“The best thing you can do as an entrepreneur is not quit. The recipe for success is survival.” – Nir Eyal
Nir Eyal is the author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life. Previously, he taught as a Lecturer in Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Design School, and he’s sold two technology companies since 2003.
Nir Eyal is a hiitide partner and his 28-day micro course on his book Indistractable is available on hiitide. Sign up here.
For most of his career, Nir worked in the video gaming and advertising industries where he learned and applied (and at times rejected) the techniques used to motivate and manipulate users. He writes to help companies create behaviors that benefit their users while educating people on how to build healthful habits in their own lives.
As an active investor, he puts his money where his mouth is by backing habit-forming products he believes improve lives. Some of his past investments include Eventbrite (NYSE:EB), Kahoot! (KAHOOT-ME.OL), Anchor.fm (acquired by Spotify), Canva, Refresh.io (acquired by LinkedIn), Product Hunt (acquired by Angelist), Marco Polo, Byte Foods, Shadow, FocusMate, Dynamicare, Wise App, and Cutback Coach.
Although he received most of his education earning an advanced degree from The School of Hard Knocks, he also received an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
The video below was made by Oreon Mounter and his team at MomentCo.com. Oreon is a long-time reader and startup entrepreneur with some amazing video production skills. He followed Nir for a few days while he was in Toronto with the goal of capturing the ethos of his work helping companies build better products. Here’s a few snippets of what Nir has to say about himself:
“My family came to America in 1981 as immigrants, and having this crazy name, I always felt different. I hear that’s something that a lot of entrepreneurs feel. After school, I began studying how technology persuades people. The whole rise of Facebook, Twitter, Zynga and these companies that managed to get people to do new behaviors, they’ve never done before, fascinates me.
Through my studies I got to see experiment after experiment and started collecting patterns. From those patterns and another year or so of study, I put together what I think is a useful framework for how products form addictions, behaviors and habits.
Habits are really who we are. Habits are evolutionarily beneficial. We have habits to save our brain from doing all the thinking required the first time we learn something new.
If you’re making a product, and you have an idea for something you’d like to build, and you’re thinking to yourself, what do I need in order for this business model to succeed? From my experience I can tell you, it requires daily use and unprompted user engagement. The user has to think, “I need to come back to this”, even without getting an email. Does it have the four basic elements? Trigger, Action, Reward and Investment. Is the cycle time quick enough for me to form that habit? I want to help that entrepreneur, struggling with those issues.
I think if you look back at the founders of the past decade that have really made a gigantic impact in our day to day lives and created the products that we use. These people are driven by meaning, and that’s what I advise entrepreneurs to is to build something that they want, that they think materially improves the lives of others and in doing that you can’t fail.”
Here’s what you’ll get in this Online Book Club:
- Tools to create and maintain indestructible relationships
- The confidence to prevent distraction in your workplace
- Vital strategies to eliminate external triggers in your life
Lesson One | Indistractable Online Book Club
Author Nir Eyal discusses the important difference between what is a distraction versus what is traction in both the first part of the book and the video above. He speaks that while distraction will always exist, its’ management is our responsibility. While it may seem that technology has been the cause of society’s distraction, Nir speaks about how distraction is far from a new concept. He dates distraction all the way back to Socrates. No matter the source of it, distraction is ingrained in our behavior as humans.
However, it is not time to let it consume us, there are tactics to utilize that allow us to address the distraction to reframe it into traction, the behavior that will ultimately get us to where we want to be. In order to figure out what behaviors are a distraction or traction, we need to identify what we want to achieve or who we want to be.
Today’s activity will walk you through a short exercise that will help you reflect on past goals and distractions to prevent them from repeating.
- Reflect on a time that you created a goal for yourself as well as the process you had to complete the goal.
- What were sources of distraction during this time?