Guest Posts

The four types of personalities and why empathy matters when designing for habits

personality

If you understand yourself, what motivates you, what barriers you struggle with, you will know how to help yourself or your user build better habits. Laura Pereyra explains.

As human beings, we create habits to build healthier behaviors and more efficient lives. We make it a habit to wake up at 6am to work out or we intentionally block our email or social media through freedom to stay focused at work. Habits are the heuristics of the mind. They just help.

But what might help us build better and healthier habits? The answer is having the empathy to understand yourself or the user for whom you are designing a habit forming product for. It may also be about being empathetic towards yourself as well.

Think about it. There are apps like Facebook, which you check more than you check the weather. There is WhatsApp, which you constantly use to communicate with family and friends. And then there are apps like RunKeeper that work to help a user stay on track with training. All of these apps leverage the motivations that drive people. Using empathy to understand these motivations is something we take for granted but it is crucial to designing better and healthier habits.

At this year’s inaugural Habit Summit, Gretchen Rubin gave a great framework to understand the secret for making and breaking habits. Specifically, she mentions four types of personalities that respond to expectations in their own very unique ways: the upholder, the questioner, the rebel, and the obliger. According to Rubin’s observational and anecdotal research, most people fall into the questioner and obliger types. Some even have a mix of two of the general categories. Which one are you? Or which type of user are you trying to build a habit for?

1) The upholder

This is the user who is motivated by getting things done. They dislike letting other people down or letting themselves down. I can vouch for this type of personality because I have a tinge of upholder tendencies. If I set a goal for myself, I want to accomplish it.

For example, I used RunKeeper to help me keep track of my marathon training. Not only was I internally keeping myself accountable but I had an app that was reminding me every Saturday that I had to go on a 17 mile run (the external motivator). When you are building for upholders know that you may already be building a product that has very ambitious users.

2) The questioner

This kind of user likes to question everything. No really. They want good reasons for why they should do something and if they don’t agree with it the don’t give it the light of day. An app that feeds into this certain persona is Twitter. Why should you follow someone or a conversation? People follow funny celebrities because they say funny jokes or they follow CNN to stay on top of the latest news. There is a clear reason. If it’s worth it, there is the motivation to act and build a habit.

As a person who always questions why I should do things, I can relate because as I watch political conversations on Twitter, I want to know why I should follow certain politicians. Are they representing my state? Are they providing me with valuable information?

If I’m getting valuable information then I want to engage. Otherwise the habit to look back into a conversation is futile. Give these users a reason to engage in the habit that you want to form.

3) The rebel

This user is looking to defy rules and is motivated by their sense of freedom and self-determination. A great example is Apple. This company gave people the freedom to create by being the first personal computer. They wanted to bring computers into the home of the regular Joe and tell everyone that if they wanted to make something happen all they had to do was use Apple. It’s inspirational to the rebel motivations. If you don’t believe me, just rewatch the 1984 ad.

4) The obliger

Obligers like to be accountable and not let other people down. Facebook is a good example of a platform that helps people build habits because it creates an external accountability factor with friends. You announce that you want to have a goal and your friends can help keep you honest.

In fact, so many people have developed a habit of sharing and exploring their friends’ lives on facebook that a lot of people become afraid of checking it for fear of missing out.

Keep in mind that all of these examples are not based on hard science. However, it’s worth thinking about how being empathetic to the type of ways you or your user responds to expectations can help you design better.

As Nir Eyal puts it: “When you design for everybody, you end up designing for nobody.”

You have to build a habit or habit-forming product for a persona and have the empathy to understand what the barriers they face are and how they look for solutions.

So as you’re designing and building a new product or building a new habit, ask yourself, “what kind of motivators am I trying to satisfy? Where does the user I’m trying to help build a great habit go to solve their problems?

Whether a user is an upholder, a questioner, a rebel, or an obliger, learning how to be empathetic and knowing what motivates each personality can definitely help build better habit forming products.

About our ambassador // Laura Pereyra is a communications manager at a digital design agency in San Francisco. She loves connecting her love for politics, design thinking, tech, and women leadership. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. Follow her on @laurapereyra7.

Image credit: Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo

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Interviews

Hello Erin – our New York curator

erin

“I always thought I was crazy with the amount of side interests I like to pursue and projects I like to take on outside of work – until I moved here and realized I had found my tribe!”

