I follow Dan Ariely. He's a wicked-smart-dry-funny-sharply-logical kind of guy. As far as I know he is the industry expert on Behavioral Economics and Irrational Behavior.
So when he posted a call for applications for start-up companies to be a part of his StartUp Lab at CAH (Center of Advanced Hindsight) I immediately began thinking of what I could "start up." In a nutshell, Duke University is inviting promising startups in health and finance fields to join Dan (and all his other smartie students) at its behavioral lab to leverage academic research in their business models. The goal is to help new businesses make better decisions by understanding why consumers make counterintuitive and irrational decisions. If you can't think of anything, take a minute now to think about a subscription you should have cancelled months ago. Or, if you are reading this and eating gluten free pretzels wondering why you aren't losing weight. Wait, that's me.
I called one of my all-star clients Kathy from a company that rhythms with, um, SWANS, and said, "We should DO THIS! Let's test this with SWANS customers. We know they are irrational because they won't order online to save money and guarantee products are in stock and instead spend more time and more money impulse ordering during the transaction time (let's say maybe this SWANS company is "like" home delivery of food.) Here was her response to me (hence, the all-star reference):
"I don't think SWANS customers are irrational when it comes to not wanting to order on the internet. It makes perfect sense, and I believe Dan would say so as well. The rationale is this: the benefit of ordering at the door is not having to think about it. No planning, no energy put toward it whatsoever. Someone just "shows up" and you get food. All the loyalty points, online sales and "guaranteed" inventory in the world can't beat the benefit of ease."
Dang. Good point.
Looks like I need to find another start-up idea if I want to hang with Dan and the gang.
And for the record, I have been an irrational SWANS customer for 15 years. Their mint-chip cones are the best.