Hooked – Nir Eyal

Hook Model – products that create a loop to create repeated uses. Trigger > action > variable rewards > Investment. 

Ingrained habits – behaviors done with little to no conscious thought. Constitute over 50% of our daily activities. Allow us to focus on new or more nuanced items, by storing automatic responses. Shortcuts for the brain. If it was a good decision yesterday, it will probably be a good decision today. Script is written, routine is formed. 

Painkillers vs vitamins. A product should aim to be a painkiller. Painkillers solve an obvious need, relieving a specific pain, and often have quantifiable markets. Vitamins on the other hand, don’t have an obvious need, and appeal to the user’s emotional rather than functional needs. Pain doesn’t need to be physical pain, it can be more like an “itch” that gnaws at the user until it gets scratched. 

Call-to-action – also known as an external trigger. Should be simple and direct since too many options can cause hesitation, confusion, or worst case abandonment. 

Internal triggers – 

Negative Emotions – boredom, loneliness, frustration, confusion, indecisiveness. Often instigate a feeling of irritation or unease that leads to action. 

Clear description of users, and what need you are trying to address, is critical to the product design process. 

Motivation – the energy for action. 3 core motivators drive our desire to act (BJ Fogg):

  1. Our goal is to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
  2. To seek hope and avoid fear
  3. To seek social acceptance and avoid rejection

“Take a human desire, preferably one that has been around for a really long time… Identify that desire and use modern technology to take out steps.” Evan Williams, Twitter co-founder

Six Elements of simplicity (BJ Fogg)

Time – how long it takes to complete an action.

Money – the fiscal cost of taking an action.

Physical effort – the amount of labor involved in taking the action. 

Brain cycles – the level of mental effort and focus required to take an action. 

Social deviance – how accepted the behavior is by others.

Non-routine – how much the action matches or disputes existing routines. 

Heuristics – cognitive shortcuts we take to make quick decisions. 

Endowed progress – people’s motivations increase when they feel like they are nearing completion of a goal. Ex – progress bars to the next level. 

Achoring effect – people often anchor to one piece of information when making a decision. 

Framing – using surroundings to make quick judgements. 

Scarcity – the appearance of it makes people more motivated to take action. Ex. Limited time offer, act now! 

All businesses must help a user achieve an objective. To keep users engaged, products need to deliver on their promises. Companies that successfully change behaviors present users with an implicit choice between their old way of doing things and a new, more convenient way to fulfill an existing need. 

Variable reward – reward users by solving a problem and reinforce their motivation for the action taken in the previous phase. 

We (humans / any conscience animal) derive pleasure from the anticipation of an award, not from actually receiving one. 

Variability is key because we quickly become conditioned to know what to expect and the anticipatory sense of excitement fades. To keep people on the edge of their seat, you need to mix it up and introduce chance. 

Our brains are wired to seek rewards that make us feel accepted, attractive, important, and included. These rewards can be called social validation. Likes on Facebook. Your rating on Quora, etc. 

Our brains seek to acquire physical objects, such as food and other supplies that aid in our survival. 

Our brains seek a sense of competency. Showing improvement and providing a reward for the positive action.

The more a user invests time and effort into a product or service, the more they value it. Labor leads to love. 

We seek to be consistent with our prior behaviors and want to avoid cognitive dissonance wherever possible. We can learn to like something solely through repeated exposure to it. 

Stored value – if a user keeps something of value in a product, it is much more likely that they will come back to it. Ex – data, reputation, skill / knowledge wrt how to use. 

It can all be summarized as follows:

  1. What do users really want? What pain is your product relieving? Internal trigger
  2. What brings users to your product / service? External triggers
  3. What is the simplest action users take in anticipation of reward, and how can you simplify your product to make this action easier? Action
  4. Are users fulfilled by the reward yet left wanting more? Variable reward
  5. What “bit of work” does a user invest in your product? Does it load the next trigger and store value to improve the product experience with more use? Investment

Manipulation matrix (listed in order from best to worst)

  1. Facilitator – product maker uses their own product and believes it materially improves the user’s life. Ex. Fitness, journaling,self-improvement.  
  2. Peddler – product maker doesn’t use their own product but believes it materially improves the user’s life. Ex. Advertising agencies. Sometimes lack empathy necessary to make products for a market they don’t fully understand. 
  3. Entertainer – product maker uses their own product but doesn’t believe it materially improves the user’s life Ex. games, music, & film. Consumer tasks keep changing as they get bored with what they’ve already seen. Hard to stay ahead of trends. 
  4. Dealer – product maker doesn’t use their own product and doesn’t believe it materially improves the user’s life. Put another way – exploitation. 

Lean start-up method – build, measure, learn. Repeat, repeat, repeat. 

  1. Define what constitutes a habitual user (how many times a day, days / month, etc). Will depend on the category of product you are trying to build.
  2. Define what percentage of your total user base you need to be habitual users to succeed. 5% is a reasonable rule of thumb. 
  3. Study your habitual users and see if you see any clear patterns in their habit paths, that is how they interact with your product. Could also include demo information. 
  4. Modify your product based on findings – funnels, content, features, etc. 

“Instead of asking ‘what problem should I solve’ ask ‘what problem do i wish someone else would solve for me’?” Paul Graham

Technology waves, Mike Maples Jr. 

  1. They start with infrastructure
  2. Enabling technologies and platforms create the basis for new types of applications that cause a gathering wave to achieve massive penetration and customer adoption.
  3. Whenever new technologies make a behavior easier, new possibilities are born. 

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