The Psychology Behind Viral Content and the Assistant Behind Silicon Valley's Top Executives


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 29, 2023

4 min read


The Psychology Behind Viral Content and the Assistant Behind Silicon Valley's Top Executives

In the fast-paced world of Silicon Valley, success is often attributed to the brilliant minds behind the scenes. One such individual is Ann Hiatt, the assistant who has worked with some of the top executives in the industry. But what sets Hiatt apart from others in her role? What makes her an invaluable asset to these high-profile individuals?

Hiatt's journey began with a job interview with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. During the interview, Bezos posed a brainteaser, asking her to estimate the total number of glass panes in the city of Seattle. It wasn't about getting the exact answer; instead, Bezos wanted to see how Hiatt approached a complex problem. He wanted to witness her ability to break down the problem into manageable steps. This emphasis on strategic thinking and problem-solving is a common thread among successful executives.

Similarly, the psychology behind viral content and why people share can offer valuable insights into the mindset of individuals in the digital age. According to research, there are eight clusters of motivation that drive people to share content: status, identity, helpfulness, safety, order, novelty, validation, and voyeurism.

Status plays a significant role in the sharing of content. People often seek validation and prestige by associating themselves with high-status individuals or exclusive products. Sharing accomplishments or milestones of friends on social media is a way to showcase one's own status within a network.

Identity projection is another powerful motivator for sharing. People want to express who they are and have their point of view vindicated. Sharing content that aligns with their beliefs or opinions helps to solidify their identity and seek validation from others.

Safety is a primal instinct ingrained in our psychology. When we sense danger, our brain naturally pays attention. Platforms like Nextdoor and Citizen gained early traction because they provided information about potential threats in one's neighborhood. This need for safety and security drives individuals to share content related to protecting themselves and their communities.

Order and organization are essential for many individuals. They seek tools and resources that help optimize and streamline their lives. Sharing such tools not only makes them appear more efficient and organized but also helps others adopt the same protocols and systems.

Novelty is a powerful motivator when it comes to sharing. People are constantly seeking out the next new thing, wanting to be ahead of the curve. Sharing new products or information allows individuals to position themselves as trendsetters and showcases their openness to new experiences.

Validation and self-esteem are deeply rooted in our psychology. We want to feel good about ourselves and our place in the world. Sharing achievements or positive experiences online boosts our self-esteem and reinforces our belief in our abilities.

Voyeurism, or the desire to experience things vicariously, also drives sharing behavior. People share content that allows others to live through their experiences, whether it's sharing travel photos or exciting life events.

Understanding these motivations can help businesses and content creators design products and campaigns that have the potential to go viral. By tapping into these psychological drivers, companies can create content and products that resonate with their target audience and incentivize sharing.

So, how can you apply these insights to your own endeavors? Here are three actionable advice to keep in mind:

  • 1. Tap into the power of status: Create a sense of exclusivity or association with high-status individuals or concepts. Offer limited-time promotions or create a community that members feel privileged to be a part of.
  • 2. Make sharing effortless: Reduce the friction to sharing. Design your product or content in a way that minimizes the effort and thinking required to share. The easier it is for individuals to share, the more likely they are to do so.
  • 3. Provide value and usefulness: Focus on creating content or products that are genuinely helpful to your target audience. When individuals perceive something as useful, they are more inclined to share it with others. Offer practical tools, tips, or insights that align with their needs and desires.

In conclusion, the psychology behind viral content and the strategic mindset of assistants like Ann Hiatt offer valuable lessons for success in the fast-paced world of Silicon Valley. By understanding the motivations behind sharing and leveraging strategic thinking, businesses can create products and campaigns that have the potential to go viral and capture the attention of their target audience. So, whether you're aiming for viral success or looking to support top executives, remember the power of psychology and strategic thinking in achieving your goals.

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