Recommendations and Behaviors

A conversation the other day got me thinking again about some of the principles that drive the consulting and training services offered here at MMM. It falls into this idea of recommendations and behaviors, and how our perspectives of these drives how we value our choices with web and mobile tech.


Recommendations are probably the most common bucket of questions that comes out when a person finds out about MMM. They want to know “what’s the best mobile phone,” or “what are some of the best mobile applications.” There’s nothing wrong with this approach, and in many respects it is helpful to have these recommendations, they allow us to create usage scenarios around which we start understanding the value or relevancy of the hardware, software, or service technology choices we are interested in.

The thing about recommendations, and this is even true of the famed recommendation engines (AI, servers, and software) from companies such as Amazon, Google, and Apple. They can analyze clicks, behaviors, and even environmental conditions and then serve to us the created content (devices, accessories, books, software, music, etc.) that would likely interest us. There’s good money in it for these companies to have people use their services based on these recommendation engines too, as it creates a better engine, and more defined metrics for marketers.

In the same way, when we recommend something to one another, we are putting our stamp – our validation – that this item (whatever it is) is relevant and valued to us, and therefore might also be to you. This is one of the most effective means of sharing views and opinions, and no good magazine would be without this approach.


Behaviors are a slightly different beast. These are taught and learned actions which create perceptions. While a recommendation can foster or culture already existing perceptions, they do little to expand your overall viewport. Behaviors on the other hand, by their very nature, create, enhance, sustain, or destroy perceptions. Positive behaviors become references to others as a bar to keep towards (a recommendation); while negative behaviors also become a reference, though as a boundary to keep away from.

An interesting thing in respect to mobile and web technology is that behaviors are still at this stage (speaking globally, socially) where we are still looking for the best practices. If you will, we are still looking for enough consistency that we can recommend to others practical and profitable methods. For example, here at MMM, we’ve talked a few times before about taking a break from connectivity and social technologies in order to reconfirm to this idea of a Sabbath. This behavior is recommended, as it has been found that time away from those things digital enhances one’s abilities to rest, grow, think, and reflect. Such behaviors therefore become encouraged.

The other thing about behaviors is that once you’ve learned them, recommendations take on a different perspective. For example, before you learn how to read and write in Greek, you rely on various dictionaries and contextual references in order to discern those Greek words. You likely also rely on the recommendations of others towards the “right” dictionaries, applications, and even opinions. But, after you’ve learned the language, the weight of these recommendations takes on a different light. Because you have learned the system, your behavior is now that you can read and write Greek, and your reliance on recommendations is much less. In effect, cultivating certain behaviors, sets back the prominence of recommendations.

A Wise Approach

MMM has been changing over the years in that there’s not so much in the way of “what’s the best device/app/service/etc.” In our consulting, conversations, and workshops, we’ve found it a better value to people when you can direct them towards learning and discovering their behaviors, rather than simply tending to their recommendations.

Even in our various communities, we understand that we can recommend to people that they read and study, but it is only when we sit with them and cultivate what it means to read and study effectively that they create a behavior that looks like reading and studying daily (Joshua 1:8).

So remember this the next time you visit a website, read Consumer Reports/Kelly Blue Book, or even answer a poll. Are you just interested in a recommendation that will affirm your current stance, or are you interested in cultivating a new behavior that may change your perceptions. Both methods appear within sound consulting and doctrine, but behaviors are the only ones which will mature your perspectives.