Behavioral Economics get Ted Excited Every Day at Besst

Updated: Oct 25, 2018

By Ted Falkenhayn

Hey Everyone! I’m here to offer an inside view into what day-to-day operations are like at Besst. I’ve been lucky to work in such a dynamic, friendly environment. Our team of diverse, incredibly talented individuals has been working non-stop to create a truly revolutionary product – we cannot wait to share it with you.

As a part of the business development team, I’ve worn many hats with Besst. On any given day, you could find me analyzing marketing strategy, building out our user engagement, or writing some captivating copy, and I have been able to impact almost every part of Besst’s growth. In the spirit of sharing, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite projects: integrating the insights from behavioral science into our platform.

I know, you might be thinking, “How could that be his favorite project he’s worked on? Don’t people at startups spend their time pitching to sharks like Mr. Wonderful and Cuban or hanging out at exciting events?” To answer your questions: yes, I’ve done my share of pitches and I’ve meet some really remarkable people along the way. Despite that, with this project my passions for both behavioral economics and product development came together in the most elegant way. I’ve always been extremely detail-oriented and meticulous in product development, and behavioral scientists like Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler have been idols of mine for a while. The opportunity to implement their work into Besst has been truly special.

While scouring the scholarly literature on nudges, loss aversion, negativity bias and countless other phenomena wasn’t the most glamorous work, it certainly paid off for our product’s quality. By talking with experts in the field, we’ve been able to tweak various features on our product to create a truly enjoyable experience for the user. We’ve learned that the smallest alteration of common phrases can have significant impact on user perceptions – what’s known as the framing effect. For example, a single event can be phrased as either a loss or a gain and have differing user perceptions. Take the possibility that my lovable Chicago Cubs will win their next game. Option 1 (positive framing): there is a 65% chance the Cubs will win. Option 2 (negative framing): there is a 35% chance the Cubs will lose. These phrases seem pretty similar, right? Well, that’s because they are actually the exact same. But multiple studies have shown that despite both options saying the exact same thing, individuals perceive them quite differently. In a competitive setting, it has been found that people generally find the positive frame as a more desirable, and therefore tend to weigh it more heavily in their process of making a prediction. Conversely, negative frames are perceived as riskier, and therefore leads to uncertainty in decision making. You might be thinking, “ok so I should expect Besst to only use positive framing when posing a bet so that more people guess correctly, right?” Well, I wish I could give a concise, yes or no answer – but the truth is that it depends a lot on circumstances. It is our hope that the Besst will be able to analyze these framing effects, determine how they affect user perceptions in-app, and then be able to answer your question! When the Besst team successfully analyzes our data on this and many other similar phenomena, we might all be a little wiser because of it :).