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The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

Sep 25, 2020

Today I’m very excited to be sitting down with Bec Weeks, co-founder of the app Pique. 

Her co-founders include Sendhil Mullainathan who has taught traditional and behavioral economics at MIT, Harvard, and The University of Chicago, and Michael Norton, another Harvard professor and part of the Harvard Behavioral Insights Group, he also previously taught at MIT and co-authored a book called Happy Money, The Science of Smarter Spending. Bec got her MBA in behavioral science, entrepreneurship, and social impact from Harvard University. The whole Pique crew is clearly amazing!

I had such a lovely time chatting with Bec and could tell from our first conversation that we would be fast friends. She is doing such cool things (and as silly as it is, she has some stellar rose gold headphones that I totally want...long time listeners know I love rose gold!) Beyond that of course, I love the cool things she and the rest of the Pique team are doing to help people use habits in a smart way to improve their lives.

How are they doing that exactly? Listen and read on my friend...

Show Notes:

  • [00:43] Today I’m very excited to be sitting down with Bec Weeks, co-founder of the app Pique. 
  • [03:18] I love the cool things Bec and the rest of the Pique team are doing to help people use habits in a smart way to improve their lives.
  • [04:18] Before that, a bit about her. Bec is from Australia. She started her career very briefly in law before she moved to management consulting and on to the Behavioral Economics Team of the Australian Government (BETA). 
  • [06:39] There is a really big behavioral community in Australia and it is growing every day. 
  • [07:42] She shares about a project she was part of at BETA which focused on the problem of doctors overprescribing antibiotics. Another memorable project about reducing discrimination in hiring practices. 
  • [09:51] The importance of testing was a key finding. 
  • [11:05] Things are shifting all the time. A nudge applied ten years ago doesn’t necessarily work today. 
  • [12:38] Experiments that fail to produce results still need to be public so they add to the evidence base of things that do and do not work. 
  • [15:35] Pique is their attempt to take useful findings from psychology and present them to use and inspire an app. It lets others learn about the concept, experience the concept, and live the concept in their life in a small way. 
  • [16:17] Pique’s main goal is to help people be more in touch with their thoughts (including self-awareness) as well as how they interact with others. 
  • [17:05] Humans crave novelty so they wanted to make sure Pique incorporated variety and different things to do. This keeps people coming back to try something new. 
  • [19:13] The habit is exercising the curiosity, experimentation, and exploration muscles. 
  • [20:26] The simplest change can make it so you are innovative and creative for the rest of the day. 
  • [22:08] The best time to Pique differs from person to person and often even moment to moment. 
  • [24:11] They have built-in reminders in the app to complete the daily exercises and also the opportunity to schedule a comeback reminder. 
  • [25:02] There is a lot of humor sprinkled within the app. They want it to be helpful and enjoyable. 
  • [27:14] You will do each of these little moments and hopefully get something small out of each of them, but when you keep doing them they build on one another and you see bigger results. 
  • [29:21] If you can provide a personalized experience for someone then they are more likely to get the benefit and come back. You want people to use it and get great value. 
  • [31:47] Once you complete the few beginning questions you land at a page with a selection of packs sorted for you. 
  • [33:02] Some packs currently in the app are Conversations, Time, Mind Wandering, Fan the Flame (connecting with your partner), and Rituals. 
  • [35:44] A lot of us have things we are not quite aware of that have ritualistic power. Some of these have been lost whilst at home and some of them we have been able to keep during the pandemic--why that matters. 
  • [37:14] Other current/upcoming packs include Decision Making, Connecting with Friends, and Boosting the Bond. They are always adding new content. 
  • [39:10] The idea of moments is to help you do those things and see what works and resonates with you. 
  • [41:58] Some of the things we have lost are obvious and some not as obvious. Taking time to think about what things have been lost and thinking about how we can add them back--even if it is in a different way--is very important. 
  • [43:19] The opposite of distraction is traction (via Nir Eyal, episode link below). 
  • [45:13] When thinking about habits, many of us think about changing them but it is also important to think about how you can use the power of habits to help people introduce change.
  • [45:45] Pique is perfectly packaged into bite sized pieces that can help your brain to feel good and give you a mental boost. Consider this your poque to download Pique! (once you do, let us know on social media using the links below)

Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

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