Let’s bring it back to spring of 2014. I’m nervously fidgeting in the backseat of a yellow cab in busy midtown Manhattan. I’m reading and re-reading the black ink bullet points on a page of paper in my hand as I rehearse what I’ll say to the firm I’m meeting with about my glorious app idea, @quotifulapp. It’s obviously going to change lives, because it changed mine, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity to convince others of the same.
I’m so sure it’s a winner, because tucked away in my hipster-looking backpack I’m also armed with a bright yellow book called, “Hooked – How to Build Habit Forming Products.” In it is all of the secrets for creating a successful tech company among the ranks of Mark Zuckerburg and Jack Dorsey. The premise of the book taps into our innate ability to form habits out of systems that bring us pleasure and reward. The process is simple. Create external triggers like notifications or emails to remind people to use your product, design your product in a way that once they are in it they invest time into curation, consumption, or creation of something, provide some novelty in the form of a variable reward (i.e. we’re not sure what we’ll find when we open that app or check our email), and repeat this process enough times until an auto-pilot-like habit is formed every time we feel a pang of loneliness, boredom, or frustration. Trigger, action, reward; repeat. Sounds lovely, and manipulative.
Fast forward to fall of 2018. I’m sitting in back of an Uber heading home from the Transtech Conference in Palo Alto. I’ve just listened to 2 full days of thought leaders - ranging from tech, to neuroscience, psychology, and entrepreneurship - speak about the critical point we’re at in human evolution and the role these fields can contribute if they play nice together. Tucked in my (not so cool) backpack is a notebook with the words scribbled, “Quotiful is leading the movement towards conscious tech.” I’m no longer interested in ‘hooking’ users (also always hated that word) for engagement numbers to impress investors. I’m committed to building a daily tool for emotional health and wellbeing. An app that we use out of intention, not addiction.
Life by Design was born out of a need for my own self-healing after decades of unresolved illness. It wasn’t until finding the courage to look within that I discovered it was my own belief system holding me back from experiencing a truly thriving life. We all have access to that thriving life. We just need to rediscover our power and ignite the healing-self. Only then can we unapologetically live a life by our own design.