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What do you think about bets of the form "I bet you will switch to using this product after trying it"?

by MaxRa1 min read15th Jun 20207 comments


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I very happily switched to the note-taking app Roam recently. Some weeks earlier my friend recommended it to me and because of too-much-to-do I almost didn't look at it. I wished he would have offered me a bet that I will want to switch after trying it (e.g. for a week). Then he would've profited from his knowledge, and I would've had a greater incentive to try it. I wondered if I should offer this bet to any EA, because I believe there is maybe like a 20% chance that a random EA would happily switch (though the subgroup of EAs that would be willing to take the bet probably is not a random sample of EAs).

What do you think about this bet, or bets like this in general? How would you concretely offer it?

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There's a weird incentive, right? Because even if I thought the new product was good, I'm now basically getting paid not to switch to it?

(I tried Roam for a few weeks and wasn't that into it, so I would've definitely gotten money from you!)

I guess you could just pay someone to try it.

1MaxRa1yOne of the benefits of the proposed scheme is that it’s a costly signal that I expect to actually be not costly at all. And from the perspective of others it’s also a win-win („Either I win the bet and waste some time, or I lose a bit of money but will improve my productivity/wellbeing/etc“).

True. I expect this to matter less with the amount of money I had in mind (on the order of 50€), given that I expect marginal improvements in something like note-taking will seem like a big win to most EAs.

A friend of mine had the idea of donating the money to a preferred EA charity instead of paying out, which might further reduce those incentives (at least it would for my not-quite-there-yet lizard brain).

I love it! I've been thinking about this for years, and I hope more people try this. The bet would act as insurance for the time I put exploring the product.

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I just tried Roam for a few minutes. I also noticed I had tried it already in December 2019.

My current favorite note taking apps are Gdoc and https://coda.io/