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Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products

Lesson 6 of 14

Bonus Video: Build A Narrative Hot seat with Shiva Chhatpar

Nir Eyal

Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products

Nir Eyal

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Lesson Info

6. Bonus Video: Build A Narrative Hot seat with Shiva Chhatpar

Lesson Info

Bonus Video: Build A Narrative Hot seat with Shiva Chhatpar

Let's do another exercise here what we're going to do is to build your own narrative and here's how we're going to do it the first exercise what I want you to do is to answer two simple questions for me who is the user right? I want you to pick just one person one type of user one persona of a person that you are going to create this habit with. So when you wrote down in that earlier exercise what that behavior is that you want the users or do with little or no conscious thought that's the user we're going to tackle many of you might have marketplace businesses or businesses that have lots of different parties involved for today's exercise I want you to just pick the one person the one type of person that you want to form a habit with you so tell me a little bit about that person you know with their age maybe give them a name sex demographic who's kind of the most likely user of your product or service then what I want you to tell me is what are they doing right before the intended hab...

it? Remember that in the last exercise I asked you what is the habit what's the behaviour what's the distinctive behaviour that you want people to do with little or no conscious thought so what are they doing right before they do that habit okay so we're gonna take five minutes I'm gonna invite chic actually upto join me and we'll work on your business together and for the rest of you and those at home feel frieda to answer these two questions for your product or service all right welcome she got care so tell me more about your product um so I'm working on this site called we still date okay? It helps couples keep the spark alive um find reminding ideas what teo you know if they want to go out have a nice evening out or um they have a weekend on they haven't planned anything so they want to do something fun together and you know, create beautiful memories instead of just sitting at home and maybe doing laundry all right terrific. I want the service that sounds awesome. So tell tell me more about your user who is the typical users of the er yes I think it's it's like any couple any couple whose aren't even like you know could be male or female who wouldn't who wanted to do something special for their partner and who would want o you know figure out instead of just you know just plan something special for their partner or they want to do it together you know they can do that together territory so are they are they what kind of income range are we talking here? Um what what do you think general would I think it's it should be for any couple like I know that I know like some people would have what can pay more but there are plenty of free things they can do as well so I don't really have a price range in mind I would say like I would say middle middle income middle income alright so middle lincoln couple so you're not going for lower income you're not going for the very wealthy you're going somewhere in the middle are they urban or they suburban what kind of where do they live yeah our been urban okay so they're they're yuppies yes okay alright terrific. So anything else that's a defining characteristic of of these type of folks um they love trying new things okay? So adventurous are they tech adopters do they have you know the latest iphone or this? Ok, so their techies okay great and their adventures all right terrific. So we've got kind of a profile kind of persona of what type of person we're going for and what was the habit that you defined that last exercise what's the behaviour that they do um they look for the google for reminding things to dio are this search for something that's what I think that's what they do today yeah and what do you want them to do with your service what's the habit I want them to come on the site and the just search and then just plan just like they just come on the site and they just you know exactly what they're doing this weekend okay, so the habit you want to create is go to your website goto we still date dot com way still date dot com and search that's the happy you want to create terrific so that's a distinct behavior it's actually a few different behaviors but it's go to the site and search for something direct so what are they doing? Where are they? Where is uh let's give them a name with their with their names wasn't a yuppie name oh my god brittany and it's gonna be pretty in something good britney and john let's say so britney and john where is where are britney and john right before they might go to we still date dot com and start searching um they're basically, um there they're working in their office and they have no idea what they're going to be doing okay later and they have no plans but they would want to do something but they don't have time to plan that date. Perfect. Okay, so you are in a perfect position now so you've got your persona you know who they are, their young urban professionals, you've got britney you've got john, they're at work right that's great you two find a place now that's what the while they're at work they're going to open up your page and open up everybody's going hate me way we're working with how many websites do we use at work way probably working but that's a whole nother topic great but you know exactly where the time in places that users would would come to your website terrific so in the minute remaining any questions they never have a chance to finish this exercise all right terrific. So let's let's keep rolling then with this next exercise here's what I want to do now that we know who the person is the percentage that you you've created and where they are what I want you to do next is