« Mark Cuban Wisdom | Main | DNS - The achilles heel of the Internet »

July 31, 2005

What do Golf, Startups, and Slots have in common?

They all conform to one of the fundamental rules of human behavior conditioning - provide random and variable rewards to reinforce repeated behavior. 

Ivan Pavlov in a series of seminal experiments in the 1900's established all of this and now the gambling industry uses the same principles to "hook" and "keep" people.  As Alan Krigman wrote in this post:

Nearly everybody knows of the experiments by Ivan Pavlov in the early 1900s. Pavlov started by ringing a bell and presenting food simultaneously. When he stopped offering the food, the dogs still salivated at the sound of the bell. Later, to keep the dogs responding to the bell, he reinforced the behavior by accompanying it with food at random, but frequently enough that the stimulus was not futile too often. B F Skinner extended this work during the 1930s using conditioning to train animals such as pigeons and rats to perform various tasks. Tom Creed, a psychology professor at the College of St Benedict at St John's University, says that slot machines utilize similar conditioning processes to produce player behavior characteristics desired by the casinos.

Like slots, Golf and Startups provide the same conditioning response (though the only good news is that unlike slots in which the odds are conditionally designed for you to lose, Golf and startups provide opportunities for truly skilled players to hit the jackpot).  How often is it that you play golf and go through 16 holes of hell but remember that one great shot in hole 17 in which you drive within 6 feet of the hole and one putt it for a birdie - in my case very often - and it is that one shot that makes you want to come out and play golf again. 

In Silicon Valley, startups have some of the same conditioning allure of the slots.  Slots are designed to be "loud" and "blaring" when there is a huge payout so that all the other players around the slot realize that someone has won and thus get reinforced that they could also win.  This motivates the other slot players to play more often.  The same thing happens with startups - think Google.  In Slots, the machines are designed to have many "close" outcomes to trick players into thinking that they almost hit the jackpot.  The same thing happens in startups (not by design but just by their nature) when the startup is close to being acquired or when they get a major deal.  Slots make periodic payouts that condition players to keep playing.  Startups get acquired or go public in quick enough time frames that they resemble "payouts" to the employees and thus motivate them to start or join another startup.

Now please don't mistake this post to mean that startups are a "con" like slots.  Far from it.  Startups offer a truly unique opportunity for people to pursue their vision to create fantastic products/services, delight customers and make everyone wealthy.  Unlike slots which are destructive for everyone (except the casinos of course), Startups actually benefit society.  I draw the parallel only to show why startups are addictive to some folks.  They share the same conditioning response with slots and golf.  Hopefully my wife now understands why I still play that god forsaken game of golf.   

Posted by Venky Ganesan at 06:17 PM in Current Affairs, ventures, Web/Tech | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83455928b69e200d83427901353ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference What do Golf, Startups, and Slots have in common?:

» Battle of the Bishops from two unauthorized
two unauthorized promotions have renewed its long-running feud with the Vatican [Read More]

Tracked on May 25, 2006 4:43:05 AM

» Grunting Grannies Tackle Tae Kwon Do from xercise Program
xercise Program Keeps These Women Fit and Feisty [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2006 6:45:08 AM

» Piaggio MP3 three-wheel scooter from as the MP3's
launched by Piaggio in 1946. Fifty years later the company is introducing the MP3, a three-wheeled scooter [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2006 1:07:42 PM

» National Commission on Teaching and America?s Future Selects Tiziani Whitmyre as Strategic Communications Partner from and Americas
D.C., has selected Tiziani Whitmyre, Inc. (www.tizinc.com) of Sharon, Mass. as its strategic marketing, public relations, and web design partner. [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2006 6:03:03 PM

» Mandate serves pay claim on major retailers from are to be served
are to be served with a pay claim on behalf of 25,000 workers by the trade union Mandate. [Read More]

Tracked on May 28, 2006 9:40:27 PM

» Can Just One Cigarette Hook Teens? from just one cigarette
11-year-olds who smoke just one cigarette are more likely to become regular smokers by the time they"re [Read More]

Tracked on May 29, 2006 11:27:14 PM

» New SciFi and Fantasy Magazine Jim Baen's Universe Launches from save Sci Fi short
Eric Flint. (PRWEB Jun 1, 2006) Trackback URI: http://www.prweb.com/dingpr.php/RW1wdC1Mb3ZlLVByb2YtUHJvZi1IYWxmLVplcm8= [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 5, 2006 11:14:17 AM

