Choice and Meaning in a Scientific Universe

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The scientific method is based on determinism — the idea that events in our universe have causes. Things that happen, could not magically have happened otherwise. We’re happy to apply scientific determinism to everything else — just not our own choices.

People believe there’s something magical about human decision-making. “I could have decided either way.” they will say. “While being the same person at the same point in time?” I ask. “Yes,” they say. “Not by randomness, but by choice?” I ask. “Yes again,” they say.

How can we explain this paradox? People are afraid to believe in determinism. They…

How to Decide What You Intend To

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“I thought you were trying to quit,” I said. Angela was standing the designated 50 feet from the entrance to the office building, cigarette in hand. “I guess I decided I needed it today.”

We all make decisions, every day, that go against our best intentions. I spent more than a decade creating technology and programs for health behavior change for some of America’s largest employers. Participants started programs with the best of intentions. But every week, I would hear their stories about decisions that didn’t match what they intended.

How can we…

The Trust Problem in B2C Communications

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I walked into my bank last month, unsure of what to expect. I’d gotten a communication from them about one of my accounts. I assumed it was a phishing scam, but maybe it wasn’t. It’s not safe to call back the number in a phishing voicemail — it might go back to the scammer. It’s not safe to click a link in a potential phishing email — it goes to a site that looks like (but isn’t) your bank.

My bank had my phone number and my email address. But it didn’t matter. There…

Leveling the Playing Field for Small Business

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In the last year, everyone has learned how to use video meetings from their smartphone or computer. Click the link and get face to face — with no SPAM and robocalls. It’s so much better than phone & email.

But businesses from large to small are still putting a phone number on their website. And an email address. And a calendar link, so you can have a video meeting 3 days from now. Why not a link to video-call, right now?

If you’ve used a meeting from or BlueJeans, you’ve seen how…

And Why They Can’t….

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What does a potential customer want, the first time they contact your business? It’s pretty simple. They want a knowledgeable person to listen, understand their problem, and propose a credible solution.

That’s it. The faster you can do that, the faster you can win the customer. But that’s not what happens.

Customers walk away with uncertainty. They don’t know if they reached the right person, if their problem was understood, or whether you can solve it. Let’s talk about the 5 new customers trying to reach you — and why they can’t.

One “Ring” to Rule Them All

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My calendar is full of meeting links. To reach a new person or company, I click on a scheduling link. But these links are doing a small fraction of what they are capable of.

A link can do everything a phone number or email address can do, using popular tools like Twilio and SendGrid. This article explains why meeting links will replace phone numbers and email addresses — and sooner than you think.

Meeting Links Can Do Phone Calls

If you’ve ever clicked a meeting link from a WebRTC-based service like or bluejeans, you’ve seen the magic happen.


But Calls and Emails Don’t

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Think about the last time you tried to contact a new person or company. You sent an email, called a phone number, or filled out a contact form online. And then you wait. Does anybody check that voicemail box? Did the email get eaten by a SPAM filter? Or maybe just the attachments?

You have no data to show your call or message arrived to the right person. But the problem doesn’t stop there. If the other person gets the voicemail and tries to call back — you’re not likely to pick up the phone…

How we Squared Up Contact Info

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In The Innovation Stack, Jim McKelvey tells how he co-founded Square — the mobile payments company now valued at $70+ billion. Making the iconic Square card reader (that plugs into an iPhone) was the easy part. Giving small business a square deal on payment processing took an entire Innovation Stack — a whole set of interlocking inventions behind the scenes.

The book teaches startups how to pick the right problems, and create unbeatable, market-changing solutions. This article explains how my team used The Innovation Stack, and how you can too.

Finding the Pyramids

The first step is…

Phone & Email Don’t Work for New Customers

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Millions of small businesses have the same “Contact Us” page: a phone number, an email address, and a contact form. But just try reaching them — it takes 24 to 48 hours to talk to someone who can solve your problem.

Small businesses can win if they get a knowledgeable person in front of the customer quickly. The small business owner can ask the right questions, show their expertise and propose the winning solution.

But if new customers can’t get in touch with a small business, it’s over.

New Customers Arrive by Phone

What happens when you…

The New Economy of Habits

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If there’s one thing our tech industry does well, it’s training us on new habits.

Google, Facebook and Twitter started out as free services with no advertising. They spent millions of venture capital dollars training users to come back to Google, Facebook and Twitter every day. Only then did they monetize those habits through advertising.

Uber has spent billions of investor dollars training us to use Uber. Apps from PostMates to TaskRabbit are following the same path. And there are offline habits as well, like getting a Cinnabon every trip through the airport.

You might…

Jesse Hercules

20+ year Tech Entrepreneur. Building a future where tech serves people, not the other way around. Learn more at:

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