to come up with three internal trigger hypotheses thes air guesses we don't know exactly, but what might be three things that your target customer is feeling and emotion of routine a situation what it's the internal trigger that might prompt them to action and then here's what I want to do next after you come up with those three internal triggers I want you to brainstorm here push yourself what what might it be after you come up with those three, I want you to ask yourself all those three which is the one that occurs most frequently in your users day which one of those three occurs most often then take that one that occurs most often and I want you to plug it into this many narrative that we're going to create, which is going to sound something like this every time the user blanks this first blank is the internal trigger it's an emotional routine, a situation, a place, something, whatever that internal trigger is going to be, the user does what that's the second blank. Now that second blank you fill in with the habit from that previous exercise. Okay, so in she kiss case it's log onto the site and search, right, so every time the user does blank, we'll figure that out in a minute. What that most frequent internal trigger is with shikha. They log onto the site and search got it makes sense. Any questions? Okay, we'll take another five minutes on the clock. All right, so let's brainstorm what might be some internal triggers for britney and john? Um, I would imagine they're just uncertain ity off what what they're doing for the for the weekend or, um, uncertainty about weekend that's great, what else? So we know that won't work, so let's put ourselves in their shoes or maybe it's, you know, I'm guessing that the product you you might use is it coming from personal inspiration? Terrific that's, that's fantastic, so what? What would you feel you're at work it's a little little boring maybe and what would prompt you what what would trigger you to check? Thinks it's like it's like doing something exciting later it so it's um so generally I would just search on google what can we do? What what's a fun thing to dio this weekend or something so yeah no okay, thank what triggers you so the current behaviors go search on google what is the what is your customer? What are you thinking? Maybe right before you would search onto google to figure out what we're gonna do this weekend when you feeling for example, a board board? Yeah, boredom is a great internal trigger. There are tons of products and billion dollar businesses that are built primarily to scratch this itch of boredom that's great, I think that's absolutely one of the your internal triggers you got about one more. Um, uh campaign how about maybe a routine for example, every time uh friday morning right? Maybe friday morning is the routine triggers is not an emotion. Emotions is one internal maybe every time friday morning rolls around I'm thinking about the weekend maybe thursday evening writing him off the week yeah, so it could be a time trigger yeah, like every week weekend like just before thursday friday I think is the best time I think perfect so of those three so you mentioned uncertainty about the weekend every time I'm feeling uncertain about the weekend every time they're feeling bored at work right or this routine of thursday friday comes along what do I do? Which of those three do you think is most frequent? I think the routine and the boredom probably because people just have nothing else going on you know and they want a plan so it's the routine also because they know that they will not have anything to dio right? Right so between those two okay, so we know it's not uncertainty let's say boredom or routine what occurs most frequently boredom at work or thursday friday routine? Well, what about work is every week so it occurs reporting network is multiple times a day so that's a great internal trigger I'm obvious little biased here but I think that boredom at work is something that people are experiencing throughout their day and we see all these services like a pinterest like yeah, you know the checking yelled I mean, how many times do people check you up? No intention to go eat right now but you have funds and just see what's going on with one of the top so let's say we plug into your narrative here every time the user feels bored at work. The user was recently to plan the date perfect that's your narrative so make sure we write that down and that's going to be your user narrative. Now we're guessing here, right? This is one potential narrative, and we can build probably several different products based on that on the internal trigger we choose. So if she says, look, you know, this boredom triggers not working for me that's not really actually happening in my user's life. I want to go after this uncertainty about what to do over the weekend, she's going to build a completely different product based on how to scratch that itch, right? So a product that caters to the itch of boredom is going to be very different to one that caters to stress or fear uncertainty all right? So that internal trigger is super important because it defines what what features go in or don't go into our product or service. Okay, so does everybody have their narrative? Every he's got that sentence, anybody have any trouble? Good? All right, so now we started with the internal trigger, but the internal triggers actually the last part of the hook. The internal triggers what forms after successive cycles through the hook so that eventually users don't need any kind of external prompting they trigger themselves right? Users feel bored at work, and they're instantly going to this website with no other external prompting that's the promised land that's what habit forming products eventually want to do is to create these associations with these internal triggers, but to get there, we have to start with the external triggers to get there. We have to start with the external triggers to get people to go through the four steps of the hook we have to focus on these external triggers now these external