Nick Molnar – Make Webs Better

Nick Molnar Dossier

* Blog: the Future is Now
* Twitter @nickmolnar
* Project: Adopt a Band
* Job: Thirdi
* Pic: Nick at UW40 by /bmann

Nick Molnar eats a forelimb

Topic: (paraphrased) How do Web “things” Affect our Lives

Note: He somewhat looks like a 1972-era Cat Stevens (AKA Yusef Islam)

Experimental Questions:

What if your fave social network started ranking you by how different you are from your friends?
What if your website was suddenly mostly Icelandic?
What if your music site thought you should listen to country music?

How do decisions get made:

Measurement – change things, if works, do more
What are web dev bizes measuring? Engagement (any action, click, Tweet, interaction)

What important? Gossip or health advisory?
When is “driving engagement” bad for us?

3 Problems:

1) They know you too well (holy grail of personalization)

Example: Netflix recommendation engine … Problem: “But nobody asked which bucket you really belong in” – personalization gets “polluted” with your guilty pleasures and biases

2) They’re really fun (addict-able) but “sticky” does not mean meaningful

Explain: “game designers take fun seriously” people feel pleasure when completing a series of steps – add variables like timing and amount of rewards to spur behaviour

3) All your friends are there

Explain: desire for connections and “a place to hang out” … (in these games) “who you know is more important than what you know” & “status is everything” (which requires significant time investment) … each new player validates existence of this place

Tools Can Get Better (Used for Good)


* Nike running program (motivates to run more)
* ReMission (Cancer fighting game)
* Chore Wars (looks like WoW)
* Save my Life (lower the risk of cancer)


Gist: We’re building things which have people’s attention, what can we make to make them better?

Whatcha think?