Earlier this year, I wrote about Nir Eyal’s great book, Hooked, and how it can help you create a product with great retention (e.g, something habit forming). What is particularly interesting is that one of the most habit-forming endeavors is entrepreneurship and building companies. The four principles of the Hook Model—Triggers, Actions, Variable Rewards and Investment—also show why entrepreneurship is so addictive.
First, there must be a trigger. Triggers prompt you to take an action. In the case of starting a business, the trigger is seeing an opportunity. It could be waiting for a taxi that never arrives (probably the trigger for Travis Kalanick to start Uber) or going to a restaurant based on a critics review and getting a bad meal (possibly the trigger for Jeremy Stoppelman with Yelp). It is consistent at retail, you cannot find a good wine so you think about starting a wine store.
The next step in the Hook model is the action phase. The trigger, driven by internal or external cues, tells the user of what to do next. There are three ingredients required to initiate any and all behaviors:
- The user must have sufficient motivation.
- The user must have the ability to complete the desired action.
- A trigger must be present to activate the behavior.
Continue reading “Why starting companies is habit forming”
The hottest book in Silicon Valley currently is Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal, and for good reason; it is an incredibly valuable book for building a business. As Eyal points out, amassing millions of users is no longer good enough. Companies’ economic value is a function of the strength of the habits they create. User habits become a competitive advantage. Products that change customer routines, where users become hooked, are less susceptible to attacks from other companies.
Users who continually find value in a product are more likely to tell their friends about it. Frequent usage creates more opportunities to encourage people to invite their friends, broadcast content, and share through word-of-mouth. Hooked users become brand evangelists: Megaphones for your company, bringing in new users at little or no cost.
Habit-forming products change user behavior and create unprompted engagement. The aim is to influence customers to use your product or play your game on their own, repeatedly, without relying on overt calls-to-action such as ads or promotions. Once a habit is formed, the user is automatically triggered to use the product during routine events such as waiting in line at Starbucks. Eyal uses the Hook Model to show how to create a product or game that become habit forming for users, that have a long term competitive advantage and are more likely to generate word of mouth.
The Hook Model
The Hook Model describes an experience designed to connect the user’s problem to a solution frequently enough to form a habit. Eyal defines habits as behaviors done with little or no conscious thought. The convergence of access, data, and speed is making the world a more habit-forming place. – Businesses that create customer habits gain a significant competitive advantage. It has four phases: trigger, action, variable reward, and investment. Continue reading “The secret to creating a hit habit-forming product or game”