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matt waleartStarting a new technology company? It might be useful to get a behavioral psychologist on board. Or, at least, get a chance to talk with Microsoft’s Matt Wallaert.

Wallaert is in town for the next few days, meeting with game changers at Drexel University’s ExCITe Center and more, as well as giving a chat at incubation spaceVenturef0rth Monday evening.

Wallaert’s shtick is helping companies understand a model of behavior change called competing pressures. Psychologists use this to help think about situations. The theory? Human behavior is a product of promoting pressures (reasons to do something) and inhibiting pressures (reasons not to do something), Wallaert explained.

Both pressures are important for new companies to think about.

Take on-demand car service Uber, which uses a mobile application for convenience, for instance.

When Uber was first being created, others in the transportation space were addressing promoting pressures: It’s going to be a cleaner cab, it’s going to be a cooler cab, it will be a hybrid for efficiency, etc.

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Uber did none of that, Wallaert said. Besides, maybe, requiring bottled water to be available in the back of cars, he added.

“Everything they did was about inhibiting pressures,” Wallaert said. “So while their entire industry was concentrating on how to make riding in a cab more attractive … they just said, ‘How do we make it easier?’”

Structured, diverse thoughts about consumers’ behaviors will help make a startup tech company succeed, although, Wallaert said, “sometimes people luck into it, some people do this quite naturally.”

Wallaert is an expert on the topic, as he’s taken this thought process to Microsoft, where he’s helped create K-12 digital literacy program Bing in the Classroom. It basically turns Microsoft’s search engine Bing into a way to give more tech exposure to underserved students, teach them the skills they need to use a computer or tablet and help them do it in a safe environment (without undesirable advertisements, for instance).

Wallaert, also a founder of two startups (Thrive and Churnless), is a country guy (peep his cowboy boots next time you see him) from Oregon. Although he now lives and works in Seattle, he does consider Philadelphia one of his homes. He went to Swarthmore College for his undergraduate degree and taught a food science lab at Drexel.

Lauren Hertzler covers technology, education and venture capital.