Nir Eya goes into building habit forming products


Lots of actionable advice. This book + The Lean Startup are probably going to be enough to bootstrap most ideas to profitability.


  • habits are built on existing desires, must occur with certain frequency/utility
  • hooked model: trigger -> action -> variable reward -> investment
  • habits come from avoiding pain or gaining pleasure
  • easier to increase user ability to accomplish a habit than increase user motivation
  • to make a habits, variable reward must be paired with investment to complete the flywheel

Key Points


  • actions must cross certain frequency/utility threshold to become a habit (Habit Zone)


  • a feeling that turns into an action
  • habits are not created but built on (eg. pleasure/pain, hope/fear, acceptance/rejection)
  • 4 types of triggers: paid, earned, relationship, owned


  • B = MAT (behavior = motivation ability trigger)
  • to make habits stick, either increase motivation or ability, motivation is harder to increase then ability, hence better to focus on simplifying the product

variable reward

  • novelty causes attention
  • novelty comes from tribe (social media), hunt (gain), or self (growth)


  • flywheel where product becomes more useful over time
  • after variable reward because people are primed to invest after getting something


Habit Zone

Frequency/utility threshold that must be crossed in order for something to become a habit

internal trigger

An internal desire to do something (eg. categorized into avoiding pain or seeking pleasure)

external trigger

a prompt with information on what to do next

fogg behavioral model

B = MAT (behavior = motivation ability trigger)



  • triggers will start a behavior

1 - the habit zone

  • for something to become a habit, must help gain pleasure or avoid pain
    • habit is intersection of frequency and utility
  • habits cannot form outside of habit zone (frequency and utility)

2 - trigger

  • habits not created but built upon
  • trigger has cue for what to do next
  • negative emotion very powerful trigger for habit
  • once habit is formed, feeling -> action
  • 4 types of triggers: paid, earned, relationship, owned

3 - action

  • B = MAT (behavior = motivation ability trigger)
  • humans are motivated by 3 things
    • pleasure/pain
    • hope/fear
    • acceptance/rejection
  • motivation vs ability, hard to increase motivation, focus on making it easier
  • some tips for simplifying (heuristics)
    • scarcity, framing, endowed progress,
  • timing - make sure trigger is present when motivation arises
  • ability influenced by:
    • time, money, physical effort, brain cycles, social deviance, and non-routine

4 - variable reward

  • variable rewards add novelty to product that makes humans pay attention
  • 3 types of variable rewards
    • the tribe: social reward (so points)
    • the hunt: material resource (ebay)
    • the self: intrinsic reward (fitness)
  • make sure user has autonomy when designing variable reward process

5 - investment

  • investment = anticipation of future reward
    • happens after variable reward phase because users are now primed to reciprocate
  • investment continues because
    • we value our efforts (more effort in past, more future effort)
    • we want to be consistent with past behavior (do what we've always done)
    • we avoid cognitive dissonance (rationalize our choices)
  • makes service better the more it is used
    • store value in form of
      • content
      • data
      • followers
      • reputation
      • skill

6 - what are you going to do with this

  • building responsible behaviors
    • 4 quadrants:
      • facilitator: would use product, believe that it makes peoples lives better
      • peddler: would not use product, believe that it makes peoples lives better
      • entertainer: would use product, does not believe that it makes peoples lives better
      • dealer: would not use product, does not believe that it makes peoples lives better
    • be a facilitator

  1. Concepts