After our beta launch in New York last June, it’s been so great to see the warm reception and organic uptake of The Fetch in the city. We now couldn’t be happier to share that Erin Greenawald will be our new curator in NY. Erin has been a subscriber since the beginning and by day, is an editor at career-loving startup The Muse. We took a few minutes to ask Erin about her background:

How did you end up where you are today? 

It all started when I dreamt of being an actress on broadway at age nine. While I haven’t stepped foot in the theater since I moved up to NYC almost a year ago, I managed to make it up here somehow. I wasn’t in love with what I was studying at school in DC so took a chance at a virtual internship in a different field with a startup while I finished my degree. Before I knew it I had a job offer from them (before I graduated – the dream!) and was asked to move to NYC ASAP. Since then I’ve been happily working as an editor helping give non-boring career advice by day at The Muse!

Why did you want to get involved with The Fetch?

Networking has never exactly been my thing – I’d generally prefer to be curled up on my couch with a good book or cooking with a friend. But when I moved here with almost no network to be seen, I knew I wanted to push myself to get out there and get to know the vibrant tech and startup community surrounding me. It’s been a wild ride so far, and I know I still have so many more fantastic people to meet – and I think The Fetch will really help take me to that next level.

What things excite you about our community right now? 

I’m so thrilled to get the chance to connect with so many different people – both in NYC and around the world – who are all passionate about getting the most out of their city that they can! I think everyone in The Fetch community is incredibly busy and interesting, but also very welcoming and excited to welcome others into the circle, which is something that really resonates with me.

What events do you recommend in NYC?

I like trying to find events that are a different format than your typical networking event (see above). So panels, hackathons, dinners – anything that’s not standing around mingling keeps me interested!

What’s your favourite thing about your city? 

I love that this city is always surprising me. I’m always reading about events or festivals or art exhibits or new concept bars or restaurants and thinking “that exists?!” But of course – it’s New York City. It really feeds into my love of trying new things, and they’re often things I didn’t even know I wanted to try.

What’s unique about NYC?

I always thought I was crazy with the amount of side interests I like to pursue and projects I like to take on outside of work – until I moved here and realized I had found my tribe! So may people have their main job (which is usually pretty cool in the first place) and then the company they’re trying to start on the side or the artistic interest that they manage to keep thriving in their free time. It’s such an inspirational and motivational group of people to be around.

Where can we find you in NYC? 

During the week Flatiron is my stomping grounds (the dog park in Madison Square Park is better than coffee breaks and I can’t wait for Madison Square Eats season). On the weekends, Brooklyn usually! Once the weather finally gets nicer you’ll likely see me at the Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market and Prospect Park almost every weekend.

How can we connect with you? 

Reach out on Twitter @erinacously or email erin@thefetch.org.

If you didn’t live in NYC, where would you be? 

I’ve always felt the pull of the west coast. Seattle or Portland may be in my future, though I’m a little worried about the rain!

Live in New York? Sign up to our weekly event-packed email digests now!

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Guest Posts

How meditation changes your world

FB ad meditate

As technology has become deeply intertwined in all aspects of our lives, it’s become increasingly more difficult to find space in between each moment. Dr Elise Bialylew talks to us about how mindfulness can change your life and the lives of others through her innovative fundraising challenge, Mindful in May.

Technology is developing exponentially, and at the click of a button we can access an infinite amount of information. With this privilege, comes the potential cost of information overload, increased distractibility and low-grade background anxiety as we try to keep on top of things.

With invisible umbilical cords connecting us to our devices, staying focused is an increasing challenge. Our attention buzzes around with the restlessness of a mosquito fluttering between, emails, Facebook, Twitter, and text messages. Many of us are suffering from what Dr. Ed Hallowell, specialist psychiatrist in ADHD, coined as Attention Deficit Trait. He describes it as “a condition induced by modern life, in which you’ve become so busy attending to so many inputs and outputs that you become increasingly distracted, irritable, impulsive, restless and, over the long term, underachieving. In other words, it costs you efficiency because you’re doing so much or trying to do so much, it’s as if you’re juggling one more ball than you possibly can.”

If we wish to remain healthy, happy and clear-minded we need to upgrade our “inner technology” to meet the demands of our increasingly complex world.

