Hooks, according to Nir Eyal, author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, are “experiences designed to connect the user’s problem with the company’s product with enough frequency to form a habit.” In his bestselling book, Eyal describes the 4 steps of the Hooked Model and provides case studies for how the stickiest technologies use hooks to keep users coming back.
Here’s the gist:
- The degree to which a company can utilize habit-forming technologies will increasingly decide which products and services succeed or fail.
- Habit-forming technology creates associations with “internal triggers” which cue users without the need for marketing, messaging or other external stimuli.
- Creating associations with internal triggers comes from building the four components of a “Hook” — a trigger, action, variable reward, and investment.
- Consumers must understand how habit-forming technology works to prevent unwanted manipulation while still enjoying the benefits of these innovations.
- Companies must understand the mechanics of habit-formation to increase engagement with their products and services and ultimately help users create beneficial routines.
From: Hooks: An Intro on How to Manufacture Desire
I’m not interested enough dig up data so this is just an observation after spending a couple months back in Charlottetown.
For the last number of years in Taiwan and China I was often the oldest in almost any social gathering or professional setting. Whether it was Chinese school, working in a tech company, or attending some kind of professional development, for the most part most people were very young. I often used to wonder where they put the middle age workforce out to pasture, as I seldom ran into a design professional my age. An oversimplified reason is that in the case of tech companies, many successful R&D talent retire early to start their on companies or try something new. The stress level in these companies is not for everyone.
In Charlottetown it’s interesting just how different the demographic is. Sure, the Start-up Zone and other incubators have their share of young people, and I would guess the small cluster of tech companies here have their share of young recent graduates, but by and large most of the people I have met or seen are well above their 30’s. Middle aged even. My observation could be totally off, perhaps only people my age have time for professional development here, and everyone else works to the wee hours. Or perhaps as I suspect, the young have long since left for Toronto and beyond. Either way, it does make for a far different dynamic than what I experienced living elsewhere.
No one treats me like their father here.
Via the many workshops and presentations I’ve been attending these past couple months, I’ve been immersed in a totally different vocabulary: branding, marketing, influencers, digital marketing, ROI on social media campaigns, and on and on. Sometimes, it feels a bit like eating too many carbs, as I am ultimately left feeling empty.
This is the world of business I have not been exposed to. When we were pioneering blogs at work and creating “personal projects” online, it was in some small way about self-expression, or in some cases creating value. Now it’s all about sales. It feels fake.
When you are using your second language it’s difficult to talk deeply about subjects around art, design and engineering. But I am starting to miss those conversations, as basic as they often were, when I communicated in Chinese.
I’ve often lamented my lack of marketing knowledge, my lack of business acumen too, and naive as I am, I thought that somehow if I listened and studied, it would be somewhat akin to taking a pill that would magically transform me with the ability to successfully promote products and services.
I’m oversimplifying. I’ve picked up some ideas and met some brilliant people. Charlottetown must have more marketing/ communication professionals per capita than any other place I’ve lived, so there are plenty of people’s brains to pick. I’m only at the very beginning of my study, with much more to learn, and at the very least I’ve realized that I much prefer making products for people, and the language surrounding that, than selling.
Camren doing his Freddie Hubbard impression
Camren participated in band camp this past week for fun, and as a means to get a start on playing trumpet in the band program in the fall. His motivation for playing trumpet may have been in part due to my own long history with the instrument.
If the amount of students who participated is any indication, the band program is thriving on Prince Edward Island. Fantastic. The benefits of music education are apparent, and of all the places I have visited PEI would appear to have one the more successful programs. Too often music education is positioned as an extracurricular, at a high cost, forcing parents to make hard choices based on their available resources. More often than not, this results in many children missing out on this valuable experience. In Taiwan in particular, music education is expensive, and often neglected after elementary school, in favour of language or math. It’s a shame but I’m so happy that my son can take advantage of this opportunity, like I did when I was his age, while we live here on the Island.
Look at all these wonderful trumpets:
I wrote back in February about how I am increasingly aware of the clicking of father time and how I don’t have the time to waste today, as I felt I had in my late teens and early twenties. Ideally I should spend my time on activities that have value for me, and reject all the other “things” we get caught up in in an effort to look busy or fill in time..
Specifically, now as then, I questioned exactly what value I get from spending time on any kind of social media. I think the answer is generally none. Its like carbs vs. protein, or filler for my day, or sometimes with the extreme politics of today, its bad for my blood pressure.
With the exception of this blog, which serves as a quick exercise in writing semi-complete sentences, I’ve thought of giving up all my social accounts completely. But lately after attending event after event touting the importance of having a “social media strategy”, or a “digital marketing initiative” for your business, I’m going to try broadcasting more (PEI seems to have a dis-proportionately large number of marketing professionals, it’s like Hsinchu and the number of engineers/researchers). I’m an introvert, seemingly anti-social, so conversations with strangers online, like in real life are infrequent, but I might be able to handle sharing more of the banality of my professional interests. This should make for some interesting ads on Facebook at the very least.
Against the advice of the marketing folks I have recently met, I’m going to see how it goes for a shortish period of time (they suggest much longer), say a month or so, and see if it doesn’t work out to be a waste of time.
The Journal of the Formosan Medical Association graciously had released the following under Open Access.
The overall prevalence of MP use for Taiwanese children aged 11–15 years was estimated at 63.2% (95% CI = 61.1–65.3%). The prevalence showed a small sex difference, but presented evident age and geographic variations. The prevalence increased steadily from 45% for 11-year-old children to 71.7% for children aged 15 years. Children living in the Central area showed the highest prevalence (69.3%), whereas those from the South area had the lowest prevalence at 58.3%. We also noted that children who attended private schools had a higher prevalence of MP use than public school students.
