All posts by Denise K

Time is money

No money? Time enough? A new platform has been developed where people can exchange goods or services. Usually we pay in cash, by credit card, we trade or we can even pay by bitcoin nowadays. One of the disadvantages of money is that you need to have it in order to be able to buy something. On, a famous Dutch platform where people can offer and buy second hand goods and services, some people also ask to trade something instead of using money. There are even platforms, such as and that focus solely on trading instead of paying with money. One of the disadvantages of trading is that it can be quite unfair sometimes. If you paint your neighbors house for 10 hours and your neighbor takes care of your garden for 5 hours it is not such a fair deal. Besides, it is hard to measure exactly how many hours one spent on a service and if you make a trading deal with a stranger it is usually hard to find something worth exactly the same. There is now a solution for this: the tijdmunt (timecoin).

Tijdmunt makes it possible for people to do a service for other people and in return receive a tijdmunt on the platform. One hour of work equals one tijdmunt. This tijdmunt can be spent on a service of someone else, so not especially the person you did something for. It is a platform where demand and supply come together. Tijdmunt currently has 260 users, and expects to grow faster in the future. At this moment there are 63 advertisements of people that offer something on the website, from repairing a flat tire to a dvd box of Lord of the Rings. Currently there are only 19 advertisements of people looking for a service, from someone looking for a hairdresser to someone looking for a programmer. On the demand side of the platform there is nobody looking for goods, only for services. Users can save real money because now they can pay in tijdmunten instead of with money. New users have to register on the website, where they can create a tijdmunt bank account. This bank account allows them to transfer tijdmunten to other users of the platform.

Similar platforms where people can exchange services or goods for time were developed, but most of these websites are location based and local people do things for other local people.

The vision of tijdmunt states that before money it was normal to exchange goods and services, but over time consumers and companies have become largely dependent on money. The financial crisis has shown that money also has its limitations and therefore tijdmunt could be used as good complement to the normal money, because it is independent of place, investments and systematic risks. To me, tijdmunt seems like a fair complement to money for people doing services for each other. Would you try it out?



The Inner Circle: An Exclusive Dating Community

Nowadays, a lot of apps can be downloaded for free in the App Store or similar shops. Most of these apps try to get a large user base, so that they can sell data and the more users they have the more income they generate through advertisements. There are also a lot of dating apps available on the market. Tinder is a famous app that can be used by everybody looking for a date, and there are several variations for niche markets available. One of the dating apps that is expanding worldwide now is The Inner Circle. In contrast to most other apps, they do not try to get as much users as possible, as you can only become a member if you get an invitation from another member. And even if you have an invitation, your social media profiles will first get screened to check if you would fit in The Inner Circle community.

The Inner Circle members are mainly young, inspiring, and motivated professionals in the age of 25 to 40. The community is attractive for other people because through this app like-minded people can find each other for a serious relationship. In contrast to other dating apps members are pre-screened which gives a more reliable image to other users. It also takes away the effort for members to google other members. If a member meets someone new they know that the other person is most likely successful in life. In the Netherlands The Inner Circle even attracted a famous football player and actor.

Members of The Inner Circle can make use of an app and a website where they can chat with each other before they decide to meet in real life. Besides this, users also get access to exclusive parties organised by The Inner Circle to meet other members. Special games are organized during these parties so that the members get in touch more easily.

There are several plans to expand the app to other countries. The growth of members will not be very fast because of the invite-only policy. After a free week of trial, members have to pay for a Full Membership, and therefore the company is financially healthy. The app was founded in Amsterdam in December 2012 and is now active in London, Paris, Stockholm, Milan, and Barcelona, with 50.000 members so far. The Inner Circle wants to upgrade in these cities through growth hacking and further expand to Zurich, Berlin, Copenhagen, and New York in 2015. In the US there is already a similar app, called The League, which is also a dating app with an exclusive network.

The business model of The Inner Circle sounds like a paradox: they do not want everybody to become a member, however without members the app would not be able to exist. Exclusive networks exist in the real world, but so far it seems that they can also be successful and even profitable in the online world. Would you like to be part of this exclusive community?


The Effect of Ordering Decisions by Choice-Set Size on Consumer Search

This blog post is based on the article ‘The Effect of Ordering Decisions by Choice-Set Size on Consumer Search by J. Levav, N. Reinholtz, and C. Lin.

Consumers have to make lots of choices nowadays. Making good decisions can be difficult, both for the consumer and for the company that wants to influence the consumer to make a certain choice. There are several theories on how to manipulate consumers during their decision process. In this article it is investigated on how the order of choice set sizes leads to different choices. Several experiments were conducted, of which the first one will be described below.

In this experiment participants were asked to create a CD with 10 songs for a road trip. There were 10 song selection screens, where they could listen to examples of the songs. In each screen the participants had to select one song that they would like to have on the CD. The participants were told that they would receive the CD they created after the experiment. There were two groups of participants, participants of the first group were shown a number of options for the songs that increased by five in every screen, i.e. for the first song the participants had to choose there were five options, for the second song there were 10 options, so for the 10th song there were 50 options. For the other group, there were 50 options for the first song, decreasing to 5 options for the 10th song. The experiment showed that even though both groups of participants had the same amount of choices in total, participants in group 1 sampled on average 149 songs (out of 275 songs), while participants in group 2 sampled on average 101 songs. Participants in the first group also spent more time on making their final decision.

This experiment shows that consumers facing an increasing choice-set size spent more time on searching for the best option. This effect is confirmed by the other experiments in the article. Another outcome of the experiments was that the first choice that a consumer has to make, is the most important one in influencing the mind-set of the consumer for the following choices. The level of increase in choice options is also relevant; abrupt increases tend to reduce the level of search of the consumer.

It can be concluded that ordering decisions in an increasing choice-set size is a simple way for managers to influence choices of consumers, because it increases consumer search and therefore engagement. A disadvantage of this method that has to be mentioned though is that this deeper search of consumers can lead to a lower satisfaction after the purchase.


Levav, J.; Reinholtz, N.; Lin, C. (2012) ‘The Effect of Ordering Decisions by Choice-Set Size on Consumer Search’. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(3), pp. 585-599. Available at:×300