AMA: Nir Eyal

AMA: Allyson J. Davis
November 29, 2017
AMA: Daniel Tyre
December 21, 2017
The Nir Eyal AMA is happening on  Wednesday 21st February 2018 at 10:00AM PST (1:00PM EST)

Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. The M.I.T. Technology Review dubbed Nir, “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.”

Nir founded two tech companies since 2003 and has taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford. He is the author of the bestselling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.

In addition to blogging at NirAndFar.com, Nir’s writing has been featured in The Harvard Business ReviewTechCrunch, and Psychology Today.

Nir is also an active investor in habit-forming technologies. Some of his past investments include: Refresh.io (acquired by LinkedIn), Worklife (acquired by Cisco), Eventbrite, Product HuntMarco PoloPresence Learning7 Cups, Pana, Kahoot!, Byte FoodsAnchor.fm, and Symphony Commerce

Nir attended The Stanford Graduate School of Business and Emory University.

 

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Nir Eyal – author of the bestselling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, and the blog, NirAndFar.com. – Transcript

 

Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. The M.I.T. Technology Review dubbed Nir, “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology.” He is the author of the bestselling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, and the blog, NirAndFar.com.

The AMA with Nir was held on February 21st, 2018. This transcript has been edited for punctuation, grammar, etc.

 

Please give a warm OG welcome to Nir Eyal. He’ll be here for the next hour to answer your questions.

 

Hi All! Happy to be here!

How much did BJ Fogg influence you?

His model was very helpful and plays a key part in my chapter on the “Action Phase” of my Hooked Model.

How do you build sticky products in the enterprise space?

Same 4 steps of the Hooked Model as long as there is sufficient frequency. See:

 

https://www.slideshare.net/nireyal/enterprise-habitforming-products

 

 

slideshare.net

 

Thanks for doing this Nir. How’d you come up with the idea to write the book?

I wrote the book I was looking for. I didn’t see any how-to books on building habit-forming products, so decided to take what I’d learned in my own career and research the psychology behind these products we find so sticky in hopes anyone can put these techniques to good use.

Thanks so much for all the love for Hooked!! I’m flattered! If you have a minute, I’d really appreciate a quick review on Amazon:

 

https://www.amazon.com/review/create-review?ie=UTF8&asin=1591847788

 

I have a product that active users engage with on a weekly basis. Would you recommend I consider adding features that might be used on a daily basis, or best not mess with natural frequency of our users?

A once a week habit is the Minimum frequency for a new habit. More frequent is better from a habit-forming perspective, but only if it actually makes sense for the user. Some behaviors just occur less frequently than others, and that’s ok. It has to “reward” the user, so if you think more frequent interaction would benefit the user, then go for it.

What’s the most common mistake you see marketers making in attempts to engage their users or increase product usage?

Not reading my book first.

🙂

I’m only half joking. I’m often calledin for expensive consulting sessions that could have accomplished the same thing if the attendees had just bothered to do the exercises in the book. I wrote Hooked to be a very efficient read that any time-starved entrepreneur can work through in a few hours. I’m not trying to sell more books here (I only make a few bucks per book), rather I’m hoping to save people countless hours and dollars by helping them build the right products sooner instead of just guessing what they should build.

Thanks for the question.

Any more specific tactics for transitioning from external to internal triggers to draw users back to your product? Or does a true ‘transition’ not really happen, you always are continuing to use external triggers or at least triggers the user primed themselves?

It’s really about frequency through the 4 steps of the Hooked Model. With enough passes through, the user should begin to form an association with the internal trigger so that external triggers are no longer as important.

Thanks for coming today Nir! How important is social proof?

Really depends on the product. Social proof is just one of many techniques that can make the “Action Phase” of the Hooked Model easier to pass through.