triggers a cz we mentioned earlier these are things that give the users some kind of information for what to do next. Now caroline, you asked earlier one of your questions and I didn't get the answer earlier was about you know, what about to money triggers, right? What about trigger fatigue? Too many emails to men and notifications? Well, what do we do with all that? So I'm going to tell you how to send a message sent notification, send some kind of external trigger that's that's welcomed and the difference between an external trigger that feels like spam and that's annoying and one that feels like magic is one word and that word is context context context is defined as the distance between when the internal triggers felt when the user feels this pain point bored at work, uncertainty, fearfulness, stress, fatigue, whatever it might be that they're feeling when they have that pain point and when the external trigger is received so the closer you khun couple those two things together the closer you can bring the external trigger the time when you send the message that time when you send the notification the alert whatever it is that you're going toe reach out to customers and give them some piece of information for what to do next the closer you khun couple that with the time and place when they feel the internal trigger that's when it's welcomed that's when it's appreciated that's context okay and there's all sorts of things that we can do to closely coupled the internal external trigger together so in the next exercise what I'd like you to do is to ask yourself where and when can you insert the external trigger in the user's life and then I want you to ask yourself how can you be in front of the user when their internal trigger fire so everybody just had their narrative I asked you to answer that question on knowing where the user is in their life so she could answer was oh there at work and they're bored so how could you be in front of your user right before they do that behavior with some type of external trigger the moment when they're most likely to feel this internal trigger and then what I want you to dio is to think of three rational ideas okay three existing technologies that you might be able to deploy to trigger your customers some kind of external triggers so you can send them direct mail you khun call, then you can send them a text message, a notification email these are all existing technology's, right? And then those air great there's, nothing wrong with those I want you to brainstorm which three you think will be most effective at getting to your customer when they feel that internal trigger. And then I want you to push yourself. Then I want you to think of three crazy or magical ideas. Now, why do I want you to do that? I want you to push yourself here to brainstorm these three magical or crazy ideas, because how old is the apple app store? How? What was the apple app store wanted to come to market anybody? Remember what year? It seems like it's been around since two thousand actually two thousand eight, two thousand eight guys, that was not that long ago. You remember two thousand eight, right? That was not that long ago think about all the things that we couldn't do all the habits that didn't exist in our day to day lives in two thousand seven, two thousand six, right? The apple have sorted exist still two thousand eight, so just as back in two thousand seven we couldn't have foreseen how profoundly these devices could change our day to day habits were also in that situation today because what's going to happen in the next seven years what kind of technologies and therefore new triggering opportunities might be present in the years to come. What happens if these these smart watches go mainstream? I don't know if it's going to the apple watch or the google watch or something else but we know something's coming right something like this is going teo game mainstream adoption maybe not the first apple watch maybe a second we know it's coming what happens with biometrics? We know that google and levi's just signed a contract to create uh interactive sensor genes right? Sounds crazy it sounds ridiculous right now what? We don't know what operating what? What uh what changes this will foresee there's going to be all kinds of new developments coming to market so that what might happen is that maybe your product maybe your solution isn't quite ready to form a habit, but perhaps in a few years from now some new technology will come down the pipes and you'll say, oh, this is a perfect opportunity yeah to take my idea off the shelf and with this new triggering opportune you with this new technology I khun b in front of my user at the exact time when they're most likely to need my product so there's, all these new technologies, wearables and biometrics and sensors, all the kinds of things that might provide us the opportunity to know how to closely couple the internal and external triggers together. Okay, this exercise makes sense. All right? Terrific. So I think we can take a little bit longer for this one. Let's, go and take ten minutes and I'd like to hear from some of you about your rational and crazy ideas, so I might call in a few of you, but for now I'll put ten minutes on the clock and I work with she could hear. All right, so we've got our narrative every time the user's bored at work, they open up this website, uh, let's. Think about where and when would be the ideal place to send them an external trigger where so we know they're at work. How could we trigger them? You think you can send them an email? Okay, email. Craig um, we can send that one notification. Um, maybe on facebook and, uh, we can get email notifications. We could do direct mail, right? That's also next journal, trigger it's not very pinpointed, right cause it wouldn't go home a supposed to work uh, yeah, where else, what else could we send them some kind of sms we could send them share those are all available what could we do that could help us get in front of the user when they're most likely to feel bored at work when would be the ideal