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Introduction to Habits

Lesson 2 from: Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products

Nir Eyal

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Lesson Info

2. Introduction to Habits

Lesson Info

Introduction to Habits

All right, well, welcome everyone it's great to be here today you know, if there's one thing that we've seen over the past several years is that these devices that we all carry around with us in our pocket have a tremendous impact on our day to day lives they're incredibly good at changing user behavior and so what I've done over the past several years is to study these companies that kind of come out of nowhere maybe five to ten years old and at first they're all dismissed as toys as these nice tohave says these services and products that people you know often dismiss and yet within the blink of an eye right five to ten years these companies are changing the lives, changing the habits of hundreds of millions if not a billion users and they're making hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars. So who comes to mind what what companies do you think of when I give this description these companies that had first dismissed and then what do you know they become these world changing ente...

rprises who comes to mind? Yeah snapchat they were offered three billion dollars apparently from facebook and now they're raised something like a fifteen billion dollar valuation, right? What else? Yeah, twitter twitter sure they had a huge aipo last year what else? Uber absolutely incredibly valuable company that it's changed people's day to day habits very quickly but google sure google absolute there's a big one that nobody mentioned that I'm surprised hasn't come up yet. What about facebook, right? But what if they valued it something like two hundred thirty billion dollars? Be honest, the first time you saw facebook back in two thousand seven, two thousand six, did you really think he would touch one in seven people on the face of the earth? How do they do that, right? What? What is it about these companies that allows them to change so many people's day to day behaviors and day today? Habits and there's other companies as well, right in the enterprise space companies like slack and get hub and stack overflow. And so what we're going to look, look at today, our patterns to figure out what it is that we can learn from these companies he's had a best of breed companies that are so good at changing user habits so that we can apply these techniques to all sorts of businesses. Again, I I wanted to pull some of these techniques that I've learned and apply them to all sorts of businesses. So that's really what we're going to do today to kind of learn from the best to see what patterns we can discover so that we can apply to all sorts of enterprises to keep our customers to keep our users coming back. So I took a few years to write this book hooked how to build habit forming products and I blogged near and far dot com we're going to spend about three and a half hours together today we'll do some exercises together to work on your specific businesses and I hope that everyone at home will have the same opportunity to work on their businesses. And so today what I'd like to do is to start off with a bit of an exercise and that exercise involves you closing your eyes so I want you to close your eyes for a moment and I want you to imagine that you have just received a message in whatever medium it is that you use when someone important needs to contact you okay, I want you to actually picture it in your mind that you have just received that message and I want you to think about what that message looks like and then bring attention to your body. What are you feeling at this very moment when you think about that message sitting there waiting for you blinking at you and once you khun name what it is that you're feeling, I want you to open your eyes and just shout out how did you feel just now? What did you feel anxious number one response I get when I do this exercise, the first thing people tell me I felt anxiety what else? Anticipation. Anticipation, right? What else? Anybody else? Anybody? Anybody feel any physical sensations? Nervous? Nervous deal? Yeah. Anybody feel anything in the solar plexus? Some people report a shortness of breath. A little bit of tension here in the solar plexus. You I see a few nodding heads. What we just did right now what I just stimulated in all of you was a physiological response. Something was happening in your bodies in response to a psychological stimulus. There was no message. All right, I made it up. And yet some of you, I bet right now are itching to check your cell phone so that you could see there's a message, right? So what happened? Right there? What happened was that there was this itch, this urge to do a behavior, and we're gonna be looking at today quite a bit around the neuroscience behind these itches and how products utilize these itches that prompt us to do action with little or no conscious thought, because if there's one thing, that our brain is incredibly good at its pattern matching it's, finding solutions to our discomfort and frequently the solution to our discomfort, the way that we scratch these itches is found with these products and services, all sorts of products and services. Well, you likely experience just now in that short exercise was a response very similar to what a group of chocolate crave er's experienced in this study I'm going to tell you about. So in this study, they took a group of women in this case they were all women and they were self confessed. Chocolate crave er's people who love chocolate. They put these women inside of ephraim r f m r I machine that tracks blood flow in their brains, and they asked them simply to look at images of chocolate, and they wanted to see what would happen inside their brains and what they would report. And so these women, when they were looking at images of chocolate, we're reporting the anticipation of the chocolate, the enjoyment of eating the chocolate if they could actually have some in real life. But not only did they report thes anticipatory responses, but something interesting and unexpected was happening inside their brains. They were experiencing a stress response, a stress response in response to just an image of chocolate, and it turns out that stress is a necessary precondition for addiction that we actually can't have addiction without stress and here's the study that proved it. In this study, the researchers took a group of lab rats, and they they addicted these lab rats to alcohol, they created alcohol dependent animals now don't exactly ask me how they do that. I'm not sure if they get them little fumbles of the thermos full of vodka or something. I'm not really sure how they do that, but anyway they follow this protocol to create alcohol dependent lab rats. Then they gave these lab rats what's called a c r f antagonised, a syrup antagonist blocks the stress response in the brain doesn't block pleasure, just blocks the stress response and guess what happened? They lost their dependency, they lost their addiction, then they want to see what would happen if we first gave lab rats to sierra protagonist and then follow the protocol to get them addicted to the alcohol and guess what? They couldn't do it. So without stress, we don't have addiction now, let's, make sure that we're clear like the workshop today was not about how to create addictions that's not what we want to do for our customers that's not what we want do. My book is not called how to create addictive product it's called how to build habit forming products for a reason because an addiction has a very specific definition on addiction is a compulsive dependency on a behavior or substance, and it always hurts the user addictions are always bad, we don't want to create addictions right. But the reason I talk about addictions and the reason I mentioned the stress response and how it's a precondition for addiction is because it turns out the same process is the same neural pathways, the same steps that help people form addictions, which are always bad. You can help us as innovators. Entrepreneurs as business people help people do something that's very good for their lives, and that is, help them form healthy habits. Now, habits unlike addiction, what are always bad habits. We have good habits and we have bad habits. But by definition, all a habit is is an impulse to do a behavior with little or no conscious thought. Turns out about forty percent of what you do every single day, day in and day out is done purely out of habit. These behaviors done with little or no conscious thought. And I believe that we are on the precipice of an age where we can use habits for good. And I'm not alone because there is an explosion of companies today that are helping people live happier, healthier, more productive, more connected lives by using the psychology of habits for good and that's. What I want to help you do today, we onboard, all right, terrific.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Nir Eyal - Hooked Workbook.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

The information presented by Nir was excellent and pertinent to today's evolution of business development and success. This was beyond my expectation. There was great material that was stimulating and engaging.

Jason Casher

Loved it! Was thorough and gave a strong sense of direction, as well as clear methods to check to see if you are on right track.


Nir Eyal is great! Insightful, interesting course on how habits are created, established and reinforced.

Student Work