I'm James Wallman — author, entrepreneur, futurist. Welcome to The Future Is Here. We provide sensible, robust, useful strategic advice to people like you.

How to hook customers

Nir Eyal's Hooked is a very good book.

Here are some of my favourite insights

“help people do the things they already want to do but for lack of a solution don’t do”

“make your product so simple that users already know how to use it and you’ve got a winner”

Facebook: “The collection of memories and experiences becomes more valuable over time and the service becomes harder to leave as users’ personal investment in the site grows.”

Mike Maples Jr believes there are three phases of change:
1. Technology change
2. Apps based on that technology appear
3. Culture changes

Take an age-old human desire, and use modern technology to take-out steps

A product that requires significant behavioural change is doomed to fail

The economic value of company is a function of the strength of the habits it creates. Create the habit first, then monetise: once the compulsion to play is in place and the desire to progress (this is gaming, but this works for others), then convert users into paying customers.

Habits are not created — they’re built upon

Hauptly’s three steps to success: 
1. Understand why someone does something
2. Layout the steps to achieve that goal
3. Remove/reduce the number steps to make it the simplest process

These are the key questions that Eyal asks through the book: 

1. Who is your user?

2. What is your user story? (Hint: should read like a play to make all else easy: customer development, usability studies, empathy maps, + understanding why?)

3. What is your user doing right before your intended habit?

4. What would users want to achieve by using your solution?

5. Where and when will they use it?

6. What emotions influence their use and will trigger them to action?

7. Does your users’ intended trigger frequently prompt them to action?

8. Is external trigger hitting people when they’re most likely to act?

9. Is design simple enough so the person acts? (And completes the action.)

10. Does the reward satisfy but leave your users wanting more?

11. Do users invest, store value, set future triggers?

12. How often should a user use your product?

13. What problem do I wish someone would solve for me?

14. What is making it difficult for the user to accomplish their desired action? Is it time? Are they tired? Is it socially awkward? Is it difficult to understand/complex?

This is similar to sociologist Everet Rogers’s five Qs: 
(i) Is your solution better? 
(ii) Is your solution observable?
(iii) Is your solution complex, or is it simple and easy to understand?
(iv) Is your solution easily available and easy to try out? 
(v) Is your solution compatible with how we live now?

15. What is missing that would allow my users to take the next step?

16. What is limiting my users ability to accomplish tasks that will become habits?

“ Behaviour = motivation + ability + trigger” 

17. What do users/people really want?

18. What pain is your product relieving?

19. What brings users to your service? (external trigger)

20. What “bit of work” do users invest in your product?

21. Does this “bit of work” set a future trigger, and store value to improve the product with use?

22. What is the simplest action users take in anticipation of reward, and how can you simplify your product to make this action easier?

23. Are users fulfilled — yet left wanting more?

24. How does your solution vary the reward?

24. Is doing easier than thinking?

25. How can you turn an external trigger into an internal trigger? (By getting the user to cycle thru the 4-step process.)

26. Is your product a painkiller or a vitamin?


Here are BJ Fogg's Six Ways To Measure Simplicity
1. Time
2. Money
3. (physical) Effort
4. (mental) Effort

Key: think of the person’s scarcest resource at that moment: that’s your barrier

5. Social: is it socially deviant? Is it socially acceptable?
6. Routine: how compatible with or far from already established routine is it

The 4 step (circle) process

1. Trigger: it always starts with a trigger, which can be paid, earned, or owned thru a relationship. 

Typical internal triggers: (= human desires, emotional needs, give psychological relief) bored, lonely, fear of missing out, fear of being forgotten, fear or forgetting, desire, fit in, stand-out; social rewards are a key motivator

2. Action! 

3. Life is like a box of chocolates: variable rewards create craving.
Instant variable feedback turns a difficult path into an engaging challenge.
Add mystery to a goal… makes pursuit all the more enticing.
To hold attention, there needs to be a degree of novelty.
Make dopamine happen with relevant, irreverent, tantalising, and plain rewards.
This is why UGC is so good: it results in infinite variability.

4. Investment => stored value

Growth model: 

Sharing feels good. Sharing feels so good, people are willing to forgo money to disclose about self. Disclosing information about ourselves is intrinsically rewarding.


Build - Measure - Learn
0. People using the product.
1. Who are your best users
2. Why are they. 
3. What are the steps & the path they’re taking: codify that.
4. Go back to 0… Change your initial product to reflect, & then A/B test to see if your one test is pushing the key metrics up, or not.

The seven steps to success

Notes from a startup: How to work out equity