time in place? I'm thinking like for example the afternoon yeah come in first in the morning I'm busy yeah but I think it's probably like just maybe just after lunch okay are like coffee time you know so maybe just after launch or what's coffee time like two to four o'clock yeah okay great and by the way that's that's currently available right weaken if someone would install the app we would know what they could grant us access to their calendar on we would know are you busy during that time and we're not we're not gonna interrupt you when you're busy but when we see you in between meetings or you've got some empty space on your calendar and it happens to be in this time when we think you're you're likely to be bored at work maybe that's when we send you a little notification well that's a good idea yeah what else? Um what about some kind of geo location like what if we knew maybe day after traveling somewhere and we know that there they would love to do something here is well we'll figure out something fun so after they came back what do you know about traveling I mean if there maybe maybe you feel that they're planning a trip or something so we know that because you also help them figure out fun things to do in the city. They're traveling interesting. Okay, so that would be helpful. Interesting. So if we see that you know, on your calendar is this big business trip and we ask, are you going with your significant other? Yeah, let this planet terrific trip for you are ah, date out there also. Yeah. That's pulling calendar information, maybe geo location information, love it was a great external triggers. Yeah. Um, what else? What else? That work? Anything else we could do at work when they're bored? I think you know, one thing that could be very effective is just a plain old email, right? And you know that scent at the right time and place send it between two and four o'clock when they're likely to have that law and kind of working through the tasks that don't require a lot of, you know, heavy processing on e mail that says, oh, this kind of scratches my itch of boredom by asking yourself what you gonna do today sure are what you gonna do this weekend might be might be great um, maybe if they have their friends have some plan that he can show them that here or fencer already has some plans you want to do something to yeah excellent. Fantastic. Okay, well, how about some crazy ideas let's think of some crazy ideas like for example maybe with these new gp google levi's jeans I have no idea what they're gonna measure but maybe we could measure who knows heart rate or a galvanic skin response or something that says you know we're showing that you are little board maybe you need a little pick me up here's a task an easy task we're going to give you three potential dates this weekend what do you think not currently available but who knows what might come up actually this thing measures heart rate so maybe that's even something you khun from me is also crazy that's true yeah ha trade are well um well maybe if you can figure out some way that you know that your partner is not happy with you I love it. I just got a big fight yesterday yes would be a great way to make it up to her him lovett way actually had someone in the chat room who has some ideas for sita and they said here's a crazy idea create a we still date emoji that one partner consent to another that's like a quick I'm thinking about you I love you cool so you having the actual emoji that's unique to your brand oh yeah that's a good idea all right, actually. So let's check in with everybody else. How are we doing? Let's? Uh, who wants to share their their habit and maybe their external triggers anybody in the mood to share? Yes, please, aunt. So first tell us what the businesses and what's the habit you want to create the business allows marketers to get feedback from their peers. Okay, um the harvard we want to create us every time a marketer creates a new piece of content, a new email, a new strategy, even our local they're not sure it is not working hard that's each have actually, what was the narrative that you came up with every time the user feels uncertainty, yes. So jessica was a twenty nine year old female, the technology marketer who doesn't have other people like her in her marketing team. So every time she produces a new piece of content email, copy image she's not sure if she's done the best job possible, is there something she could improve and she's unsure she feels alone she has a fear off doing something for the first time I fear it's uncertainty. Yes, is that what's the most frequent if we had tto it's uncertainty inserting unsure if you're doing things right so every time she feels uncertain about her marketing endeavors, what does she do? She goes too her peers on our network and required to get validation and feedback ok, she opens the visit, a website and app it will be a love started, she opens the websites and starts communicating with her peers. Okay, terrific eso what'd you come up with with rational ideas for external triggers, and there it is, the russian ideas just like making sure that she sees this network on her linkedin profile, something that just shows up on our linden so later tow her work, she should be there. No, she seems emails because she hears about it every time she goes to a conference with those boots there, but there were some other things that could be interesting if we could do it is every time she saves the file, we don't I don't know if that's possible right now, but when you creating word, you're creating essentially files on your computer or online every time you say our file on your computer or on a cloud, it should just take her out front that says, hey, you want feedback on this from the people great one of you that's technologically feasible, but maybe if if that's what you think, they're most likely to feel uncertainty, I could totally see that everybody is going to save, but who did I commit correctly? Why am I doing the right thing or not? Great, something that is very good, very good. Excellent. So, you know, the