We are standing on the precipice of a potential paradigm shift with an exciting dialogue unfolding at the intersection of science, technology and the world of wisdom. Leaders in the field of science, technology and meditation are coming together at extraordinary gatherings like Wisdom 2.0 conference or the Mind and Life institute, to explore how we can bring more mindfulness into the digital age. There is a rapid growth of scientific research, revealing what the Buddhist monks have known for generations but couldn’t measure with machines: Meditation is a powerful tool for enhanced well-being and mental focus. Meditation teaches us how to use our inner technology to understand the workings of the mind and in so doing re-sculpt our brains for the better.

Meditation is not about becoming passive or giving up on your goals or future plans. In fact, it’s a perfect companion to developing your capacity to think more clearly, be more effective and find wiser solutions to challenging problems.

Leading companies in the world, including Google are offering mindfulness training to their employees, recognizing the benefits of meditation in supporting more clarity, innovation and productivity.

Science is supporting the fact that just two months of regular mindfulness meditation can have  significant benefits. When regularly practiced, meditation has been shown to increase our immune function, grow our prefrontal cortex (required for strategic thinking and problem solving), and possibly even protect against DNA damage caused by ageing (through increasing a protective enzyme, Telomerase).

To really benefit from meditation, the problem is you actually have to do it. Meditation commonly falls by the wayside for even the most enthusiastic amongst us. Just like physical exercise, bringing a habit of regular meditation into your life can be quite a challenge. So often it seems like there’s not enough time or we just “don’t feel like doing it”. The thing is there is research to suggest that even 10 minutes of meditation, five days a week can improve our attention and focus.

Sometimes we need support to follow through on our intentions. Having the support of others or doing something that helps us feel we’re making a meaningful difference in the world, can boost our motivation. This logic has fueled the creation  of Mindful in May, a one-month meditation campaign starting on May 1. Delivered online, it will teach you how to meditate and at the same time help bring clean water to those in developing countries. To date the Mindful in May global community has raised enough money to build water projects in Ethiopia and Rwanda helping transform the lives of thousands of people. You’ll get a one month meditation program including 10-minute guided meditations on a weekly basis, access to exclusive video interviews with global experts in the field of meditation, mind wellbeing and a daily dose of inspiration through curated internet links.

In the developed world most of us have our survival needs met, but it’s our minds that can cause so much of our suffering. The World Health Organization predicts that depression will be the second-leading cause of global disability burden by 2020. In the developing world, its something as basic as a lack of access to clean, safe water that causes so much suffering. Contaminated water is still one of the leading causes of disease and death in the developing world. Mindful in May addresses both of these issues by offering people a way to learn how to become masters rather than slaves to their minds, whilst helping to improve the lives of thousands of people living without access to safe drinking water. It’s ten minutes a day of meditation to create a clear mind for you and clean water for others.

The challenge starts on May 1 so register, donate and invite your friends or colleagues to create a meditation fundraising team to help bring clean water to those in need. Together, let’s see how far we can spread this Mindful Ripple.

 

About our contributor // Elise Bialylew is a doctor, coach and founder of Mindful in May, a one month online global mindfulness meditation campaign. Mindful in May has inspired thousands of people around the world to learn how to meditate, whilst raising money to build clean water wells in the developing world. www.mindfulinmay.org

Image credit: Rafaël Rozendaal

 

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Events

Event review: She Hacks – Australia’s first female-focused hackathon

She Hacks Melbourne - Yishan Chan Photography

Yishan Chan Photograph

Kat Loughrey recently caught up with She Hacks runner-up Jackie Antig, on her first-time hackathon experience.

If you somehow missed it, Melbourne recently played host to its first ever all female hackathon called She Hacks. Girl Geek Dinners ran the event with the aim of bringing together groups of women across different skill sets to engage in collaborative computer programming. The theme was ‘Communities & Neighbourhoods’ and each group was provided the space, and support via industry mentors, to develop and nurture an app concept in less than 24 hours. As a mentor, I was suitably impressed by the creativity, ideas and sheer determination by the teams to produce a high quality product and prototype within this tight timeframe.

Selling out within a week and with the participant’s donations going to One Girl, the event was definitely a huge success and a big win for local women in tech. It showcased just how many talented women there are locally – and generated positive media coverage in the process.

To ensure success within the teams, each group was required to include three different skill sets: think Hipster (designer), Hacker (programmer) and Hustler (marketing and business – growth hacker). The Fetch Community Ambassador Jackie Antig assumed the hipster role within her team, and shared with me her recommended tips and insights on presenting at a hackathon.

