Nir Eyal

Nir Eyal

Author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON January 11, 2017

Discussion

Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
Hi, I’m Nir. I write for TechCrunch, Forbes, Psychology Today, and am a frequent speaker at industry conferences and Fortune 500 companies. I’m the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and I have Lectured at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Design School and have sold two technology companies since 2003. You can find my regular writings on my blog. For most of my career I’ve worked in the video gaming and advertising industries where I learned, applied, and at times rejected, the techniques used to motivate and manipulate users. I write to help companies create behaviors that benefit their users, while educating people on how to build healthful habits in their own lives. As an active angel investor, I put my money where my mouth is by backing habit-forming products I believe improve lives. Some of my past investments include: Eventbrite, Product Hunt, Symphony Commerce, Pantry, Refresh.io, Presence Learning, and 7 Cups of Tea. I'm also hosting Habit Summit which takes place in San Francisco on April 4-5, 2017. Sign up here to join us, or click here here for a chance at a free ticket. Although I received most of my education earning an advanced degree from the The School of Hard Knocks, I also received an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Happy to be answering your questions today, so fire away!
Michael Bilderbach
Michael Bilderbach@mbilderbach · Product Designer
what insight about life have you acquired, that seems obvious to you but might not be obvious to everyone else?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@mbilderbach That there is no such thing as a "self" You are just a collection of your past experiences and habits. This realization provides me with a great deal of hope and optimism. It also drives me to ask myself whether what I'm doing daily is really in my best interest or just another dumb habit of mind.
Philip Kuklis
Philip Kuklis@philipkuklis · Co-Founder, Hubble
Hi Nir, you recently mentioned in a Q&A that „the challenge of our generation is figuring out how to put tech in its place“. How do you imagine a world where technology is put in its place? What role would it play in our lives?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@philipkuklis I'm very optimistic about personal technology's role in our lives. I think we'll do what humans have always done when faced with technological change -- we'll adapt and adopt. We'll adapt our behaviors to put tech in it's place and adopt new technologies to fix the bad aspects of the last generation of technology. Of course, this process can take a while and requires us to question the costs and benefits of the new technology. I think we clearly see that happening now as more people ask when, where, and how is the most appropriate way to use personal tech.
Ali R. Tariq
Ali R. Tariq@alirtariq · Product Designer, Axonify
Hi, Nir - thanks for being here. A few years have passed since Hooked was released. I've used it a number of times to think through product design problems and I still find its deceptive simplicity one of its biggest assets. In the years since, what have you seen to be the biggest mistakes in how product designers are using the Hook model? Any lessons learned in seeing it being used in the wild?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@alirtariq Good to see you here as well Ali and thanks for the kind words! The biggest mistake I see is not considering the model in the first place! I see companies (almost daily) with business models that require frequent unprompted engagement (habits) but who haven't taken the time to plan out the four steps of their Hook. For some reason, people tend to jump into designing and coding without stopping to consider the psychological drivers needed to bring people back on their own. This is a huge mistake! So much time, money, and effort could be saved if product builders stoped to understand the Hooked Model and drew out their core hooks before moving forward.
Philip Lakin
Philip Lakin@philip_gregory · National Agent Ops Specialist @ Compass
Hi Nir, my team and I are currently creating a suite of products (online and offline) to help improve the live of actors. We are super interested in applying the Hooked model, that being said: variable rewards are very different actor to actor (depending on market, expectations , and goals). I would love to hear your thoughts on how to make a variable reward applicable to a wide range of users? And if you have any thoughts about the acting market in general, I am all ears. Thanks!
Nick K.
Nick K.@duck_muscle · Product Designer
What is a current product that you like that is completely outside of your Hooked methodology but still works well?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@duck_muscle the Hooke Model is only for products that must be used out of habit. Clearly, not all products need to be used habitually. There are lots of products I love that are infrequently used and therefore don't need habits. It's not that every product needs to be habit-forming, it's that every product that needs a habit needs a Hook.
