Building Habit Forming Products


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Nir Eyal distilled years of research, consulting and practical experience to write Hooked: A Guide to Building Habit-Forming Products. He founded and sold two technology companies and taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. His writing appears in the HBR, The Atlantic, TechCrunch, and Psychology Today.

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe Dager: How does this blend with Lean startup?

Nir Eyal: That’s a great question. I’m a big fan of Lean StartupTM, and I think that what I seek to do in my processes is to help makers overcome what I struggled with. That was one of the three phases of the Lean Startup, the three steps as proposed by Eric Ries, of build, measure, learn, the hardest phase, the place where all the blood, sweat, tears, and of course all the money went, was the building phase. That’s the hard part. So my work really fits hand and glove because it seeks to help product makers identify what they should build. A few years ago what we should build was determined by the highest paid person in the room. If you’re really progressive today, you’ve heard the Lean Startup methodology, and you listen to customers – the customer development and hearing what customers want.

I think there is actually a deeper layer. There are things that people want that they’re not able to articulate and yet predictably will guide their behavior even if it they can’t tell you they want it. I believe by looking at consumer psychology, by looking at these tenants, these design patterns of habit-forming products, we can build the right thing sooner. We can reduce waste by informing which of our many features we build. The entire point of the hook model is to plug in to the build, measure, learn methodology. To have a little bit of a framework, to have these four steps to ask yourself if your product requires habits, does it have these four steps and how can you brainstorm new features based on where you might be lacking. So the book is really meant to be super practical. I give these, “Here’s what you do.” I call these little sections at the end of each chapter, “Do this now,” to help product makers literally with the next step. It’s all about creating ideas for new features. What else can do to your product to make it more habit-forming? But it all still fits into the Lean Startup methodology of building, measure, learn.

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Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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