How Companies Create a New Normal

The Gated Team
December 5, 2022

20 years ago, it felt uncomfortable (one might call it “weird”) to:

  • get in a car with a stranger
  • have someone you didn’t know crash on your couch
  • meet your spouse online

But today, every one of these behaviors is considered normal.

  • Uber and Lyft have reinvented transportation
  • Airbnb is worth more than all national hotel brands combined
  • 40% of people meet their spouse online thanks to innovation from, Tinder, Bumble, among others

How do strange behaviors become normalized by innovative startups?

Each of the above are examples of when broad social norms were changed by companies that created a new solution with an an engaging experience.  Through excellent experience, people began to adopt new behaviors that were initially awkward because the solutions offered solved problems and opened up new potential in established industries.

In the software and technology ecosystem, Gong and Calendly stand out as similar examples.

If you had tried to record a conversation 10 years ago, it might have been viewed as creepy or an invasion of privacy; today, it’s so expected that people don’t blink when a separate recording entity joins a Zoom call.

And remember the kerfuffle around Calendly?  The sending of calendar links was seen as an uncomfortable presentation of corporate power struggle.  But over time, the ease of the product and benefit to all sides has made the technology adopted and accepted to an entirely “this is normal behavior” level.

How did Gong and Calendly shift customer behavior?

In short, both technologies helped dissolve discomfort in a new behavior by providing value for multiple different sides of the people who use their products.  Let’s take a deeper look:

  • When Gong (and Chorus, Otter, and others) started, recording your calls was new and awkward.   Reps had to explain to customers and prospects why they were recording the call. Sales teams also had to feel comfortable with their manager being able to listen to every single word of their conversations.  It felt odd, on multiple fronts.   But when reps and managers began using these recordings to dramatically improve their understanding and coaching of sales calls, initial resistance changed.  Reps saw value in improving their outcomes. Customers felt that their concerns were being valued more highly and better understood. Today, call recording technology on your Zoom or Teams call has become something you probably don’t think twice about
  • When Calendly began, it encountered the perception that it was being used by people in positions of power to emphasize  their importance when others were trying to book with them.  But people soon realized that there were double-sided benefits of eliminating complex scheduling ack-and-forth cycles. The noise and complexity of scheduling was simplified and the ability to get time on anyone’s calendar became more accessible.

How is Gated driving behavior change in communication?

There is an existing paradigm in email (and many other platforms) that says every message has a place in your inbox.  This paradigm is reinforced by some of the biggest players in tech, who make use of those messages to understand what you’re interested in and advertise to you.

Today, anyone can send an email to you at any time, resulting in most of your inbox being overwhelmed by unwanted (and irrelevant) email.  73% of U.S. professionals agree with the statement: “I get too much unsolicited email.” (Inbox Intelligence Report, 2022)

As a solution, Gated removes unknown senders from your inbox and challenges them to donate to your nonprofit to reach you.

Similar to Gong and Calendly’s technology, this experience may feel different and odd the first few times you experience it. But also similarly, the more people use Gated the more it’s easy to see the benefit to both users (less irrelevant email) and senders (easier for responsible sellers to stand out).   [As a third area of benefit, nonprofits are uncovering Gated as a free channel for more funding and awareness.]

The future of protecting our attention

With increasing adoption of Gated by users and strong endorsement of the process by senders as well, we can expect to see a shift in communication.  While we once believed that anyone should reach us at any time, that paradigm is no longer sustainable.  Our world is becoming increasingly full of digital noise and automated technologies working to get a piece of our attention.

Gated is creating. technology designed to protect your time (and mental health) and give you back control over your own attention.  Read our manifesto to learn more.