Headline October 10, 2019/ '' 'PHONE ADDICTION PLANET' '' : STUDENTS


STUDENT EYAL THOUGHT IT WAS AMAZING that Silicon Valley founders could start businesses without any physical inventory -

So he went to to Stanford University for business school and founded a company to sell advertising into Facebook gaming apps. That's were he learned the tactics that tech companies use to engage people.

Mr. Eyal decided to bottle the techniques. ''I wanted to democratize these tools,'' he said.

NIR EYAL DOES NOT FOR A SECOND regret writing Silicon Valley's tech engagement how-to, ''Hooked : How to Build Habit Forming Products,'' even as he now has a new book out on how to free yourselves of that same addiction.

In his original manual for building enthralling smartphone apps, Mr. Eyal laid out the tracks ''to subtly encourage customers behavior'' and ''bring users back again and again.''

He toured tech companies speaking about the Hook Model, his four-step plan to grab and keep people's attention with enticements like variable rewards, or pleasures that come at unpredictable intervals.

''Slot machines provide a classic example of variable rewards,'' Mr. Eyal wrote.

Silicon Valley's technorati hailed ''Hooked.'' Dave McClure, the founder of 500 Startups, a prolific  incubator, called it ''an essential crib sheet for any startup looking to understand user technology.''

But that was 2014. That was making an app that behaved like a slot machine was a good and exciting thing.
Now, in the latter days of 2019, Mr. Eyal has a new best seller. This one is called ''Indistractable'' : How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.''

If ''Hooked'' was a how-to, this is how-to-undo. Mr. Eyal, 41, is not along in this pivot. Since ''Hooked,'' whistle blowers like Google's former in-house ethicist, Tristan Harris, have popularized the idea that phones are are unhealthy and addictive. Onetime executives at Facebook and WhatsApp have turned into tech critics.

Unlike the other newly wary, though, Mr. Eyal does not think that tech is the problem. We are.

''We talk about addiction, but when it comes to Candy Crush, really? Facebook? We're not freebasing Facebook. We're not injecting Instagram here,'' Mr. Eyal said one morning over croissants at New York's Bryant Park. ''These are things we can do something about, but we love to think the technology is doing it to us.'''

And so in ''Idistractable,''which was published last month, Mr.Eyal has written a guide to free people from an addiction he argues they never had in the first place. It was all just sloughing off personal responsibility, he figures. So the solution is to reclaim responsibility in myriad small ways.

For instance : have your phone on silent so there will be fewer external triggers. Email less and faster. Don't hang out on Slack. Have only just one laptop out during meetings. Introduce social pressure, like sitting next to someone who can see your screen, Set ''price pacts'' with people so you can pay them if you get distracted.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Eyal's new book has some critics scoffing.

''Mr. Eyal's trying to flip,'' said Richard Freed, a child psychologist who supports less screen time.  ''These people who've done this are all trying to come back selling the cure. But they're the one who've been selling the drugs in the first place.'' 

Mr. Eyal said he was not reversing himself. His Hook Model was useful, certainly, and he believed in the tactics. But it was not addicting people. It's our fault., he said, not Instagram's or Facebook's or Apple's.

''It's disrespectful for people who have have the pathology of addiction to say, 'oh, we all have this disease,' '' he said.
''No, we don't.''

Mr. Eyal is not contrarian by nature. He is likable and wants to be liked. Born in Israel, he grew up in a suburb of Orlando, Fla. After College, he worked for  Boston Consulting Group before he starting a solar panel installation firm, Sunshine Business Development.

But business was hard. Mr. Eyal thought it was amazing that Silicon Valley founders could start businesses without any physical inventory.
So he wrote ''Hooked'' and spread the Hook Model.

Mr. Eyal then spent years touring and offering his services as a consultant to companies including The New York Times.

The Honor and Serving of the latest Global Operational Research on Phone, Tech and Addiction, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Nellie Bowles.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the World.

See Ya all on Facebook, prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Addiction & Loneliness '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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