AMA with Nir Eyal on How to build habit-forming products and fight distractions

Nir Eyal
May 17, 2018

I am Nir Eyal. I am fascinated with the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. I call it “behavioral design.” The topic encompasses user experience, behavioral economics, and a dash of neuroscience. My passion is helping companies build better products.

Iʼm the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and have taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Design School. Iʼve sold two technology companies since 2003 and now help teams design more engaging products.

In this AMA I would like to focus on how to build habit-forming products and fight distractions.

Nearly 80% of smartphone owners reach out to their device within 15 minutes from waking up. On average, people check their phones between 40 and 150 times a day. We are all clearly hooked. But how do some companies manage to control peopleʼs minds? What makes some products habit forming and others not? Forming habits is imperative for the survival of many products and the more distractions we have around, the harder it is for companies to create and maintain loyal user base. Many businesses are just waking up to this reality while others are already cashing in.

I will try my best to answer all questions, do check my blog for some great content and follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with what Iʼm up to.

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Conversation (201)

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What can writers do to increase their exposure on social media?

Sep 18, 9:07PM EDT1

Is it important to define a single main customer goal (something they would hope to achieve) when desiging a product or application, or is it better to define an overall experince for the same customer?

Sep 15, 6:58AM EDT2

How would you apply your habit forming products to a new authors book marketing?

Sep 13, 9:31PM EDT1

What is the hardest habits to break?

Sep 13, 6:40PM EDT1

How can this "habit-forming" science be used when it comes to growing your brand on social media. It's not a product that I'm offering, but instead myself,  so that later I will be able to monetize. 

Sep 7, 2:57PM EDT2

When I read your article on Hook Model it all seem to click for me. You helped me to understand why people behave a certain way. How do you teach ways to get their focus on your product? Catch words or phrases that satisfy tribe, hunt, self?

Sep 6, 6:53PM EDT1

Have you considered helping build habit forming products that habe a positive impact on life and general health? Im curious because i cant personally think of any and im sure they are out there 

Sep 6, 8:58AM EDT2

What are  the challenges you have faced on these field and why?

Aug 31, 1:07AM EDT2


Thanks for having you here my question is how do you convince people international to join a network marketing involving an investment

Aug 30, 6:53PM EDT1

Do you have any guidelines on how to make a self-help/personal growth online course habit forming?

Aug 28, 11:55PM EDT1

In your opinion, what is the one bad habit you notice that many business owners fall victim to and what do you think can be done to change it

Aug 27, 11:30PM EDT1

Hi! In your opinion how many times in a day does one need to send information to people in order for them to get hooked and reached for their phone?

Aug 27, 12:03AM EDT1

What are the consequences of being so attached to phones? 

Aug 21, 2:28PM EDT2

Hey, Nir!Glad to bump into your AMA. This is an awesome topic, and something that I often think about as an entrepreur. From my teens, up until my late '20s, I suffered from internet addiction, and now as a self-made businesswoman, I'm wary of the amount of time needed/expected online in order to network/attract new clients via social media.

My question is: what is your opinion on entrepreurs who are wary of, or refuse to, utilize modern technology to maximize wide-spread marketing, and what habits can be utilized to ensure a healthy nurturing of brand reach/communication, despite social media's influence on capitalistic gain through the overarching psychological ramifications of a toxic-bred society?I hope that question makes sense! TIA!

Aug 16, 2:37PM EDT1

My best friend is a fashion blogger with hundreds of thousands of followers. She is suffering greatly from FOMO and a constant urge to check her phone up to the point that we cant have a proper conversation. I suggested she go for addiction counselling. Do you think your methods would work at this level?

Aug 11, 1:14PM EDT2

What is the best way to go about getting a person to develop the habit you need them too, so that they use your product?

Aug 11, 12:03AM EDT3

Hi Nir

I like your focus on "better habits." This leads into the question of how to create them with what? E.g. our committment is to changing the paradigm on hair loss--where creating hair is about forcing the body to do what it doesn't do best. Hair loss assumes hair growth, discounting the body as the primary source for such creation. We want to empower the body so it gets to do what it does best--heal, rejuvenate. I would love to know from you how best to guide patrons into better habits through conversations about what that "better" looks like? Thanks! Shubhra

Aug 10, 2:03PM EDT2

Who have been some of your inspirations in your combined fields of research?

Aug 10, 9:48AM EDT1

Hello Nir, 

You now help teams create more engaging products.  Are habit-forming products really engaging or just addictive?  Ultimately, we all lose out if our society becomes a mass of addicted humans.  What is the difference between products that are engaging versus products that are addictive?

Aug 7, 5:30AM EDT4

Project management has long been a hot skill everyone needs to have some working knowledge of to get ahead. It seems product management is going to start encroaching on this territory and will become one of the next must-have skills everyone needs to know at least a bit of to get ahead. What do you think?

Aug 5, 12:12PM EDT1
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