I run a SMB service business now. We help business owners and home owners recover from disasters – it’s a once in a lifetime problem. *What can we do now to be their first solution when it happens?*

Good question! I recommend bolting on a more frequent habit. Content and/or community are good places to start. See:

 

https://www.nirandfar.com/2016/09/hooked-customers.html

 

Thanks for sharing your time with us. I literally just ordered your book, but since you are here, I thought I’d ask: Do you have insight/advice connecting online engagement habits to offline purchasing habits?

 

That’s tricky since there’s so much friction between online and offline transactions. I’d recommend making buying the result of repeat engagement. Buying offline will likely not be the habit, since for most products buying doesn’t occur frequently enough. See this article for more:

 

https://www.nirandfar.com/2016/09/hooked-customers.html

 

I’m wondering if you have specific thoughts on how consumer buying behaviors have changed in the age of unlimited data and seeming unlimited choice. It was easy to be successful with digital 10 years ago but it seems like across the board we see increasing CAC. Any thoughts?

I think an interesting change in the past decade is how much less important display advertising has become in changing user habits. It used to be changing behavior took tons of money to buy ads on TV and radio but today changing customer behavior can be done through the product itself by using the Hooked Model.

With regard to online publishing of blog posts and other content, you publish both on your site, and on Medium. Is this simply for broader distribution purposes? Do you envision completely moving all content to Medium in the future?

I publish everywhere and anywhere frankly. Maybe it’s not the best idea for SEO but I don’t really care. I just want my ideas to be read and hopefully help people build great stuff. Question for you – Am I doing it wrong? Should I adjust my strategy in your opinion? Happy to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Great book. My question is, if you woke up in an alternate reality tomorrow and you knew nobody, and wanted to build an app for a law company, what would you do to find initial potential users for customer development purposes?

What’s a “law company”?

Law firm***

Umm, why not talk to lawyers. Sorry, what am I missing here beyond the obvious?

What do you consider the easy wins/low hanging fruit that most businesses would reap quick benefits and get them on board with investing into the Hooked Model?

 

It’s not really a matter of quick wins. Some businesses need to be habit-forming and used frequently to survive and others don’t. See:

 

https://www.nirandfar.com/2016/10/successful-tech-products.html

 

Any thoughts on the best way to create an online community from a successful kickstarter launch of a physical product? P.S. Love Hooked!

Thanks! Community is David Spinks domain over at CMX. He’s good people. Check him out at:

 

http://cmxhub.com/meet-team-cmx/

 

Thanks Nir for doing this – how important is naming your company?

Not really my area of expertise but I just saw this if helpful …

 

https://blog.intercom.com/naming-operator-bot/

 

How does being ‘hooked’ to one aspect of a brand interaction (let’s say “consuming content”) translate into better results on another aspect of brand interaction (let’s say “sharing content” or “buying a product” )? How should a marketer think about the relationships between different types of actions, and what’s the best approach for daisy-chaining them into something that helps conversion all the way down the funnel?

 

It’s important to remember that “buying a product” will never be a habit for most products because it doesn’t occur with sufficient frequency and requires too much thought to be a habit. However, here’s the mantra to remember: Monetization is a result of engagement, not the other way around. Too many companies are too focused on getting people to “check-out” and spend too little time on figuring out how to get people to “check-in.” Creating engaging products and services is a much longer lasting competitive advantage. Of course, from an analytics standpoint you can correlate what sorts of engagement habits lead to conversion.

“Sneezing into your elbow” – this behavior seemed to be adopted overnight by schools and hospitals everywhere in the US. As far as I know, there wasn’t much of a PSA around this. Can you articulate why this behavior was adopted so effortlessly?

Mere exposure effect. I think teachers were the PSA.

Well, looks like I’ve answered everything!

It was a pleasure, and thanks very much for your interest in my work.

Please visit my …

Blog: NirAndFar.com

Book: NirAndFar.com/getHooked

Podcast: NirAndFar.com/podcast

… And the Habit Summit Conference: HabitSummit.com

Thanks everyone!

That concludes our AMA with Nir! Thanks for being here.