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You did your homework. You have preliminary evidence that your idea works on a small scale, and now you are determined to build something that resembles a fully functional, high fidelity prototype. You hire an engineer to lead product development, and you set a hard deadline to release “the app” in just a few weeks, if not days. But what happens during the design process? You are confused and you don’t know exactly what to build. Problems do not just reside in how you design a low friction user interface, but in how users will create a habit which did not exist before. This is the hard question we ask as coaches. What makes you assume that your solution will go past the initial sign-up stage and generate engagement? That people will feel addicted to over a short period of time?

We have spoken recently about the “Jobs-to-be-done” framework, but now it’s time to touch on the Hook model – a very powerful model for creating highly addictive products. We highly recommend reading Nir Eyal’s book, which can is eyeopening when finding new ideas for your MVP.

The “hook” looks like this:
Hook model for Pinterest

Let us focus on the “trigger” for now. The trigger is very important to get right early on, as it determines very accurately whether there will be a following “action” afterwards. We need to plan a context in which our potential customers feel the pain, and access our app to alleviate this pain, without having second thoughts.

The key here is to think about the context. As you can see from the diagram, triggers are defined as external or internal. External triggers are what we know. For example, our app will have mechanisms to encourage user interaction via two very attractive but often misused technologies: e-mail and smartphone notifications. The mystery though is – what are the internal triggers? These are the desires, life situations, or pains felt by our customers, which we should be acting upon.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to know for sure what it is for most startups. This depends on your product and the problem we’re trying to solve.

If you would like to learn more, I recommend that you listen to an interview with Nir Eyal. He speaks about his investment in the app Refresh, which has implemented the Hook model.

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