The way of life effect

Every now and then I start using a service that really changes my life. I don't mean just because it's awesome, but that it literally effects my behavior so significantly that it makes noticeable changes in the way I conduct my life. Here are a few examples. 
Amazon Prime made me stop thinking about online shopping as annoying to the point where now my default is to check Amazon for anything and have it magically appear on my doorstep a day or two later.

Fancy Hands (a virtual assistant) made me stop doing any task that seemed tedious and easy to explain in a few sentence email (most admin phone calls, product research, etc.).

Automated billpay (really a collection of services) made me not pay any attention to regular bills at all (everything gets paid automatically).

Twitter made me stop reading regular news and RSS.

DVR (and now Hulu, etc.) made me stop sitting down at particular times to watch particular shows.

These are not incremental changes. They either drastically reduce my time spent on certain activities, fundamentally change the way I think about an activity, remove constraints, or some combination thereof.  In other words, they really change my way of life.

Thinking of ways to achieve such an effect can be a useful focusing lens. It's deeper than looking for pain points, and more profound than game mechanics.

Achieving such a change in peoples' lives is not necessary for success, but it solves the attention problem by creating a massive check-in effect. It's also highly correlated to an ambitious startup idea.


If you have comments, hit me up on Twitter.
I'm the Founder & CEO of DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track you. I'm also the co-author of Traction, the book that helps you get customer growth. More about me.