» Harvey: Rested Parker Will Boost Spurs from vital tonight
don't overlook what is also vital tonight for the Spurs when Jason Terry comes back. Then, Tony Parker comes back, too. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 5, 2006 4:32:05 PM

» Marines to face charges in Iraqi's death (AP) from file murder,
and conspiracy charges against seven Marines and a Navy corpsman in the shooting death of an Iraqi man in April, a defense lawyer said Thursday. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 6, 2006 5:16:25 AM

» Mind Games: Cordless Jump Rope from fit is merely
keeping fit is merely mind over matter, Lester Clancy has an invention for you " a cordless jump-rope. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 6, 2006 3:46:24 PM

» U.N. Health Chief Dies At 61 from fight against
after undergoing emergency surgery for a blood clot in his brain, officials said. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 7, 2006 1:03:55 PM

» Britian's Plan to Monitor Every Car on the Road Advances from There's a
| Camera | Law | UK | Ticket | Privacy Search Blogs of War: [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 8, 2006 11:10:02 AM

» Success University Takes the Lead in Personal Development from #1 most visited
most visited Web site in its industry and has just taken a giant leap to be the industry leader in the $64 billion a year personal development industry. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 8, 2006 3:55:36 PM

» Person of the Week: Medics of Iraq from oldiers Perform
oldiers Perform Medical Miracles, Daily [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 9, 2006 5:24:09 PM

» WTC work will start with blasting from Zero will soon
Zero will soon rumble with demolition to prepare footings for the Freedom Tower. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 10, 2006 4:05:27 AM

» Altimo: Telenor Wasn't Serious About Kyivstar Merger from about merging
its Russian and Ukrainian cellular interests, VimpelCom and Kyivstar, said... [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 10, 2006 5:46:43 AM

» ESRI entre au capital d'IGN France International from nouveau pacte
d'un nouveau pacte d'actionnaires, a negocier l'entree au capital d'ESRI Inc. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 10, 2006 12:09:31 PM

» Detox Clinic Opening for Video Addicts from for video game
clinic for video game addicts to open in Netherlands offering in-house treatment [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 12, 2006 3:22:11 PM

» Premiership 2005-2006 Final Goals & Assists Data from 8 assists Henry..Arsenal..8
involved Rooney..Man United..15 goals & 7 assists = 22 goals involved [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 14, 2006 9:46:43 AM

» MUSIC: This House Party is on Fire from The DVD can
I mean the music was fine--great in fact. I thought the 90s really [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 16, 2006 1:22:23 AM

» Pistons Will Meet Heat in Puerto Rico from PRESS. The
Krista Jahnke of THE DETROIT FREE PRESS. The Pistons traded Arroyo, a native of Puerto Rico, to Orlando in [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 16, 2006 10:24:50 AM

» Rob Parker: Look for Porter to Join Pistons from has taken his
North Carolina State, where he played in college. Porter was coach of the Bucks for two seasons before being fired in June 2005. Players, moles [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 16, 2006 5:25:26 PM

» John Mackey: Not Your Average Grocer from began as a single
and organic products, began as a single health food store in 1980. Dan Rather profiles John Mackey, the man who turned his small business into a company [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 17, 2006 12:14:10 AM

» Afghan Forces Launch Anti-Taliban Push from oalition Forces
oalition Forces Launch Huge Anti-Taliban Push in Southern Afghanistan [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 18, 2006 3:02:06 AM

» Taking vitamins to prevent cancer? Think again from don't reduce
tell you to take your vitamins, but a cancer doctor might hesitate. A recent study that found calcium [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 28, 2006 2:53:13 AM

» Sponsored By Groove Networks: Information shared is failure averted. from cross-agency
in years. Get your copy of the amazing DVD Now. No purchase necessary. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 29, 2006 9:52:50 AM

» Bed sharing 'drains men's brains' from a bed with someone
with someone could temporarily reduce your brain power - at least if you are a man - scientists suggest. [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 24, 2006 7:54:57 AM

» With Raja Bell in the Lineup, Suns Even the Series at 2; Miami and Detroit in Game 5 Tonight from big game from
by Leandro Barbosa, whose 24 points on 10-13 shooting led the team in scoring. The Suns ended up rolling over the [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 24, 2006 2:46:16 PM

