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Nir And Far: Business, Behaviour and the Brain

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Nir And Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal.

Nir And Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal.
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Nir And Far, a podcast about business, behaviour and the brain by Nir Eyal.




Marketplaces & The Curse of the Network Effect-Nir&Far

Marketplace businesses exist to connect two or more parties, typically the buyers and the sellers. Investors love these marketplace businesses because they tend to grow quickly and spawn winner-take-all companies. A long line of successful Silicon Valley startups have found success providing a place for people to connect and transact. Examples of these kinds of companies include industry titans like eBay and LinkedIn but also include some of today’s web darlings like Uber and AirBnB. You...


The Secrets of Addictive Online Auctions-Nir&Far

Nir’s Note: This guest post was authored by Lisa Kostova Ogata, one of the first product managers at Farmville and a VP of Product at (sold to LinkedIn). While at Zynga, Lisa learned how to shape user behavior, but in this essay she describes her surprise when she found herself unexpectedly hooked. I don’t consider myself a gambler. I’m the person who places a minimum bet at the roulette table with the specific intent of getting a free drink — after all, it’s cheaper than buying...


The Power of No-Nir&Far

Nir’s Note: Is “no” the most powerful word in the English language? In this guest post Chikodi Chima explores the power of no and what happens when people say, “No.” Chikodi is a former VentureBeat staff reporter who helps startups with their public relations and marketing. His blog is PR Tips For Startups and he is @Chikodi on Twitter. Sirens were beautiful creatures from Greek Mythology who lured sailors to their death. The power of their song was so irresistible it would cause captains...


“Yes, And”: The Two Words that Created a #1 App-Nir&Far

Nir’s Note: In contrast to last week’s post on the power of saying “no,” Eric Clymer shares how a creative attitude helped his team build a #1 ranked app. Eric was the lead developer of the “A Beautiful Mess” app and is a Partner at Rocket Mobile. In improv comedy, there are really only two words that matter: “Yes, and.” You share a premise, form a scene, create a character, and if everything works out right, kill the audience. Then, you try and do it again with another, “Yes, and.” You...


Variable Rewards: Want To Hook Users? Drive Them Crazy-Nir&Far

In advertising, marketers reinforce a behavior by linking to the promise of reward. “Use our product,” they claim, “and you’ll get laid”; it’s the gist of many product pitches from soap to hamburgers. But online, feedback loops aren’t cutting it. Users are increasingly inundated with distractions, and companies find they need to hook users quickly if they want to stay in business. Today, companies are using more than feedback loops. They are deploying the Hook Model. You can read the Nir...


This Will Be the Last Article You Read-Nir&Far

If the Internet had a voice, I am fairly certain it would sound like the HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. “Hello Nir,” it said to me in its low, monotone voice. “Glad to see you again.” “Internet, I just need a few quick things for an article I’m writing,” I’d reply. “Then it’s back to work. No distractions this time.” You can read the Nir and Far blog post on: This Will Be the Last Article You Read Nir & Far, a...


This Simple Equation Reveals How Habits Shape Your Health, Happiness, and Wealth-Nir&Far

Nir’s Note: This guest post is by James Clear. James writes at, where he share ideas for mastering personal habits. Join his free newsletter here. In 1936, a man named Kurt Lewin wrote a simple equation that changed the way we think about habits and human behavior. Known today as Lewin’s Equation, this tiny expression contains most of what you need to know about building good habits, breaking bad ones, and making progress in your life.Let’s talk about what we can learn from...


The Unbelievable Future of Habit-Forming Technology-Nir&Far

Nir’s Note: Jane McGonigal is a game designer at The Institute for the Future and bestselling author of Reality is Broken and SuperBetter. She’ll be speaking at the upcoming Habit Summit in April. (You can register here!) In this interview with Max Ogles, McGonigal discusses impact of future technologies on behavior, habits, and the way we design products. Q: You recently worked on a project designed to visualize the future of technology. The idea was that using some future,...


The Secret Marketing Power of Evolutionary Psychology-Nir&Far

Nir’s Note: Gad Saad is a professor of marketing at Concordia University and the author of The Consuming Instinct. He’ll be speaking at the upcoming Habit Summit in April. (You can register here!) In this interview with Max Ogles, Saad discusses the role of evolutionary psychology in modern marketing. Q: Let’s start with a simple question: What is evolutionary psychology?Gad Saad: Evolutionary psychology is applying evolutionary theory to understand the human mind. Evolution is typically...


The Real Reason You’re Addicted to Your Phone-Nir&Far

Nir’s Note: This guest post by Avi Itzkovitch offers some clues as to why we can’t seem to put our cell phones down. Avi (@xgmedia) is an Independent User Experience Consultant. He is currently working from his Tel-Aviv Studio XG Media. Do you constantly check your smartphone to see if you’ve received messages or notifications on Facebook? Does your phone distract you from your studies or work? Do your friends, parents, children, or spouse complain that you are not giving them enough...


