How to make a habit-forming product?

Hooked by Nir Eyal

According to Nir Eyal there are two types of products vitamins & pain killers.

Vitamins are nice to have. Pain killers addresses the burning need.

How vitamin travels to become a pain killer?

With the help of habit-forming technology pleasure seeking behaviour becomes pain alleviating behavior. Examples of vitamins which became pain-killer afterward Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google, etc.

A habit is a behavior done with little or no conscious thought

A hook is divided into 4 parts

  • Trigger
  • Action
  • Reward
  • Investment


They are the alarm or notification which tells you what to do next.

There are of two types

  • Internal: The information for what to do next is informed through an association with users memory. Like Emotions, people, place, routine, situations etc.
  • External: The information for what to do next is within the trigger. Like Call-to-action, emails, sms, call, alarm etc.


The simplest action in an anticipation of a reward. According to BJ Fogg, for any behavior to occur we need 3 things at the same time.

Behaviour = Motivation +Ability + Trigger


It always starts with Nucleus Accumbens. Every time when you feel good dopamine is realised in your brain. To understand the exact concept behind it B.F. Skinner did an experiment on a rat putting him into a Skinner Box. Where he was getting a reward on a right button press & a electric shock on a wrong button press. After that he replaced a Rat with a Pigeon & put him in a different box. Where pigeon will be getting the reward only when he presses the button in the correct combination. The Pigeon’s curiosity increased & he always figured out the correct combination even when it was changed many times.

Skinner Box

Conclusion from the experiment:

  • B.F. Skinner showed intermittent rewards increase response rate.
  • Dopamine drives the search
  • Variability spikes dopamine

There are 3 types of variable rewards:

  • Tribe — Networking socially with other humans. Example of tribe is Facebook, Instagram, snapchat, etc.
  • Hunt — Searching for any person, place or thing. Example of hunt is Pinterest, Google etc.
  • Self — Increasing your self capability in any specific area or skill. Example of Self is LinkedIn, pluralsight, etc.

(Habit forming tech products uses 1 or more than 1)


A user invests for future benefits. Investment is the most important step in the hook model without investment the user have no reason to come back to your product & use it.

Investment in many types:

  • Money
  • Personal Data
  • Emotional Committments
  • Social Capital
  • Time
  • Effort etc.
Example for Hook Model

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