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Product "Addiction" By Design

by Everyday Junglist 12 days ago in satire

Finally a Respectable Career Path for North Korean Illicit Drug Chemists Looking for a Different Way to Destroy People's Lives

Definitely addictive. Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Author's preface: This is a republication of a piece I wrote way back in 2017. Man, I was kind of an asshole back then. lol. In this case the target of my ire definitely deserved the thrashing. Bunch of jerks.

The people building those shiny new iwhatsits and compuwhosits are so smart, way smarter than your everyday jerk like me, that they have actually figured out how to design their products to addict me. I’m so easy to influence its crazy. Oh well, what can I do? Better go trade in my old ihype for the ihype2. Please don’t give me the “its been proven to work in Vegas” line because guess what, it hasn’t. What has been proven to work in Vegas is gambling and free food. All that other crap, the lights and the noises and positions of stuff have not been “proven” to do anything, at least not in any well designed studies with the appropriate experimental design including large enough sample numbers, and realistic (non contrived) controls, etc. Almost all of the so called effects are anecdotal or could easily explained by other factors if anyone cared to seriously attack the conventional gambling wisdom with appropriately designed experimentation.

In any event, a while back I came across and article which purported to explain how I am being tricked into addiction by technology. A choice quote from that piece is below.

Addiction isn’t always negative. The value proposition of products and the manner in which they are sold and used can be so compelling that many consumers willingly repeat the experience again and again, essentially becoming addicted to a brand. People with iPhones, for example, would likely go through intense withdrawal if they were deprived of their Apple devices without notice.”

From the critically acclaimed, and definitely not featured in an online course at a for profit university that will get you nowhere in life for three thousand dollars, Ivey Business Journal. Who can forget their world famous tagline,

Ivey Business Journal, the Harvard Business Review of the Ivey leagues.

Creating product addicts

I am willing to let slide the fact that only a lowlife shitbag who has never gone through it, or seen it up close, would dare compare the intensity of a theoretical withdrawal from an iPhone to an actual withdrawal from an addictive drugs (free pass if he is a Dr. Phil type and thinks pot is addictive, in that case I would agree that the withdrawal would be similar, in fact I would probably give the edge to the phone) and will focus instead on the rest of this non-fact based pseudostatement. Let’s begin by pulling out some of the choicest bits from this quote:

"...many consumers willingly repeat" How many? How do you know this, where did the data come from, how was that study designed? Many or all of these questions could be answered if the author had bothered to reference anything instead of just opening his piehole and saying whatever felt right based on the story he heard on NPR last week about another guy who wrote a book about this topic. Also many consumers willingly repeat consumption of lots of things, for example I willingly repeat consumption of 2 apples every time I go to the grocery store. Am I addicted to apples? The apple cartels are pretty smart. Turns out they have been paying the major grocery store chains to feature apples at the front of the produce section for years. Those clever apple scions know that dummies like me like to reach out and grab the first shiny thing we see because we are barely evolved from cro-magnon man. Now I’m sitting here with my thumb up my butt eating apples from now until kingdom come. And the answer is no by the way, I am not addicted to apples, they are just OK I guess, each time I buy the two apples at the grocery store I bring them home where they sit around for a couple weeks until they get squishy and gross at which point I throw them away, and the circle of life continues.