The Psychology of Notifications: How to Send Triggers that Work-Nir&Far

Nir’s Note: This post was co-authored with Ximena Vengoechea. Ximena is a design researcher at Twitter and will be speaking at this year’s Habit Summit. In his famed experiments, Ivan Pavlov trained his dogs to associate mealtime with the ring of a bell. Pavlov found he could elicit an involuntary physical response in his dogs with a simple jingle. Every time his bell rang, the dogs began to salivate.Today, the beeps, buzzes, rings, flags, pushes, and pings blasting from our phones prompt a...


The Number One Reason Good Habits Don't Last-Nir&Far

Nir’s Note: This guest post is written by Max Ogles. Max writes at about behavior change, psychology, and technology. Sign up for a free copy of his upcoming e-book, “9 Ways to Motivate Yourself Using Psychology and Technology." A commonly quoted and incredibly scary stat reveals that 9 out of 10 people who undergo heart bypass surgeries as a result of poor health are unable to change their habits, even with their lives on the line.We’ve all failed at something, though luckily...


The Next Secrets of the Internet - Nir&Far

Right now, someone is tinkering with a billion dollar secret — they just don’t know it yet. “What people aren’t telling you,” Peter Thiel taught his class at Stanford, “can very often give you great insight as to where you should be directing your attention.”Secrets people can’t or don’t want to divulge are a common thread behind Thiel’s most lucrative investments such as Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as several other breakout companies of the past decade. The kinds of truths Thiel...


The Mind-Hack I Used to Help My Father Lose Weight

When my family immigrated to the United States in 1981, my father weighed 185 pounds. He came chasing the American dream but got more than he expected. Along with a new, more prosperous life for his family, he also acquired some bad habits.For one, he took up smoking because, as he sheepishly admits, “that’s what business people here did back then.” And to ward off the boredom of long car rides between sales calls, he began eating American-made junk food.Eventually, he stopped smoking....


The Future is Driven by Interface Changes-Nir&Far

Nir’s Note: In this guest post Ryan Hoover takes a look at how interface changes drive innovation. Ryan blogs at and you can follow him on Twitter atrrhoover What do motorized vehicles, broadband internet, and smartphones have in common? These technologies all introduced new forms of user interface, transforming its user’s daily lives and behaviors.I’ve been studying Nir Eyal’s work and recently read his article on the power of interface changes. You can read the Nir and Far...


The Billion Dollar Mind Trick: An Intro to Triggers-Nir&Far

Note: I’m proud to have co-authored this post with Jason Hreha, the founder of Dopamine, a user-experience and behavior design firm. He blogs at Yin asked not to be identified by her real name. A young addict in her mid-twenties, she lives in Palo Alto and, despite her addiction, attends Stanford University. She has all the composure and polish you’d expect of a student at a prestigious school, yet she succombs to her habit throughout the day. She can’t help it; she’s...


The Behavioral Economics Diet: The Science of Killing a Bad Habit-Nir&Far

Diets don’t work. Studies show that temporary fixes to old habits actually make people gain weight. Essentially, the dieter’s brain is trained to gorge when off the diet and inevitably the weight returns. In my previous essay, I shared the story of my father’s struggle with bad eating habits. He had put on weight over the last few decades and despite several attempts, he had trouble taking it off. In his late 60s he faces pre-diabetes and a daily ritual of taking a handful of pills. You...



How do products tempt us? What makes them so alluring? It is easy to assume we crave delicious food or impulsively check email because we find pleasure in the activity. But pleasure is just half the story. Temptation is more than just the promise of reward. Recent advances in neuroscience allow us to peer into the brain, providing a greater understanding of what makes us want. You can read the Nir and Far blog post on: Temptation Nir & Far, a podcast...


Strange Sex Habits of Silicon Valley-Nir&Far

My wife put our daughter to bed, brushed her teeth, and freshened up before bed. Slipping under the covers, we exchanged glances and knew it was time to do what comes naturally for a couple on a warm night in Silicon Valley. We began to lovingly caress–but not each other, of course. She began to fondle her cell phone, while I tenderly stroked the screen of my iPad. Ooh, it felt so good. If our nightly habits were any indication, we were having a love affair with our gadgets instead of each...


Stop Building Apps, Start Building User Behaviors-Nir&Far

Do you get the feeling apps are getting dumber? They are, and that’s a good thing. Behind the surprising simplicity of some of today’s top apps, smart developers are realizing that they’re able to get users to do more by doing less. A new crop of companies is setting its sights on changing user behaviors; the small behaviors in your life, hoping to reap big rewards. They’re using the best practices of interaction design and psychology to build products with your brain in mind. Here’s how...