» SmartPill travels body, diagnoses stomach pain from when swallowed
that becomes a sort of mini-laboratory when swallowed won federal approval, giving doctors another way to diagnose an [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 24, 2006 10:15:16 PM

» PML MINI QED boasts 640 in-wheel electric horsepower from unleashes the
bhp for a total of 640 all-electric bhp. That power can propel the EV MINI to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 150 mph. A battery [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 24, 2006 11:23:50 PM

» POLITICS: Transparency in Government Spending. What a Concept! from that gets passed.
at the time, but it's the "money out" part of the equation that is much harder to change, as elected representatives [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 27, 2006 7:20:19 AM

» Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report Highlights Recently Released Journal Articles from highlights recently
recently released journal articles on women's health issues. [click link for full article] [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 2, 2006 2:51:51 AM

» LeBron's Extension Relieves Gilbert from about the Cavaliers
BEACON JOURNAL. Having LeBron James under contract for at least four more years does that. [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 7, 2006 7:00:54 PM

» Payton Eager To Talk Deal With Heat's Riley from and Earl Barron
vacation in Africa later this month. Payton and teammates Wade, Mourning, Antoine Walker, James Posey and Earl Barron attended a VIP screening [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 7, 2006 9:53:49 PM

» Time Running Out for Net Pick Ilic from Sources
of NorthJersey.com. Sources said several top European teams have shown interest in the Nets' 2005 second-round pick. One could [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 10, 2006 9:25:24 PM

Comments

So too with fishing. This is not to say that skilled fisherman (and women) do not exist. It is just that you never know which cast is going to provide the exhilirating thrill of landing the big one. I once returned from a fishing trip with a 33 inch muskie. My wife did not seem to share my enthusiasm for this feat. She later explained that she realized that with that catch, I would be hooked on fishing for at least ten more years.

Come to think of it, the same applies to attending live sporting events. You never know when you are going to witness something amazing. But you have to witness something amazing every so often to keep your interest.

Posted by: Anthony Cerminaro | Aug 1, 2005 1:44:28 PM


hehe! yeah, our last startup definetely felt like a slot machine. dunno how many hours we spent sitting there and pressing that damn button.

good post! definetely makes me feel like an addict

i think it's interesting that startups fall within the insurance definition of gambling

Posted by: Daniel Nerezov | Aug 8, 2005 10:12:00 AM

[url=http://www.freewebs.com/casino-13/keno-2.html]free keno[/url] http://www.freewebs.com/casino-13/keno-2.html>play keno online http://www.freewebs.com/casino-13/keno-2.html http://www.freewebs.com/casino-78/slots-5.html>slots machine game [url=http://www.freewebs.com/casino-78/slots-5.html]casino slots[/url] http://www.freewebs.com/casino-78/slots-5.html [url=http://www.ispor.org/disc/_disc/00000f10.htm]cash until payday loan[/url] http://www.ispor.org/disc/_disc/00000f10.htm http://www.ispor.org/disc/_disc/00000f10.htm>cash until payday loan http://www.myhedo.com/General/0000006f.htm>instant payday loan [url=http://www.myhedo.com/General/0000006f.htm]instant payday loan[/url] http://www.myhedo.com/General/0000006f.htm [url=http://www.papillonphotos.com/_disc1/0000173b.htm]payday advance loan[/url] http://www.papillonphotos.com/_disc1/0000173b.htm>payday advance loan http://www.papillonphotos.com/_disc1/0000173b.htm

Posted by: payday advance loan | Jun 27, 2007 7:35:39 PM

[url=http://www.freewebs.com/casino-13/slots-7.html]free slots[/url] http://www.freewebs.com/casino-13/slots-7.html http://www.freewebs.com/casino-13/slots-7.html>free slots [url=http://www.southwark.anglican.org/encounter/_disc1/00003bc4.htm]payday loan personal[/url] http://www.southwark.anglican.org/encounter/_disc1/00003bc4.htm>payday loan personal http://www.southwark.anglican.org/encounter/_disc1/00003bc4.htm [url=http://www.freewebs.com/casino-76/blackjack-1.html]blackjack online[/url] http://www.freewebs.com/casino-76/blackjack-1.html http://www.freewebs.com/casino-76/blackjack-1.html>blackjack card game [url=http://www.freewebs.com/casino-76/craps-5.html]free craps[/url] http://www.freewebs.com/casino-76/craps-5.html>free craps game http://www.freewebs.com/casino-76/craps-5.html [url=http://www.freewebs.com/casino-13/craps-6.html]free craps[/url] http://www.freewebs.com/casino-13/craps-6.html http://www.freewebs.com/casino-13/craps-6.html>craps online

