a16z Podcast

a16z Podcast: Addiction vs Popularity in the Age of Virality

Adam Alter, Derek Thompson, and Hanne Winarsky

Posted July 15, 2017

In the age of virality, what does it actually mean to be popular? When does popularity — or good product design, for that matter — cross over from desire and engagement… to addiction? Journalist and editor Derek Thompson, author of Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction — and NYU professor Adam Alter, author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked — share their thoughts on these topics with Hanne Tidnam in this episode of the a16z Podcast.

The discussion covers everything from the relationship between novelty and familiarity (we like what we know we like! and want more of it!) to what makes a hit. And what’s going on when we suddenly fall in love with something “new” and can’t get enough of it — like playing a new video game or binge-watching a TV show.