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

post by meerpirat · 2020-06-15T09:38:42.068Z · EA · GW · 1 comment

This is a question post.


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

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?


answer by Khorton · 2020-06-15T12:00:28.353Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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!)

comment by Nathan Young (nathan) · 2020-06-15T17:40:01.101Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I guess you could just pay someone to try it.

comment by meerpirat · 2020-06-15T21:40:32.957Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

One 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“).

comment by meerpirat · 2020-06-15T13:06:16.676Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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).

answer by Nathan Young · 2020-06-15T17:39:03.414Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

I think social proof is a good way to get people to try new tools. Hency my question here. https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/zY9grSFwxmskxGQY4/what-are-good-sofware-tools-what-about-general-productivity [EA · GW]

answer by Mati_Roy · 2020-06-25T11:36:54.912Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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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comment by Mati_Roy · 2020-06-25T11:43:14.150Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

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/