You complain about something, people agree with you and you feel good. Since there’s always something to complain about, we’re all sitting on a cornucopia of hot takes that we can help ourselves to endlessly.

I’ve been there myself. Now that I’m back on (parts of) social media, I’m actively trying to be more positive, constructive and understanding. Shouting never-ending criticism into an endless void of an approving audience doesn’t cut it anymore. Neither as an author, nor as a consumer of such content.

November 22, 2022

Good Friction

This is a great thread on how Duolingo added a step to their onboarding experience that did nothing but put the user in the right mindset to learn. They let people pick a streak goal to challenge themselves. No matter if users picked 3 or 30 days, the app didn’t actually save the data nor did it do anything with the selection.

Apparently this still resulted in a “huge” retention win. Stuff like this is my favourite kind of A/B testing. It’s not just a different shade of green that performs slightly better but a whole layer of human psychology that got revealed and used to create a win/win situation for user and company.

By the way: I did not expect much from it, but Atomic Habits is a good read. It’s not mindblowing in any way but also not as shallow as I expected.