"....would likely" — how likely? where is the data? how many people out of how many people compared to a control group etc.? oh wait a minute we don’t need to reference any studies, link any other sites or even other pseudoscience articles like this one, just take the Ivey Business Journal's word for it. For five years now they have been the web’s leading purveyor of online hype based course material. Need a good homework assignment for your latest UDacity data science course? Ivey Business Journal can have its crack staff whip something up out of their cracks in less than a day. Machine learning got you all learned out? Learn how Ivey Business Journal can brainstorm, draft, edit, and post an article describing the latest advances in cucumber sorting technology that would only be possible with machine learning in under 24h. Ironically enough, its all done by people, no machines involved at all. When you say something is likely it behooves you to at least attempt to quantify it in some manner, any manner, even just a little (note: this only applies to articles pretending to be fact based and not longform rant blogs such as this one. I can say likely until the cows come home and get away with it. BTW, did I just use the phrase "until the cows come home" twice in a single post? I think I did. Damn. Gotta work on my turns 'o phrase. O wait, I did not, I actually said "until kingdom come". Phew. Dodged a bullet on that one). Even better it really is helpful to include a reference of some sort, any sort, from which the calculations were made by you or others that showed the thing you are talking about was in fact likely. You are writing the stupid post so I will even let you define all of the terms if you want, all I ask is that you clue me in on your definitions. So, for example, if the Ivey Business Journal defines likely as more than a couple people the author asked over lunch last week that is OK by me but let me know please. And if calculations scare you that’s ok too. No need to do any actual math if it will make your head hurt, but again please let me know that up front.

".....intense withdrawal", you sir are a POS and you do not know what the f you are talking about and I would punch you in the face right now if you were here for thinking that and maybe even believing it, and I would kick you in the nuts repeatedly for writing it down. That makes me hate you and yet I still would not wish the pain of withdrawal on you because I would think it excessively cruel, buttwad.

"....if they were deprived — how deprived?, totally taken away, access reduced 10% or 90%. I am sleep deprived, according to me, Ivey Business Journal is legitimacy deprived and human decency deprived yet what they are not is cahones deprived or venture capital money deprived. They have both of those in spades. Again this sort of thing would typically be defined in the referenced literature of any given article making wild ass claims like this.

"....Apple devices ....People with Iphones for example"— Here we go again with the Apple brown nosing. Are they paying you a commission or something Ivey Business Journal? What about people with android phones, or any other phones, are they exempt from the dreaded product addiction scourge that’s sweeping the world?

"...without notice" — as opposed to all those lucky people who got advanced notice too that we were taking their phone…oops sorry, that they would be deprived of their phone for some period of time. Why even bother to include this specific modifier if you are not referencing some paper or something? and if you are where is it? I believe there was an actual “study” like this done where peoples smartphone’s were taken away and one group was told in advance and the other was not.

".....value proposition can be so compelling"— I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest the author creamed his jeans when he started working on this and came up with that sweet ass opener right out of the gate. A compelling value proposition is the holy grail of entrepreneurs, ceo’s, and everyday assholes alike. Consumers make all of their buying decisions based on careful considerations of value propositions. I know when I go the store I bring my checkbook and my value prop calculator excel workbook with macros enabled and pivot tables too! Plug in the various value attributes, factor in sunk cost, labor, raw materials cost, future earnings, tax implications, spouses anger level, click enter and out comes my patented VPI (value prop index)© number. Above a certain level it becomes so compelling that I immediately stop everything I am doing to rub one out in excitement, then I put my pants back on and head to the store lickety split. Better hope they are in stock because if not somebody gonna have one of the withdrawal headaches again. Oh no.


Yes I was rough on the poor Ivey Business Journal. If you don’t spell ivey with an e you are spelling it right which is why ivey business journal is the wrong choice for all your online course content generation needs. Wait a second that’s not a very good tagline. The first one I came up with above is much better. To be honest I have no clue who they are. It might be the official website of Harvard business school for all I know or care. In their case I am certain the “author” of the “article” I reference did not reference anything because he is lazy, however there is another semi legitimate reason why these sorts of articles rarely have any references to the scientific literature or anything, because for the most part there are none, the do not exist. The few studies that have been done suck so bad in so many ways that the data is worse than useless and yet somehow from nothing comes the story of the power of tech to control our minds and make us buy crap. The only person who can make me buy anything is my coke dealer and.. oh shit did I say that out loud. I mean nobody can. I am joking. Gheesh. Get a sense of humor people.


Everyday Junglist

Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/molecular biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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