What inspired you to participate in She Hacks?

I’ve been wanting to participate at a hackathon for years, but I didn’t have the courage to before. I am a bit of a shapeshifter across product feature development, communication and design for technology but I only know how to do a couple meagre lines of code (that may change in the future). I had falsely assumed that you had to be a true-bred coder in order to be a successful participant at a hack. She Hacks did a particularly swell job at rolling out the welcome mat for all backgrounds.

Of course, the focus on supporting and promoting women in technology was the biggest draw. One of the roads to closing the gender gap in the sector is skill development. Another road is building up confidence by being challenged and overcoming the challenges in a wicked smart, supportive environment. Girl Geek Dinners Melbourne and She Hacks takes care of both ends.

In making your final pitch, each team only had three mins to present. How did you find this and working with the team, to pull a presentation together with limited time?

In the beginning we were quite ambitious about the amount of information we were going to fold into the pitch. Our early time trials proved we needed to pare down. We prioritised defining the problem statement clearly, our product prototype demo and the storyline about how it addressed the problem statement. We sacrificed the gory details about business forecasting and sustainability but had a feeling that the judges would likely tease those elements out in the question round.

There’s so much you could include but with limited time, what are the top five things you’d recommend that you should make sure to include in your presentation?

Problem, solution, empathy, feedback, and actionable idealism.

Identify a clear-cut problem, design a solution driven by empathy and test your assumptions. Display a sense of actionable idealism; dream up something wild but show you know how to break it up into realistic bite-sized pieces and steps.

I noticed that most groups used slides and visuals. What do you think are “must-haves” in the way of visuals for your presentation?

Minimalism and impact.

She Hacks had an impressive panel of judges (see list here). Knowing who they would be, did that change the way your team decided to present? What do you think the judges were looking for from the teams?

We kept their background separate from our approach. The three minute time limit was the cracking whip against our backs.

I would say they seemed to be evaluating feasibility and real-world application.

Best part of the pitch presentation?

The rush to get up and tell everyone about what we came up with.

Worst part of the pitch presentation?

The nagging feeling we forgot to mention something important.

Would you participate in a hackathon again where you need to present/pitch?

Absolutely! Already searching for the next one.

What advice would you give to others doing a hackathon for the first time and for women considering participating in next year’s She Hacks?

You have the chops!

She Hacks - Wake Up Dress Up team - Yishan Chan Photography

The ‘Wake Up Dress Up’ app team with their runner up awards – Quinnie Chen, Jude Gammie, Jackie Antig. (Image credit: Yishan Chan Photography)

Your team came second, congratulations! So what’s next for your app idea: ‘Wake Up Dress Up‘?

Thank you! We’re trying our best to follow through on actionable idealism. We will be doing a healthy dose of evaluating the morning routine needs of women and the current relationship-building models local fashion designers currently engage in with their customers through a combination of data gathering and ongoing conversation.

We also need a mobile developer on board. Drop a hello our way via Twitter if want to learn more or are interested in pitching in:

SheHacks 2014 Melbourne from Inspire9 on Vimeo.

Thanks to the She Hacks official photographer, Yishan Chan Photography, for the photos. See her full gallery here from the event.

About our Curator // Kat Loughrey is the Melbourne Curator of The Fetch, a community where professionals can discover and share what’s happening in their city. Originally from Brisbane, via Japan, Kat now lives in Melbourne – a digital content strategist by day and explorer of Melbourne’s digital/tech, arts and music scenes by night. Follow her on Twitter at @KatLoughrey & @thefetchMELB

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Guest Posts

11 ways to be awesome at your startup’s PR

press

Getting positive press coverage can be of huge benefit to any company. Copywriter and PR geek, Ash Anand, highlights key elements for achieving earned media for your new startup or business

A key principle of public relations is securing unpaid coverage in the media with the aim of getting brands noticed. It’s a cost-effective way of raising awareness of your product, gives your brand credibility and introduces your company to new potential customers or business partners.

But getting the media’s attention is no easy job. Which is why these important tips will help:

1. Get online

Launching a business without a website is like Homer without Marge, toast without Vegemite and trams without fare-dodgers.

