September 8, 2021 — A Note From Amasia
Today is an exciting day—we are opening applications for a new cohort-based course we are calling AxBC.
This course is a partnership between Amasia, and the London-based non-profit Behaviour Change that will offer early-stage founders the tools to integrate the science of behavior change into their products.
The AxBC program is open to founders and product leaders of any business that seeks to drive positive change as part of its core mission.
Why are we doing this? The Amasia team believes strongly that fighting the climate crisis will require significant and sustained behavior change, and we've adapted our investment thesis (and our own lives) to reflect that belief.
We see many companies whose core mission is to drive positive behavior change. But as is the case with many areas of knowledge, the depth and breadth of research-led findings percolate rarely and with difficulty into the startup ecosystem. We think of this course as another opportunity to encourage collaboration between science—behavioral science, not "Star Wars" science—and entrepreneurship.
Not only is this good for society, it's also good for business—as most people know from trying to go on a diet or establish a new routine, behavior change is hard! For positive changes—and the companies that encourage them—to succeed against the pull of old habits, companies will need to make use of every psychological tool at their disposal.
You may wonder how this is different from well known techniques for measuring, and acting upon, user behavior. The best way to answer this question is as follows: The techniques we cover in AxBC will give you the forest, and user behavior testing gives you the trees. You need both to change behavior; one is not better than the other.
A simple example is the deep science and learning associated with the placement of visual elements on a landing page. These are A/B tested at great scale every day by tens of thousands of companies. Think of this as "the trees"—placing a call to action button here versus there can and does make a difference to business outcomes.
But if you haven't figured out what the actual behavior is that you seek to influence through the medium of your product or web site, or the strategic mechanisms by which you can change it, you run the danger of simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
Consider online learning for example—certainly you could optimize for your subscriber count by tinkering with your landing page, but if you haven't thought through, in some detail, how you get a potential learner to actually make the decision to engage with online learning in general and your approach in particular, you are likely severely under optimizing at a higher level.
We are excited to be partnering with a non-profit that has extensive experience in the area of science-based behavior change. It's even in their name! Behaviour Change is a not-for-profit social enterprise that has worked with corporations, non-profits, and local and state governments to develop strategies for social and environmental change grounded in behavioral science.
We believe that AxBC will be a place of mutual information exchange and learning. We also believe that AxBC will be a source of community for like-minded founders. Our sense of purpose is all the more powerful when it is shared with others.
In short, we're really excited about this and we hope you are too! If you're a founder or VP Product of a business that seeks to drive positive change as part of its core mission, we hope you'll join us.