point of this exercise is to kind of expand our minds, to think about what other external triggers might we use, and perhaps they're not currently available with our technology, but they might be many times people do this exercise, and they think, okay, what's the crazy idea, the kinds they actually it's not so crazy right there actually eyes technologies that could enable us to take this unique piece of information and send a better external trigger. I can't tell you how many times I worked with companies and I work with products and and, you know, we come up with these these currently available techniques that they just never thought of they say, okay, well, if I'm going to send an email, I'll just send it any old time. Well, as we can see so many products, the user is more likely to need that product or service just, you know, simple time of day type stuff, right? If it's a product that scratches the internal trigger of boredom at work, well, then send it, you know, during launch senate during a coffee break don't send it first thing in the morning when I can't be bothered, I need to focus on what's important for the day all right, so simple things like this geo location, calendar information all this kind of stuff is available and really should be used to send external triggers that are more contextually relevant that closely coupled the external and internal trigger together. Okay, any other questions but oh yes, please it's not really a question, but so I'm melissa did woody and I run a business called living a creative life, which is my my customers are primarily women who are looking to get back to their creative joy, and one of the things that I offer is a community, an online community, and I was just writing here and the crazy ideas for how to get in front of people with the, um with their trigger is feeling a sense of self doubt say, which is big a big issue, a lot of purity doubt right that's a frequent internal trigger? Yeah, and so I wrote down my crazy idea was that a sensor would somehow sense when they're feeling self doubt and send them and encourage an encouraging message and an invitation to engage. And I thought, you know, actually people tell me all the time in my community that when they have those feelings of self doubt, they hear my voice in their head from my podcast live creative now are for something they've read on my block living a creative life sue fantastic so you're already you're halfway there right there already have a lot of the technology is asian right? Well there's actually there's been several studies now if we can actually tell people's mood based on their usage patterns there's all kinds of these indicators that we might be able tio toe to provide people with a solution when they're feeling this itch and that sounds like one of them terrific yes john are there anyways to narrow down uh or test some hypotheses around internal triggers? So if you have an idea of who your user might be other ways to confront I don't not have a better entry perfect that's exactly right? So these are big old guesses, right? These are hypotheses what we're talking about is in the confines of these four walls we don't know what's actually going on we don't know if ifs because users are actually feeling this itch of boredom at work they probably are but we've got to go out and verify we have to do with steven blank tells us which is to get out of the building to observe we have to do a bit of ethnographic research to see you know our users currently experiencing these internal triggers are they feeling these itches and can our solutions be better than the alternatives? So a lot of this is observation all evidence a lot of this is customer development it's about observing what our customers are doing so that we can verify. Yes, we actually think, with a high degree of likelihood, the user does really feel this problem. And we think we can address it better, then currently available solutions. But again, all of these are hypotheses, there's, their guesses. And so what we've got to do is to get out there and test our biggest assumptions first and as cheaply as possible. And your biggest assumption, and forming a habit forming product is what is the internal trigger, right? What's the itch. You're scratching for your customer, because that itch determines everything that flows. After all the features, all the development time will be determined based on what that it is.

Class Description

Customers who come back save you time and money. You don’t have to expend as much energy attracting them – they already know you and what you do – and they are a more predictable source of revenue. Learn the science of creating a repeat customer in Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products.

Nir is a writer and thinker whose primary focus is helping businesses unlock the power of habits. In this class, he’ll teach you how to build products and experiences that are inherently “sticky.” 

You’ll learn:

  • The psychology of triggers and how to build them into your product/service
  • How to use variable rewards to increase engagement
  • The stages of habit formation and how to optimize them for better retention

Nir will teach you how habits develop and he’ll show you how to apply those insights to your business – no matter what kind of service or products you sell. You’ll also learn about the common design patterns of habit-forming products.

If you want to lower the cost of doing business by increasing the number of repeat customers you work with, don’t miss Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products. 


a Creativelive Student

The information presented by Nir was excellent and pertinent to today's evolution of business development and success. This was beyond my expectation. There was great material that was stimulating and engaging.

Jason Casher

Loved it! Was thorough and gave a strong sense of direction, as well as clear methods to check to see if you are on right track.


Nir Eyal is great! Insightful, interesting course on how habits are created, established and reinforced.