You get the gist. Something’s amiss. If a journalist is going to write about your company, chances are they’ll include a link to your site for their readers. A great product championed by a brilliantly designed website and captivating copy is what will convert browsers into buyers.

A website designer or WordPress can help you with the look and feel, but the copy needs to stand out – after all, what you say and how you say it is what’s going to sell your business to potential customers.

Lots of small business owners make the mistake of writing their websites themselves, but hiring an experienced copywriter will not only make the words leap off the page, thereby engaging readers, but a great content writer can also optimize your site for search engines.

If your site’s easier for Google to find and the copy’s well-written enough to keep customers on the page, the upfront outlay will reap huge rewards for your business in the long run.

2. Prepare a public relations strategy

It’s crucial to have a PR strategy for your brand, clearly identifying your objectives and tactics. Outline a PR plan for the next 12 months, including your:

  • Audience
  • Key messages
  • Communication objectives
  • Spokespeople
  • Media angles, stunts or promotions you have in mind

Your PR strategy should recognize what you want to achieve through the year and exactly how you plan to do it.

Pay specific attention to how you’re going to measure your media success – will it be evaluated in terms of revenue, total Advertising Value Equivalency or a front page story in one of your key media targets?

3. Know your media

A strong media database means you’re going to get your brand noticed by the right people. Be targeted in your approach. Research media that your audience reads, listens or watches and take note of specific sections or programs where journalists cover your field. Online research will also help you find popular bloggers and freelance journalists who write about issues your business relates to.Collate publication names, specific contacts, job titles, phone numbers and emails – and update your list regularly.

4. Seriously, people. Know your media

A media database is only half the story.If you want to launch a product on a particular date or at the start of a specific season, you’ll need to research media lead times. Monthly magazines have longer lead times (roughly 3-4 months in advance) than weekly magazines (4-6 weeks) or daily papers (1 or 2 days).Online news has a very quick turnaround but online features and blogs usually plan well ahead so it pays to do your research before you send your release.

5. Put pen to paper

Journalists are inundated with a gazillion media releases daily so yours needs to stand out. Write your own if you are an excellent wordsmith, otherwise recruit a PR specialist to help. Media releases have a rough formula, based on journalists probably not having enough time to read each one fully. You should write the most important information in the first two paragraphs (the what, why, where, who, when and how), and build on it from there. The copy should be engaging, succinct and flow naturally. Media releases should be no longer than two pages – and that’s with line spacing!

6. Pitch

Follow up calls are crucial after sending out a release to media contacts. Always start by asking your target journalist if they’re free to talk; be friendly and keep your telephone pitches interesting and concise. Think about why the journalist would want to write about your product or company – what’s its USP? Why would their readers want to know about it? Is there a unique backstory about how the product or service came about?

7. Launch tactics

If budget permits, send out samples of your product to key journalists for review. Better still, organise a press launch to network with journalists directly.

8. Get visual

Organize a simple but eye-catching stunt for coverage as a photo in a print publication or even a quick clip on TV news. Alternatively, harness the power of the internet to kick off a creative viral campaign. A clever, unique and engaging YouTube clip can spread the word on your brand in mere moments.

9. Set the news agenda

Get quality coverage of your business by piggy backing off relevant news, timely awareness days or commissioning a survey which piques the interest of editors, as well as being relatable to your field.

10. Get social

Create conversation around your company through social media platforms. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any others – plan what you want to say and when you want to say it. Posting three times a week is a good start but make sure your posts are relevant to your industry and interesting to your followers. Develop a brand tone and voice that suits your audience and make sure your posts have a good mix of product specific updates and other topical and engaging information from across the Net. Promote your social media pages, and ergo, your business, via your contacts, advertising and suggest links are included in any media coverage you secure.

11. Be your brand’s ambassador!

You know your business inside-out so your passion can help you raise awareness of your company. As a knowledgeable and astute spokesperson, you can relay to the media exactly why consumers need your product or service. Be warm, positive and upbeat. Champion your brand at networking engagements and offer to speak at key business events.

Getting a new name out there is hard and fostering a brand that’s trusted and liked by the masses is even harder. But not impossible! With a considered plan, creativity, enthusiasm and time, you can secure excellent exposure for your business.

About our contributor // Ash Anand is a freelance copywriter and PR consultant based in Melbourne. She specializes in lifestyle, consumer, NFP, education and health sectors. Visit www.easteleven.com.au or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Image credit: Freepress

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