Business: Hooked - Nir Eyal


April 28th, 2021

37 mins 47 secs

Season 5

Your Hosts

About this Episode

Hooked - how to build habit-forming products by Nir Eyal

  • How do successful companies create products people can't put down?
  • Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop?
  • What makes us engage with certain products out of sheer habit?
  • Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us?

Nir Eyal answers these questions (and many more) by explaining the "Hook Model" - a four steps process embedded into the products of many successful companies to subtly encourage customer behavior. Through consecutive “hook cycles,” these products reach their ultimate goal of bringing users back over and over again, without depending on costly advertising or aggressive messaging.

4 steps:


A ‘trigger’ is the actuator of behavior; comes in two types — External and Internal

a. Paid Triggers — Advertising, Search engine marketing and other paid channels are commonly used to get users’ attention and prompt them to act. Paying for re-engagement is unsustainable for most business models, companies generally use paid triggers to acquire new users and then leverage other triggers to bring them back.
b. Earned Triggers — For earned triggers to drive ongoing user acquisition, companies must keep their product in the limelight. These cannot be bought directly, but they often require investment in the form of time spent on public and media relations.
c. Relationship Triggers — One person telling others about a product or service can be a highly effective external trigger for action. These can create viral hyper-growth and sometimes drive growth because people love to tell one another about a wonderful offer.
d. Owned Triggers — These consume a piece of real estate in the user’s environment. They consistently show up in daily life and it is ultimately up to the user to opt in to allowing these triggers to appear. While paid, earned and relationship triggers drive new user acquisition, owned triggers prompt repeat engagement until a habit is formed.

Internal triggers tell the user what to do next through associations stored in the user’s memory. When a product becomes tightly coupled with a thought, an emotion or a pre-existing routine, it leverages an internal trigger. Example: 9gag on toilet


Trigger only succeeds if user has both the ability and motivation to take action


  1. Seeking pleasure and avoiding pain
  2. Seeking hope and avoiding fear
  3. Seeking social acceptance while avoiding social rejection

Ability is more important than motivation

Variable Reward —

Rewarding users by solving a problem, reinforcing their motivation for the action taken in the previous phase.

Rewards of the
Tribe - feel accepted, loved, important
Hunt - Search for material resources/information
Self - Intrinsic reward of mastery


Here - users are asked to do a bit of work. Investments are about the anticipation of longer-tern rewards, not immediate gratification. The more users invest time and effort into a product or service, the more they value it. Example: AI with spotify, but it can also be followers, reputation or skill

About the author

Nir Eyal is the bestselling author of "Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products" and "Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life." He is a prominent figure in the silicon valley start up scene with specialist expertise in product development and consumer psychology.

Host rating for 'Hooked'


Rating: 9/10


Rating: 9.5/10


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