How to Create Business Products People *ENJOY* Using | Rahul Vohra on Starting Greatness with Mike Maples

Check out the Starting Greatness episode page

Key Takeaways

  • Business products designed around values consistent with ‘play’ rather than ‘work’ lead to increased efficiency and productivity through the benefits of gamification and targeting human motivation
    • Gamification creates an emotional connection to your work and the design can lead you to an increased capacity for flow states
      • “Emotions are the foundation of our memory” – Rahul Vohra
        • Your emotions can dictate how successful you are in your work
    • Games need good goals, so does your work: goals need to be concrete, achievable, and rewarding
      • Products designed this way specifically target the intrinsic motivations of humans
  • “Flow is not what you’re doing, it’s how you feel when you’re doing it” – Rahul Vohra
    • Products need rapid and robust controls and platforms, the extreme ease/efficient use in a product can make it feel more like a game
    • Five key components of flow:
      • Know what to do next
      • Know how to do it
      • Free from distractions
      • Get clear and immediate feedback
      • Must feel a balance of challenge and skill
  • Start-up advice: “Think as long-term as you possibly can. The most valuable companies are the ones that last the longest. Think big, know from day one what your multi-billion dollar story is going to be” – Rahul Vohra
    • If you’re going to put in the effort, you might as well put effort towards the biggest idea possible

Intro

  • Rahul Vohra (@rahulvohra) is the founder and CEO of Superhuman, an email product-based company designed for efficiency and advanced feature integration.
  • In this episode, Mike and Rahul discuss how understanding human motivation, game design, and flow states can greatly improve positive user experiences with your product.
  • Host: Mike Maples, Jr (@m2jr)

Game Design & Human Motivation

  • Why can’t we make business software less like work and more like play?
    • In game design, you don’t worry about what users want or needs, you focus on how they feel
      • They don’t use your product, they play it
      • Rahul uses game design in the Superhuman email product under this approach
  • We must understand human motivation as it relates to enjoyable product experience
    • Intrinsic vs Extrinsic motivation:
      • Intrinsic: We do things because they are inherently satisfying
      • Extrinsic: We do things to earn rewards and achieve external goals
        • Rewards can undermine intrinsic motivation in the wrong environment
        • Gamification works when the underlying experience was already a ‘game‘ – work is perceived as a game
  • “Emotions are the foundation of our memory” – Rahul Vohra
    • Superhuman designs its experience to elicit emotions like joy, enthusiasm, optimism, pride, and triumph
    • Products must be designed for nuanced emotion

Flow State as a Product

  • Flow State – a feeling where, under the right conditions, you become fully immersed in whatever you are doing. A balance between productivity and enjoyment with your work.
  • Games need good goals: concrete, achievable, and rewarding
    • The design of these goals can help gamify your product fueling your potential for flow state
    • At Superhuman, the goal is reaching an inbox of zero – they make this process easier to achieve and associates a function of reward
      • Is it really your fault that you have thousands of messages in your inbox, or is Gmail partly to blame?
        • The messiness of Gmail makes it feel more like work and less like play, limiting your ability to enter any sort of flow state
  • Products need rapid and robust controls and platforms, the extreme ease/efficient use in a product can make it feel more like a game
    • This gamification guides you more towards flow states when working with a product, resulting in increased intrinsic motivation
    • “Flow is not what you’re doing, it’s how you feel when you’re doing it” – Rahul Vohra
      • Five key components of flow:
        • Know what to do next
        • Know how to do it
        • Free from distractions
        • Get clear and immediate feedback
        • Must feel a balance of challenge and skill – if the activity is too hard, we feel anxious. If the activity is too easy, we feel bored.
  • Make fun toys and combine them into games
    • Does your product indulge in playful exploration?
    • Is it fun without a goal?
    • Does it provide moments of delightful surprise?

Start-Up Advice

  • Always raise one round of capital ahead of schedule when possible
    • At any given point, you have 6-10 years of financial runway
      • Helps you make deliberate decisions proactively rather than reactively
    • Create momentum – narratives and product waitlists can help you get ahead
      • Don’t buy into your own BS – while narratives can bring in money, don’t be pressured into spending the capital outside of the ventures means. Wait until you meet product fit and use the capital for scaling.
      • Understand your market value proposition – don’t grow before you’re ready to grow
        • Have numerical value associate with achieving product-market fit
  • “Think as long-term as you possibly can. The most valuable companies are the ones that last the longest. Think big, know from day one what your multi-billion dollar story is going to be” – Rahul Vohra
    • If you’re going to put in the effort, you might as well put effort towards the biggest idea possible
Starting Greatness with Mike Maples : , , , ,
Notes By Drew Waterstreet

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 12,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks