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Some might say that the US dollar is the most successful product in history.


Think about it, it is the product in which all other products are predicated. Money, is something that people think about incessantly. But, ironically, do not think about at all.


This realization lead me to start thinking about money as a brand...  what is its purpose? How can we create a greater, or different connection to it? and what is the sense of meaning in it?


Enter Dan Ariely.


Dan is a behavioral economist and well known for documenting our blind relationship with irrationality. Serendipitously, Dan has a new book out called Dollars and Sense which explores how we think about money. Who better to talk to!


From talking to Dan I learned three main things.


  1. How we think about worth and value

    1. Why are most people willing to pay $4 for one kind of coffee and only $1 for another? Even if we can show empirically that there is no difference in taste? Why will buy a chocolate bar for $9.  


  1. Branding saving over spending

    1. Most, if not all of the status derived from our purchases are a visual representation of how much we spent, implying it is cool to spend. But, we often do not think about branding the parts of our financial lives that are more opaque, and arguably more important.




     3. Designing products around the “Pain of paying”  

  1. Anecdotally, I like taking Ubers because I don’t have to look at the meter of a taxi cab (just being real). This is a slick use of alleviating the “pain of paying”, that feeling of unease when we realize that equivalent, less than or greater value must be exchanged in order for the economy to run properly. Where can this be leveraged for building new products and brands?  

Listen to the episode below