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
Looking forward to taking your questions on Product Hunt for the next hour or so! Please excuse spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes as I will try and answer as many questions as quickly as possible. Dumb answers on my part however are not excusable. :)
keyul
keyul@keyul · Maker of Quick Code & Bot Stash
How can we apply hooked model on chatbots? What will be some good use cases where hooked model can increase retention on chatbot?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@keyul I wrote all about how to use the Hooked Model with chatbots here: http://www.nirandfar.com/2016/10... Although I should mention that I think chatbots are just part of the bigger trend of Conversational UI. Check out the article and let me know what you think.
Ali
Ali@asmiler
Which product(s) are you currently Hooked on now and what got you hooked on that product(s)?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@asmiler Whale has got me hooked lately. Lots of room for improvement but pretty good.
Rich Brown
Rich Brown@designrichly · Director, Product & UX at Etsy, Paris
Hey Nir, you look good today. Following Ali's question, when people do attempt to use the Hooked model, where do they often get it wrong? I'm building tightly to it at the moment, but keen to avoid common pitfalls. The more specific the better!
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@designrichly See answer to @alirtariq question
Rich Brown
Rich Brown@designrichly · Director, Product & UX at Etsy, Paris
@nireyal @alirtariq Ah just changed my Q after your response there - if you get a chance to re-address that would be great!
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@designrichly @alirtariq It really depends on the product. Each company can have difficulty at a different phase of the Hook. Either they don't have a frequently occurring "internal trigger", the "action" is too difficult, the "reward" isn't interesting or satisfying, or they fail to ask for "investment" that improves the product with use. It really depends on the particular challenge for each product team. There's no one most frequent pit fall.
Daniel Reilly
Daniel Reilly@daniel_reilly · Freelance Developer and Entrepreneur
What industry/sector would you most like to invest in during the next few years that could benefit from a new generation of habit forming products?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@daniel_reilly I'm very excited about the opportunity to change habits for good. I've invested in companies like 7 Cups in the psychotherapy space and Pantry in food and I'd love to see more companies form habits to help people save money, live healthier, and work smarter.
Martin Boeddeker
Martin Boeddeker@martinboeddeker · Founder, FindFocus.net
Hi Nir, two years ago you wrote a blog post about "Products to Eliminate Distractions and Increase Willpower" and asked this industry should be called. Have you found one? I would like to know in which industry I'm working. ;) In the same post you wrote: The biggest problem with these technologies is that they don’t exhibit many of the important traits found in products that change behavior for good. For one, they’re not fun to use. (...) I worry many of the products attempting to keep us focused are things people feel they have to use instead of want to use. Because lack of alternatives I am focusing on making my "FindFocus" software easier to use and just build it for what a distraction junky like myself NEEDS (but not necessarily WANTS to use.) I try to add a lot of flexibility that alternatives like freedom lack (e.g. delayed unlocking, reminders, scheduled breaks, short pauses to blocking profiles, automatic start after turning on the computer etc.) However, although this will be a major improvement, I am not sure if that will be enough to make people hooked to a software that cuts them off from addicting services. Do you have any ideas/suggestions how to design a "distraction-blocker" that you would be willing to use or at least you would recommend people to use?
Jordan Jackson
Jordan Jackson@jordan_jackson
Hi Nir, how have you seen the hooked model implemented on physical products and client service offerings say such as xyz consulting or real estate agents or etc. Also very much enjoyed your talk at productsf!
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@jordan_jackson I think IoT technology will enable much more habit-forming physical products, which will utilize the Hooked Model. As for service offerings, check out this article I wrote about "bolting-on" habits onto infrequently used services like real estate agencies: http://www.nirandfar.com/2016/09...
Jordan Jackson
Jordan Jackson@jordan_jackson
@nireyal thank you!
Ashish Pratap
Ashish Pratap@ashish_pratap · Game designer
How important is variable reward in a digital product?Is it absolute necessary to create a hook?Can we hook users if we try to appeal to their intrinsic value or motivation?For example giving them a purpose or higher meaning rather repeated pleasurable events.
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@ashish_pratap You are looking at variable rewards too narrowly. Variable rewards aren't just points, badges, and likes. Pursuing purpose and higher meaning can be fantastic variable rewards! Organized religions have been using them successfully for millennia.
