Remember the Netflix Prize? Turns out, Netflix didn’t make must use of the winning method, because the prize was based on dvd rental data, and their customers now stream movies more; dvds tend to be chosen more in far mode, while streaming movies are chosen more in near mode:
This is interesting.
My DVD shelf has very few movies or TV series I haven't watched, probably around 5-10%.
Same cannot be said for my book shelf, unfortunately! Best idea is just not to buy another book until you've read your previous one!
Commit to a shopping list.
I'm interested in whether this extends to other purchase domains. Grocery shopping comes to mind. If you're not hungry at the store, you might be more willing to take a chance on higher variance items (variance of your ultimate utility experience consuming them).
If we want people to buy better food, then how can we induce far mode thinking right before they do their shopping?
I agree with Douglas -- Netflix neither asserted nor provided evidence that mail order is far. All they said is that mail order is different, and their announcement suggests that the difference has more to do with risk aversion. Masnick made the leap to the conclusion that mail order is far. From my own introspection, there are two effects here: the near/far difference, and the risk aversion effect, with the latter effect dominating. When I'm streaming videos, I'm much more willing to take a chance on a movie for which my priors indicate high variance, whereas when I'm mail ordering, I tend to go with only those DVDs I'm pretty sure that I'll like.
Masnick's introspection says that mail order is far. There's nothing wrong with introspection, but because he quotes Netflix, lots of people seem to think Netflix provided some evidence for this claim.