Robert Haisfield: Gamification, Behavior Design and Exploratory Search

July 16, 2020 Norman Chella Season 1 Episode 3
Robert Haisfield: Gamification, Behavior Design and Exploratory Search
Show Notes

Our guest in this episode today is Robert Haisfield, Founder of Influence Insights, as well as the behavioral product strategist at Spark Wave. Focusing on behavior design and gamification, he applies his knowledge to tech products better accomplish their intended goals. 

We talked about:

  • Rob's note-taking origin story, from standup comedy to behavioral science papers and consulting
  • The exploratory behavior of people, what they expect from entering digital gardens and public Roams
  • Workflows, usages of Roam, in particular 'pruning' your database for quality use
  • Entry points to one's Roam to accommodate for different readers



  • 2:20 Writing down everything, note taking and standup comedy
  • 4:38 Research through Notion, Bear and now Roam
  • 8:14 How Rob found Roam, and older Notion workflows1
  • 11:34 Testing Roam out with projects, and note-taking hygiene
  • 13:49 Overwhelming graphs, Bear vs. Roam
  • 17:37 Switching from a keyword approach to an evergreen note approach
  • 20:13 Roam's accessibility for non-Roam users...there's none
  • 23:36 Higher bar on a public Roam, articulating ideas
  • 26:14 Exploring 2-dimensional navigation and Andy Matuschak's notes (follow along!)
  • 29:52 "I love getting lost" The fun part about exploring hypertext
  • 34:52 Expressing through outlines and blocks, and the value of a digital garden
  • 36:18 The different ways people search for things
  • 37:48 The open notebook, Rob's hypertext
  • 40:12 Hypertext adventures, and behavioral economics sets up a choice architecture
  • 42:33 Entry points, and Obsidian's graph view
  • 47:59 Rob's future projects and tips for starting Roam
  • 53:41 How would you describe Roam to someone who hasn't started using it yet?
  • 54:36 What does Roam mean to you?


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