Ashish Pratap
Ashish Pratap@ashish_pratap · Game designer
@nireyal Thanks Nir,What I meant, what if there is no Variable reward (as discovered by Skinner experiments).Just to get your final thought :To create any hook or addiction we need certain variable reward,otherwise I guess the product has a high chance of failure.Let me know if I am thinking in right way.
Matt Mayberry
Matt Mayberry@mattmayberry · Hacking Human Behavior at @BoundlessAI
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Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Nir thanks for joining us today. What is the one piece of advice you find yourself giving to founders most often?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@ems_hodge My most frequently given piece of advice to founders: If you want to build a habit-forming product, first know your user's Internal Trigger.
Maria Gosur
Maria Gosur@mariagosur · Graphic/Web Design/Developer
What is the most surprising finding you have discovered in your studies of habits?
Jha Priyank
Jha Priyank@iampriyankjha · People & Product Evangelist
I understand the hooked model. But how can we introduce more and more people to the hooked model, if not by spending a lot on marketing?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@iampriyankjha I don't understand your question. Can you tell me more?
Jha Priyank
Jha Priyank@iampriyankjha · People & Product Evangelist
@nireyal As in what activities or strategies are the predecessor of Introduction of The Hooked Model. (Keeping in mind that startups can't spend a lot)
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@iampriyankjha The point of using the Hook Model is to build habits so you don't need to spend money on advertising.
Shabbir Hussain Sihorwala
Shabbir Hussain Sihorwala@therealshabbir · The Real Product Designer
Shalom Mr Eyal. Can the Hook model be extended to positive social campaigns (not limited to technology)?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@therealshabbir the model is suitable for frequently occurring behaviors so it depends on what the habit you're looking to create for your social campaign is
Stef Nimmegeers
Stef Nimmegeers@nimmegeersstef · Innovation Management, Botfather, Design
Hi Nir! I read this in an article: "I don't invest in Facebook messenger chat bots", Nir Eyal, the author of Hooked, exclaimed. He didn't trust Facebook bots since many had lost money with Facebook apps. Running a business on Facebook is risky, he explained. Can you please elaborate on this and tell us something about how you think bots will grow?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@nimmegeersstef I think that statement was taken a little out of context. It's not that I would never invest in a business built on Facebook messenger, it's that I'd be weary of any business built on someone else's platform. The company would need to build its own user habits and take people off the the host platform ASAP (the way Instagram did) or they risk being bled dry if they don't (the way Zynga was).
Ali Hanif
Ali Hanif@alihanif101 · Founder @ HANALI
Hi Nir, Thanks for doing this - Where do you see the biggest opportunity to compete for the attention of consumers currently? Is Virtual Reality the next big competing ground or is it Chatbots?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@alihanif101 I'm pretty bullish on conversational user interfaces. See: http://www.nirandfar.com/2015/07...
Warren Sturt
Warren Sturt@warrenalfred · Head of Product at R25G.com
What are your thoughts on comments made by Adam Gazzaley and Simon Sinek regarding triggers in tech that create addictions resulting in an inability for millennials to develop meaningful relationships. How do we hold companies accountable and Do we need a standard or guideline for startups/established companies to follow?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@warrenalfred People who use the word "addiction" in this context generally don't know what they're talking about. Overall I think we're going to be fine. Most of this sort of talk is way overblown. Humans are pretty smart. We're easy to persuade but hard to coerce and there's a big difference between the two.
Kaushal Vyas
Kaushal Vyas@deleted-1426067
I was reading Hooked on my commute today. Must say that the book presents the insights in a considerably structured way. Would love to hear what motivated you to get into academia and consulting on a personal level, rather than applying the same insights to a problem you would have wanted to solve with a product?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@kaushalvyas010 I've helped found two startups. It's very hard work. I loved some aspects of it (like product design) but hated others (like hiring, firing, etc.) Now that I have a more freedom to do what I want professionally, I focus on just doing the stuff I really enjoy (and am good at).
