Yeah, that’s a fancy word that means arrogance. Which, ironically, makes using the word “hubris” an act of arrogance, especially if you think you’ll look smart using the term. Well, hubris is one my primary flaws in life and one that likely contributed to my painful exit from my last startup.

One of the antidotes to hubris is to practice talking about your mistakes, being just as anxious to say “I was wrong” as saying “I was right.” This is not natural for me, a relatively intelligent introvert raised in a household where mistakes are not discussed unless they are the mistakes of others. So, in order to continue to practice my personal growth habits, I’d like to share with you a mistake that, while innocuous, is also fairly embarrassing for a digital native who enjoys chiding others around their tech mistakes around identity, phishing, and security.

We have to purchase new health insurance as of Jan 1, so I started doing research for both the federal marketplace and a newer insurance company that operates in Nashville, Oscar Health. I started the search on my phone and got this screen:


When I clicked on the link, I saw the “Ad” icon, but I was too lazy to scroll down to their native (non-paid for) link that is below. And, I didn’t bother looking to closely at the URL, only seeing Oscar and Health.

Mistake. Neither of those ads take you to the real Oscar Health.

After going through a couple of screens where I gave information like name, DOB, phone number and ZIP code, I got to a screen where I saw something like “OK, agents will start contacting you….”

Those were not the words I was expecting from Oscar and almost immediately, my phone started ringing and getting text messages. Here is a sample of my Call app:


As you can see, seven calls in around 2 hours. It hasn’t stopped, as it is Open Enrollment time until 12/15 (tomorrow) for anyone on a Fed Marketplace health plan, so all the agents are in full force dialing for dollars.

So shame on me for being lazy and clicking on links that I don’t look at very closely, especially ones where I give out fairly personal information. I could easily see some of this information used for identity theft, so now I’m on heightened alert for a few months.

I put my phone on mute for three days, and while the calls have slowed down, they haven’t stopped. It is sort of the screw-up that keeps on giving!

Humility is an underrated quality these days. I now have more. Be on the lookout for more mistakes here.

Footnote for the curious – here is the screenshot if I did this search from a web browser instead of a mobile browser. Notice no ads. This is a huge reason why sometimes it is better to search from a web browser instead of mobile!


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