I believe in work worth doing and while sometimes that’s writing, advising, or speaking, there is no substitute for actually building. I’ve always got a few things in development and if you’re ever interested in putting your shoulder to the wheel, shoot the team an email and let’s get it done.
When it comes to our own behavior, we can all be a little blind. That’s why getting feedback from others can help us improve, by showing how what we do affects them. But feedback can be hard. Work With Me Again is a simple project to tackle getting actionable feedback. It starts by focusing on a behavior (working with someone again) rather than thoughts or emotions, while still allowing for unstructured feedback. It is anonymous, but collects enough demographic data to allow for statistical analysis to surface potential biases.
After finding out from a mentee about discriminatory employment practices at POS company Toast, I did a deep exploration of both the issue and attempts to create change, culminating in a public Twitter conversation with over 20K likes and donations to an endowment at HCBU Winston-Salem State University.
The result of a Twitter conversation about why mediocre white men are often overconfident in their abilities, #MediocreWhiteMen is an analysis of survey data to determine if the behavior is a result of weak inhibiting pressure (fewer penalties when wrong) or strong promoting pressure (overestimation of actual ability).
I’m one of very few people who has had the opportunity to lead behavioral science teams at a variety of companies and I truly believe that applying behavioral science to the problems of the world can change the trajectory of humanity. The book is the closest I could get to a manual for a science-based process to create behavior change that can be implemented in organizations of any size and industry. And I am proud that it is authentically in my voice, because we can’t expect that change will come neatly packaged in eloquence and privilege.
Based on research that shows that men are more likely to endorse feminist beliefs after they have been exposed to stories of sexism that their loved ones experience, #IAskedHer was built to reduce inhibiting pressures to talking to women about sexism. Evidence suggests this could double the number of male feminists by converting men who acknowledge sexism exists but don’t see it as proximal to them.
The result of a Twitter conversation about why more men don’t show up to gender-focused events, #WhyMenAttend funded and analyzed two surveys of men who had and hadn’t attended such events, with the aim of evaluating strategies to increase male attendance. The most direct conclusion: 1/3 of men would be receptive to a direct invitation to attend, effectively doubling the number of men in the audience.
Women and the underrepresented are less likely to accept startup offers partly because they typically include a large component of equity in the compensation, which triggers risk aversion. That means they miss out on the largest payouts in startups. SalaryOrEquity is a simple tool that can be used with a job offer to quantify equity as an approximate salary, using vesting, risk multiples, and dilution.
Bing in the Classroom came from a single core insight: that kids were searching far less in school than you’d expect. After systematically identifying the promoting and inhibiting pressures, we created 40% more searches in schools simply by getting rid of ads, putting in place adult content protections, and eliminating ad profiling (and inspiring Google to do some of the same things). Also made daily search lessons at three different grade ranges to make it easier for teachers to incorporate the daily practice.
I grew up on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was what we watched every Saturday night as a family. So when I was looking for a new way to help show how language communities and machine translation interact, Klingon was a natural fit. But a difficult one: because it is a created language that was made by a doctoral linguist to break traditional terrestrial language rules, it also breaks most traditional machine translation. No wonder I was excited enough when we figured it out to shave Qapla’ (Klingon for “success!”) into my head.
Born out of frustration with the gender wage gap, GetRaised is designed to help people find out if they are underpaid and do something about it. It was specifically created with goal not of encouraging people to want pay fair pay but simply making it easier to achieve. It boasts an over 70% success rate, with an average raise earned of $6,500, totaling over $2.3B so far.
Founded in 2009 and exited in 2012, Churnless was a behavioral science technology design/build agency. We created behavior change tools for everyone from the AARP to Playboy, built research-based side projects (including GetRaised), and introduced behavioral science to the tech community. We also had a small incubator that gave rise to a New York Times bestselling book, several successful startups, and a lot of laughs.
Launched in 2008 and sold to LendingTree in 2009, Thrive was the opposite side of the coin from competitor Mint. While they focused on charts and graphs and appealed mainly to high net worth white males, we built a behavioral finance algorithm that helped the average consumer increase their credit score by fifty points in six months, through smarter spending and the application of savings against debt. Founded by Avi Karnani and Ori Schnapps, I came on as their Head of Product after leaving Cornell.