Signaling as a Service - Deepstash
Signaling as a Service

Signaling as a Service

julian.digital

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Social Signalling is ruling our actions

Social Signalling is ruling our actions

In the book "The Elephant in the Brain" Robin Hanson & Kevin Simler state that:

  1. Most of our everyday actions can be traced back to some form of signalling or status seeking
  2. Our brains deliberately hide this fact from us and others (self deception)

The authors propose that “well over 90%” of human behavior can be explained by signaling: the stuff we buy or even the charities we donate to are done mainly to show off. But we do wrap this instinct in all sorts of rationalisations. 

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Taxonomy of Signaling

Taxonomy of Signaling

Signaling can be broken down into different components, explained through the act of buying some expensive snickers: 

  1. Signal Message: "Look at my $100 shoes"
  2. Signal Distribution: wearing the shoes
  3. Signal Amplification: post your outfit on social media ... ideally with an inspiring quote. 

Physical products have signaling distribution built in. Apps live on your phone or computer. No one can see them except for you.

That's why some apps like Superhuman add a signature at the end of every email, or apps like Revolut send you a physical premium card.

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Networks as Signalling Mechanism

Network membership is a powerful signal message. Users pay a membership fee to signal to other members that they are part of the tribe.

  • Elite Singles is a dating app for “educated and successful, single professionals”. The $400 membership fee is your proof that you belong to that group.
  • Facebook originally limited membership to Harvard students(and subsequently to other Ivy League schools).
  • Paid membership communities have seen a lot of traction in the last few years.

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Charge for amplification

Charge for amplification

The financially most lucrative strategy for software companies is to provide distribution for free and instead monetize users who want to stand out of the crowd with paid signal amplification.

Examples:

  1. On Tinder your popularity is synonymous with the quality of the picture. Their entire business model is built on the assumption that people are willing to spend money on signaling boosters.
  2. Fortnite a giant virtual theme park where people pay on cosmetics to show off. 

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CURATED BY

vladimir

Life-long learner. Passionate about leadership, entrepreneurship, philosophy, Buddhism & SF. Founder @deepstash.

90% of our behaviour can be justified by our desire to show off.

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