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Hook & measure: 2 ways to build a Day 1 product 🎣📈

Jeff Bezos’ annual shareholder letter is a glorious rallying cry for business leaders to obsess over their customers to win in the modern market.

He makes many excellent points, but his core argument is that Day 1 businesses eat Day 2 businesses for breakfast.

To him, Day 1 businesses are all about: customer obsession, scepticism of proxies (e.g. most market research, process-focus), early adoption of external trends, and high velocity decision making.

So what’s a Day 2 business?

“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.” — Jeff Bezos

Yikes. This thinking applies to businesses and products alike.

Here are two ways to increase your chances of building a Day 1 product.


When done right, product building is a customer obsessed process.

You identify a real problem, find a big enough market, create a product that solves the problem and then find out how many customers are willing to pay for it.

This takes a lot of trial and error, so a strong user testing framework is important. Hanno’s Lean Validation is a good starting point for injecting rigor into your validation process.

Even when users have paid for your product, there’s no guarantee that they’re going to keep coming back to it. That’s why you need a good Hook.

Nir Eyal tells us that we form habits as a result of the products we use. A product that forms a habit follows a consistent process of hooking users.

Facebook fits the Hook model well:

  1. Internal trigger: “I’m bored, I don’t know what to do.”
  2. External trigger: “My friend just tagged me in a picture, I want to see!”
  3. Action: “Those photos were awesome. I should upload my photos from last weekend.”
  4. Reward: “Hey, my pictures are getting liked — I’m popular!”
  5. Investment: “My network is pretty big now. I’ll keep checking to see what my friends are up to.”

Even after you’ve achieved the Herculean task of building a habit forming product, you’re still not done.


“If you don’t know what you want, you end up with a lot you don’t.” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

You’ve got to find out if users are hooked on the parts of your product that align with your wider strategy.

The only way to do that is to measure how they’re using your product. But with so much data at your fingertips where do you start?

Keep in mind the HEART framework:

  1. Happiness (user satisfaction, Net Promoter Score through quant surveys)
  2. Engagement (user activities around frequency, intensity and depth of use)
  3. Adoption (new users, sign ups)
  4. Retention (% active users / over a period of time)
  5. Task success (completed tasks, number of errors)

Choosing a handful of KPIs from all these metrics can be a daunting task. Digital Telepathy has a comprehensive guide on how to get started.

A word of caution: avoid vanity metrics at all cost. These are data points that don’t accurately reflect whether you’re succeeding as a business.

Aaron Harris at Y Combinator has some great insight on this, pointing out that start ups often pick fund raising as the biggest vanity metric of all.


Build something great, get users hooked and then measure how they’re using your product.

Every day you’ll wake up to a Day 1 product.

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