We use. They watch. They tweak. We use more. And repeat.
There is a cycle of digital innovation which goes something like that.
This is good if you’re selling eyeballs to advertisers.
But is it creating a relationship of value? To us or the advertiser, for that matter?
The questions we ask are all important.
If the question is ‘how can I create value for you’, I might go one way. If the unsaid goal is more and more monetising of you, Mr and Mrs user, then I go another way. How companies tread this line is tricky. And important.
Headspace is interesting.
They have a good mission, a real one, which has carried them from beginnings to millions of users, millions of downloads and millions of money.
In the beginning it was easy.
They believe a little bit of meditation makes you healthier and happier. I would agree. And they believe that more and more healthier and happier people is a good thing. Hear hear! Then they find that they’re commercialising healthier and happier. Nothing wrong with that. If they’re helping me, I’m happy to pay. Good luck to them.
They are on a healthier and happier commercial journey, which attracts investors who also buy in. But to what? The mission, yes, but the returns too. That’s their game. A necessary contract.
Many, in a digital context, know the ‘“We use. They watch. They tweak. We use more. And repeat.’ dynamic is a compelling one. It points to behavioural hooks, which is suck us ever more blindly into a sticky dance with the object of our fascination. Just ask Facebook.
Yet its also short term. And blinkered. If our business, our game, is selling eyeballs to advertisers - not value, just eyeballs - than its great. For Facebook.
But if we’re on a mission to create value, to grow with our members, our users, then the ‘We use. They watch. They tweak. We use more. And repeat.’ relationship is a limiting one. It casts are eyes down, not up.
More important becomes the guiding question, the lens through which you view the world, the lens through which we can filter the ‘We use. They watch. They tweak. We use more. And repeat’ data.
Headspace have been riding a wave. That we are increasingly drawn to mindfulness isn’t because Headspace have an app. We are increasingly drawn to Headspace because their promise is a compelling one. Something in me wants simplicity, wants quiet, wants connection and meditation is a route to these things and more. Headspace is the vehicle on which I hitch a ride. Beautiful.
But where is this particular train/wave/shift going? (the one which our yearning for mindfulness is a response?).
Tapping into these underlying shifts is how Headspace will continue to help us feel healthier and happier. The data can tie us in, for sure, but the vision, the intent, is how Headspace will keep moving forward to the place their customers, members, are heading.
Don’t get stuck in the data. It’ll nobble your knees.