Forcing Functions

Eric Friedman
5 min readJun 11, 2019

I have always liked the idea of having forcing functions, a forced reason to take action and produce a result, when dealing with most situations. Whether a fundraising event, hiring, or sales/partnership opportunity- these can be especially useful to make all parties move faster. In the end, time will kill all deals.

Interestingly in the computer interaction design sense there is a very different definition;

A forcing function is an aspect of a design that prevents the user from taking an action without consciously considering information relevant to that action. It forces conscious attention upon something (“bringing to consciousness”) and thus deliberately disrupts the efficient or automatized performance of a task.

This can obviously be a distraction or interruption (as mentioned above) so the nuance is important. Having worked on many deals that seem to go dark with the other party (think endless sales calls or follow ups) getting back in front of someone in the right way is key. If you interrupt it is worthless, but if you add value you can get back into their flow intelligently.

There are a few types of forcing functions and methods I have seen work and wanted to share them below.

Fundraising forcing functions are important because VCs will endlessly kick the can down the road until the next launch, the…