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Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Parting Salute to Cliff Nass – Social Interface Pioneer and Good Friend

I met Cliff Nass in late 1994. He and his colleague Byron Reeves were consulting on a project at Microsoft called “Utopia”, often cited as an example of one the company’s greatest failures—Microsoft Bob. However, that attribution is unfortunate because Cliff (and the history behind Microsoft Bob) contributed in a very positive way to Hoaloha’s design philosophy and to the entire technology industry. At that time, Cliff and Byron were both professors of sociology at Stanford University, initially researching how we humans interact and the almost innate, unconscious patterns of behavior we exhibit. For example, their research that human social behavior such as our natural tendency to give more positive feedback when face-to-face than when relating that information to another party, that participating within a group makes tend to feel more positive about our team members, that we hold stereotypes based on the gender of voices, and that we tend…

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