Posted by: payday loan personal | Jun 27, 2007 7:40:57 PM

[url=http://www.romstampa.it/_disc1/0000017f.htm]payday loan on line[/url] http://www.romstampa.it/_disc1/0000017f.htm>payday loan on line http://www.romstampa.it/_disc1/0000017f.htm [url=http://www.freewebs.com/casino-13/card-stud-5.html]7 card stud[/url] http://www.freewebs.com/casino-13/card-stud-5.html http://www.freewebs.com/casino-13/card-stud-5.html>seven card stud http://www.esibirsi.net/Concorso/votazione/_disc1/000000d6.htm [url=http://www.esibirsi.net/Concorso/votazione/_disc1/000000d6.htm]bad credit payday loan[/url] http://www.esibirsi.net/Concorso/votazione/_disc1/000000d6.htm>bad credit payday loan http://www.freewebs.com/casino-78/keno-1.html>online keno [url=http://www.freewebs.com/casino-78/keno-1.html]video keno[/url] http://www.freewebs.com/casino-78/keno-1.html http://www.springgreen.com/_bboard/00002891.htm [url=http://www.springgreen.com/_bboard/00002891.htm]savings account payday loan[/url] http://www.springgreen.com/_bboard/00002891.htm>savings account payday loan

Posted by: savings account payday loan | Jun 27, 2007 7:43:51 PM


the virtual postcards translations taken begin find postcard foreign love of in will be able to declare mail them messages ! Can transmit the animated postcards, static postcards, joke postcards and divertimento pages : [URL=http://auguri-natale.cartoline-natale-it.com]auguri natale[/URL]. of the caprio many postcards phrases ! Was mine in that the voluminoso postcards friendship I had - http://canti-di-natale.cartoline-natale-it.com/ - canti di natale. You can use them for the Auguries of Good NATO them and in occasion of the festivit
a' christmas sending them for mail to relatives and friends, far but also near .. Virtual Postcards TV propose you hundred of electronic postcards gratis of auguries to send to your friends ?

Posted by: IrrewowsGrark | Sep 8, 2007 11:01:41 AM

dwev icopxbvrz rkpzmht inyqrm dbcjysmx mefh flbc

Posted by: ujexvkb kpvcdiq | Sep 11, 2007 7:52:03 PM

luadck emaw mgtvfk xlifuercg axlsg hemjnb uixyev http://www.bptqm.bdnagx.com

Posted by: dzbw auyn | Sep 11, 2007 7:53:55 PM

What boots up must come down. Thanks good site.
http://dfosmdl.678host.com/57392c/map.html

Posted by: [*names.txt*] | Oct 29, 2007 9:55:11 PM

Thanks

Posted by: E cig reviews | Jan 31, 2010 5:28:08 AM

Thanks for posting about this, I would love to read more about this topic.

Posted by: halı yıkama makinası | Apr 29, 2010 2:27:04 PM

Do you know Granado Espada vis? It is a very funny game. If you are a good gamer, I think you want to get much Granado Espada gold. If you want to play this game, you need to GE vis, ge gold .

Posted by: Granado Espada vis | Aug 16, 2010 11:42:23 PM

hey friends,
thanks for sharing your posts...
regards,

Posted by: Generic viagra | Mar 11, 2011 6:11:06 AM

Wow, great, I want to know the same thing. By

Google found that many of the things you dig out

the site here, now I am clear. Bookmarks, and

sign your RSS. Let us updated.http://www.toryburchdiscount.com/tory-burch-

handbags-c-29.html

Posted by: yoyo | Mar 29, 2011 1:38:47 AM

thanks for the posting.
there is something very unique and enjoyable

Posted by: Generic Viagra | May 10, 2011 10:25:32 PM

In this post you have shared so many useful information. I was pleased to read this post i have never sen this before.

Posted by: kamagra | Jul 18, 2011 12:33:59 AM

It's always my pleasure to read this type of stuff.I am very much interested in these types of topics and it's my habit to read this.

Posted by: FreeCreditScore | Aug 5, 2011 5:13:08 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.