Alex Zalenskiy
Alex Zalenskiy@alexey_zalenskiy
Hi Nir. I'm working on an app that will help innovators and entrepreneurs to work better with their ideas. I came to the fact that all of the products, to simplify our physical and mental activity. With that conception, I build my app functionality. I divided the human activities on the four processes: 1. (data input) The consumption - it is our senses. 2. Data analysis - data processing in the brain, including the evaluation. 3. The synthesis of the new - it is a process of creating new in our brain 4. (output) The physical act - it is a physical reaction. Includes all physical human's activities. How it works? For example: 1. Dropbox, which provide access to files from anywhere and you don't need usb stick anymore. That is simplify physical activity. 2. Getting new knowledge from some sources is simplify the analysis process - because you don't have to do it yourself. 3. Synthesis simplify the create an AI that will synthesize new for us. 4. Different inventions such as a computer monitor or telescopes or VR it helps to us consume information. That tools for our sensors. And finally, the question: Can you recommend similar researches? Sorry for my english =/
Daria Nepriakhina
Daria Nepriakhina@epicantus · ideahackers.nl & solutioncanvas.com
Hi Nir, thank you for being here :) I'm curious which human motivation/needs theories do you find useful to know for entrepreneurs? How to apply them?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
Matt Mayberry
Matt Mayberry@mattmayberry · Hacking Human Behavior at @BoundlessAI
Hi Nir, Big fan :) Have you found any products that help break or short circuit the habit forming elements of products? How can I better protect myself from the 'hooked' model when its being applied to me without my consent or knowledge.
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
Hi Nir, Thank you for being here. Beside self-study, are there any professional certificates for who wants behavior designer to be his/her career? Thank you
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@olayanalharbi Not yet but there will be soon. Subscribe to my blog and I'll let you know: NirAndFar.com
Jordan Jackson
Jordan Jackson@jordan_jackson
Hi Nir, one more Q if you are up for it...
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
Jordan Jackson
Jordan Jackson@jordan_jackson
@nireyal phrased differently: how would you implement the hooked methodology or framework of thinking towards staying top of mind after interviewing with several companies/firms? If you can do that at all ...
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@jordan_jackson That's not really a habit. It's a one-time thing.
Jordan Jackson
Jordan Jackson@jordan_jackson
@nireyal haha, got it. Thanks
Mike Coutermarsh
Mike Coutermarsh@mscccc · Code @ GitHub
Hi Nir :). I've been watching all your answers on Whale. Really helpful! What do you think of Whale so far?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@mscccc I've really enjoyed it!
Benjamin Wheeler
Benjamin Wheeler@benjamin_wheeler · Teaching and making tech. Indie hacker.
Does a valuable company like Symphony Commerce, which (to me) is not obviously habit-dependent, really fit into your theme of habit-forming products? Do you feel contstrained by your brand from involvement with ideas or companies that are good for reasons not related to habit?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@benjiwheeler I don't only invest in habit-forming products.
Uma
Uma@uma_askpal · CEO, Askpal.com - Paid Q&A app.
Hi Nir, Thanks for being here. This is a great opportunity for all of us. We build Askpal.com, a paid Q&A mobile platform. Is there any product that you hooked on around Q&A space which applied hooked model, why? Curious.
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
@uma_askpal I think Whale is impressive.
Craig Watson
Craig Watson@cdcwatson · Product @Spotify
What's your favourite cognitive bias when applied to products? Can you give an example? thanks
Rich Brown
Rich Brown@designrichly · Director, Product & UX at Etsy, Paris
@cdcwatson As an aside Craig - just reading your cracking site - where have you found as being a good source / book to learn more about biases?
Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal@nireyal · Author of "Hooked" blog at NirAndFar.com
Craig Watson
Craig Watson@cdcwatson · Product @Spotify
@designrichly Thanks! I listed out most of the books I've relied on to help learn about this fascinating space http://activationhacks.com/about/ - you can't beat primary research too which takes a bit more time to parse through although it's always worth it in my view :)
Rich Brown
Rich Brown@designrichly · Director, Product & UX at Etsy, Paris
@cdcwatson Superb, thanks Craig - love this stuff.