waze | outsmarting traffic together

You’ve certainly heard of the Waze app – If you haven’t, then download it and begin playing now.

Imagine millions of drivers out on the roads, working together towards a common goal: to outsmart traffic and get everyone the best route to work and back, every day.

Except for being potentially distracting for engrossed drivers, the platform provides a heightened awareness and a benefit beyond anything of the sort before. I’m highlighting it, because of the obvious power in connecting the physical and virtual.

Pushing the boundaries of the overlap of our physical and digital lives? Check!

Clearly, it is popular because of its utilitarian value – but what I find fascinating is how it resonates emotionally with its users.  This is one that Robert Scoble would rather die than live without (article in readwrite.com). There is something going on here that is much more than value as a real-time traffic advisor, navigator, and map – Waze plays to human psychology, behavior, and basic desires.

If we “map” Waze against some fundamental desires the picture becomes clearer:

  • We want to be in control | Waze empowers its users
  • We want to win, we want recognition | It utilizes gamification and rewards participation
  • We strive to understand the complex | It cleverly distills multiple layers of information in a manner similar to how we naturally view our environment
  • We want to play |  Waze is fun!

Think about this the next time you find yourself emotionally attached to an app.

Now get out there, become a Wazer! But keep your eyes on the road, please.

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