Hooked by Nir Eyal

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The step by step approach to get people addicted to your product!

We’ve all done it.  We’ve all been dead set on getting down to work, but then end up watching random cat videos on YouTube, or ended up looking at random pictures on Pinterest for hours on end.

This book is precisely about that.  It reveals the techniques that some successful companies use to get us addicted and keep us coming back for more.

I won’t go into the techniques used too much as I want you to get and read the book yourselves!  However it can be summarised with a pretty basic flowchart:

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The four steps to hook users

Essentially, there are four steps.  Triggering (for example your phone vibrating or ringing), users taking action (opening emails or liking photos etc.), getting rewarded (people liking your comments, viewing your content), investing (giving companies data such as your personal information or uploading content).

Yes, hooking is basically synonymous with manipulation or getting people addicted to your product.  As much as the author, Nir Eyal  espouses that this information should be used for the good of mankind, I am sure people will use this information for the exact opposite reason and to make a quick buck.  However, even if you disagree with a step by step guide to hooking/manipulating people I think it’s pretty important to be aware of how you are likely being manipulated already.  At least if you are aware of this then you can choose to continue in your habits, break free or consciously take part.

The problem is that the hooked model is just so damned effective because of what Nir calls “internal triggers”.

One of the “internal triggers” that seems to motivate people the most are negative emotions.  For example studies have shown that depressed people tend to use Facebook much more than others.  It’s our fear of missing out that keeps us checking that Twitter feed.  We keep checking our e-mails because we’re worried that something has happened at work.

Personally I found the psychological implications and insights much more eye opening than what techniques large companies use to keep us using their products, as I think most people out there have already guessed that corporations have invested large amounts of money and research into making sure we keep using what they’re selling.  It’s just a very powerful reminder on how primal human beings really are and how our fear of scarcity, failure, rejection etc. motivate us to literally spend hours everyday with technology.

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