FF Insights 718: Instant gratification

August 18, 2022: Who reads fake news?, The developer-influencer economy, Perspective matters

Founding Fuel

[From Unsplash]

Good morning,

Why do firms exist that promise to deliver in 10 minutes? Is there something about instant gratification? This is a theme that has always fascinated us. Do people really need it? Or is this an induced demand is a question we had attempted to decode in April this year with Hari Menon, co-founder and CEO of BigBasket. Menon had an interesting take. That is also why some passages from The Practice of Groundedness by Brad Stulberg, on how people’s behaviour is changing, got our interest.

“Research conducted by the firm Forrester shows that in 2006, online shoppers expected web pages to load in under four seconds. Three years later, that number was compressed to two seconds. By 2012, Google engineers learned that internet users expect search results to load within a mere two-fifths of a second, or about how long it takes to blink. There’s no reason to believe this trend is slowing down. The author Nicholas Carr, whose book The Shallows explores the far-reaching effects of the internet, says, ‘As our technologies increase the intensity of stimulation and the flow of new things, we adapt to that pace. We become less patient. When moments without stimulation arise, we start to feel panicked and don’t know what to do with them, because we’ve trained ourselves to expect this stimulation.’

“A prescient 2012 report, ‘Millennials Will Benefit and Suffer Due to Their Hyperconnected Lives,’ conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, predicted that a side effect of our hyperconnected world is the ‘expectation of instant gratification.’ I write ‘side effect’ because it’s just that. There’s nothing inherently bad about expedient technology—I rely on it, and I’m just as likely as the next person to become frustrated when the hourglass on whatever screen I happen to be looking at doesn’t empty fast enough. But when we expect this kind of speed, ongoing stimulation, and instant gratification in other areas of our lives, it can become problematic.

“Generally speaking, good things take time to come to fruition. Patience is an advantage in athletics, business, creativity, science, and relationships. Silicon Valley tells us to ‘move fast and break things.’ But, as evidenced by the failures and harmful unintended consequences of so many Silicon Valley companies, if you adopt that mindset, what you often end up is broken. Cultivating patience serves as a buffer against getting caught up in frenetic energy and angst. It helps offset the temptation to seek novelty always and constantly change course. It invites us to show up reliably and thoughtfully, even when things appear to be moving slowly. It encourages us to take a longer view, to recognise when it’s wise to let situations unfold in their own time. It even helps us to move swiftly in the moment.”

Have a good day!

Who reads fake news?

Knowledge @ Wharton points to an interesting study that questions the commonly held belief that fake news is consumed only by those who reside in an echo chamber and read anything that confirms their ideology.

“Surprisingly, readers who regularly browse fake news stories served up by social media algorithms are more likely to diversify their news diet by seeking out mainstream sources. These well-rounded news junkies make up more than 97% of online readers, compared with the scant 2.8% who consume online fake news exclusively.

“‘We find that these echo chambers that people worry about are very shallow. This idea that the internet is creating an echo chamber is just not holding out to be true,’ said Senthil Veeraraghavan, a Wharton professor of operations, information and decisions.”

Veeraraghavan studied the fake news phenomenon with professors Ken Moon and Jiding Zhang. K@W reports:

“‘One interesting thing in the data was that the outliers, the people who read the most fake news, also tend to read more news in general,’ Moon said. “These news-loving consumers seek all the information that’s out there, so they consume a healthy amount of fake news. But if you’re looking for folks who read only fake news, they are actually hard to find.”

Dig deeper

Who is falling for fake news?

The developer-influencer economy

Ben Stokes is a British coder whose essay on why side gigs matter much to the developer economy had us hooked from the word go.

“The excitement before you click ‘launch’ on your next idea is addictive; you just don’t know what will happen. A random game you made about flying a small yellow bird between Super Mario pipes could explode and become Flappy Bird, netting you $50,000 a day. The word puzzle you built for your girlfriend could go viral and become Wordle.

“In short: The effort put into an internet project is often detached from its results. Embracing this randomness in practice simply means launching more projects. For example

  • Challenges like 12 startups in 12 months, undertaken by Dutch programmer Pieter Levels, has resulted in the solo developer running a portfolio of projects that generate $3 million per year. 
  • Websites like ProductHunt allow you to get an idea on Monday and launch it to thousands of people by Friday. 
  • As I write this, a post titled ‘Why I’m launching 25 products in 25 weeks’ is a top post on the IndieHackers forum.

“Builders are treating their side projects like a casino. By keeping projects small and launching often, their odds of hitting the jackpot go up.”

Stokes goes on to draw parallels between how this is very similar to what other creators such as writers and musicians do. You don’t know what will work or what may ruin you. But creators have to stay at it. And developers are just that: Creators.

“The creator economy is booming, and it’s not just Instagram models posting selfies on a beach in Ibiza. Developer-influencers—a strange new type of creator, like the vloggers and streamers before them—are a very real thing. Projects serve as their content and monetisation rolled into one.”

Dig deeper

Why developers are building so many side projects

Perspective matters

(Via WhatsApp)

Warm regards,

Team Founding Fuel

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About the author

Founding Fuel

Founding Fuel aims to create the new playbook of entrepreneurship. Think of us as a hub for entrepreneurs- the go-to place for ideas, insights, practices and wisdom essential to build the enterprise of tomorrow. It is co-founded by veteran journalists Indrajit Gupta and Charles Assisi, along with CS Swaminathan, the former president of Pearson's online learning venture.

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