Some 71.1% of guardians reported that the main reason for their children to use MPs was because of safety considerations. However, 27.6% admitted that peer pressure was the main reason for their children to own MPs. Forty-five percent of children used MPs for calling or receiving every day, 30.7% talked >2 days/week, and 18.9% used MPs 1–2 days/week. More than half (45%) of children had used MPs for calling or receiving daily, 34.8% reported daily MP use of 21–40 minutes, and 4.4% of children used MPs for at least 1 hour every day. During weekdays, children often (41.7%) talked on MPs in the evening. The MP use pattern during the weekend was somewhat different; children often used their MPs for calling or receiving in the afternoon (33.3%), and then in the evening (24.6%). Of the children studied, 9.8% frequently used MPs for calling or receiving after 10:00 PM, a time of lights out for many families during weekdays, and the corresponding figure for the weekend was 6.7%
From Mobile phone use and health symptoms in children in the Journal of the Formosan Medical Association
Volume 114, Issue 7, July 2015, Pages 598-604
Last Friday early morning I took my wife Sheryl to the airport so that she could begin her long journey back to Taiwan. That marked the start of what should be a challenging, and I hope rewarding, year here on Prince Edward Island. For all practical purposes I am now an unemployed single parent of two kids.
We’ve been planning this move for years now; saving money, taking on new responsibilities, and making time for experiences that we had procrastinated on. But as my early morning inspiration Jocko Willink has said, the best laid plans don’t survive contact with the enemy, so in the end in order to make this plan a reality, one of us had to stay behind working (we made the move realizing that I likely would never work in a job in Prince Edward Island like I had in Taiwan or China). I could have gone back to China, but there are few jobs as stable as my wife’s, so she volunteered.
We have experience living apart from my year in China, but I was home frequently, just a 90 minute flight away, so this will be very different. We won’t see her but twice this coming year.
So far, other than some boredom on the kids part, something I hope will disappear when school starts, everything seems to be going fine. They are experiencing some culture shock and some communication issues, as am I. It will be a good chance for them to learn some independence, something lacking in their lives in Taiwan, and I can be assured that they will survive, if not thrive, no matter how many mistakes I make.
Just up the coast from the more popular Lakeside Beach sits what must be one of the best beaches I have enjoyed in some time. What a gem. My kids prefer the beaches in Thailand, I think banana smoothies play a factor in their choice, but I think the beaches here are as good as any. And they are largely deserted, which plays a factor in my choice.
I’m not much of a fun at the beach person but spending time here is well worth it, especially when you factor in a short drive to Lin’s Take Out on Greenwich Rd. for some monstrous ice cream cones.
One of the last bits of 麻煩, or “troublesome tasks”, that must be accomplished now that I am becoming a resident of Canada again, is changing the country for my iTunes account. I have yet to apply for health cards but I suspect the application for health cards (and not the actual getting to see a doctor) will be actually much easier than changing my iTunes account.
Apple very clearly states what you must do prior to changing your account:
What to do before changing your country or region
Spend any store credit remaining on your Apple ID. You must also wait for any pending store credit refunds to process before you can change your country or region. Learn what to do if your remaining store credit is less than the cost of a single item.
Cancel any subscriptions, including Apple Music, and wait until the end of the subscription period to change your country or region. You’ll also have to wait for any memberships, pre-orders, iTunes movie rentals, or Season Passes to complete.
Have a payment method for your new country or region on hand. For example, only German credit cards can be used to buy content from the German iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and App Store.
Back up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to iTunes. You might need to temporarily downgrade your iCloud storage until you switch to the new country or region.
The tricky part here is waiting for memberships to complete. I subscribe to iTunes match, which only recently renewed, and as such won’t complete until the Spring of next year. Though I’m not an avid consumer of Apple services, considering I no longer have a Taiwan credit card, that seems like a long time to not be able to use iCloud, Apple music, and the other services I subscribe through Apples platform. So it’s a mess.
I won’t go into how you can’t actually change your country via the web.
I’m on hold with Apple support and will document this journey as it unfolds.
After 1 hour on the phone with Apple support I was finally able to change my Apple iTunes account from Taiwan to Canada and am now basking in all the media that Apple delivers in this country. I talked to 3 different support personal including a “Senior Advisor” in order to make this happen.
Apple was polite and professional throughout the whole process, but it really should not have been this hard. Changing my developer account seemed much easier.
It also raises the question, what other company in the world would I bother going through so much effort to remain their customer? I can’t think of one. Though it’s somewhat of a stretch, you would think that the importance of my Apple ID is somewhat reaching parity with my national ID number.
A few points about the change:
- I was a subscriber to iTunes match. That database was deleted and I must upload all my music files anew. I’m not sure I’ll bother.
- I was told my Apple music playlists would be gone, but I haven’t seen any changes. Perhaps some music has been affected, but I haven’t noticed any problems yet.
- Local apps. cannot be downloaded again, but I think I can live without local Taiwan bus and taxi apps.
- My Apple music preferences were reset. This could be huge for my daughter but I always found Apple’s music curation to be subpar.
- iCloud was unaffected.
- International media regulations suck, particularly in Taiwan, which is largely the source of all these problems.
- My other subscriptions, particularly Evernote, so far remain unaffected. I think it’s a good time to revisit these subscriptions as my usage of Evernote in particular doesn’t warrant the money spent.