Nir Eyal

  • Make Your Users Do the Work

    Make Your Users Do the Work

    Editor’s Note: Nir Eyal is a founder of two startups and an advisor to several Bay Area companies and incubators. He is a Lecturer in Marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and blogs about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business at Follow him on Twitter @nireyal. The belief that products should always be as easy to use as possible is a… Read More

  • The Art Of Manipulation

    The Art Of Manipulation

    Let’s admit it, we in the consumer web industry are in the manipulation business. We build products meant to persuade people to do what we want them to do. We call these people “users” and even if we don’t say it aloud, we secretly wish every one of them would become fiendishly addicted. Users take our technologies with them to bed. When they wake up, they check for… Read More

  • The Next Secrets Of The Web

    The Next Secrets Of The Web

    Right now, someone is tinkering with a billion dollar secret — they just don’t know it yet. “What people aren’t telling you,” Peter Thiel taught his class at Stanford, “can very often give you great insight as to where you should be directing your attention.” Secrets people can’t or don’t want to divulge are a common thread behind… Read More

  • Never Take Your Eyes Off This Hacker Metric

    Never Take Your Eyes Off This Hacker Metric

    If you’re like me, you’ve had enough of the Facebook IPO story. For tech entrepreneurs struggling to build stuff, the cacophony of recent press is just more noise. That’s why when my friend Andrew Chen posted an insightful analysis of Facebook user data, I was happy to get back to learning from what the company did right instead of debating what its bankers did… Read More

  • Spotting The Next Facebook: Why Emotions Are Big Business

    Spotting The Next Facebook: Why Emotions Are Big Business

    Tomorrow Facebook will sell shares in one of the biggest tech IPOs in history. New investors will gobble up the stock to get a piece of the global phenomenon famously started in Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room in 2004. But while owning the stock will have quantifiable value when it trades on the open market, few buyers will be able to say truthfully that they understood the value of the… Read More

  • The Billion Dollar Mind Trick

    The Billion Dollar Mind Trick

    Yin asked not to be identified by her real name. A young addict in her mid-twenties, she lives in Palo Alto and, despite her addiction, attends Stanford University. She has all the composure and polish you’d expect of a student at a prestigious school, yet she succombs to her habit throughout the day. She can’t help it; she’s compulsively hooked. Yin is an Instagram addict. Read More

  • Hooking Users In 3 Steps

    Hooking Users In 3 Steps

    The truly great consumer technology companies of the past 25 years have all had one thing in common: They created habits. This is what separates world-changing businesses from the rest. Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter are used daily by a high proportion of their users and their products are so compelling that many of us struggle to imagine life before they existed. Read More

  • Abolish The Reference Check

    Abolish The Reference Check

    It’s time to abolish the reference check. The unpleasant process of calling up a job applicant’s former boss to gab about the candidate’s pluses and “deltas” is just silly. Maybe if we all just agree to stop doing it the practice will go away, like pay phones and fanny packs. Instead, I’ve learned a better way to hire that leverages a universal human… Read More

  • Want To Hook Your Users? Drive Them Crazy.

    Want To Hook Your Users? Drive Them Crazy.

    In advertising, marketers reinforce a behavior by linking to the promise of reward. “Use our product,” they claim, “and you’ll get laid”; it’s the gist of many product pitches from soap to hamburgers. But online, feedback loops aren’t cutting it. Users are increasingly inundated with distractions, and companies find they need to hook users quickly if… Read More

  • Go Ask Grandma: How To Design For “Normals”

    Go Ask Grandma: How To Design For “Normals”

    As web watchers, entrepreneurs, and investors search for the next big thing, they’d be wise to focus on innovations that can be easily adopted by technology novices. A recent string of companies, including Groupon and Pinterest, have found success outside the early-adopter digerati by building products simple enough to be used by just about anyone. Designing with tech novices in mind… Read More

  • How To Manufacture Desire

    How To Manufacture Desire

    Type the name of almost any successful consumer web company into your search bar and add the word “addict” after it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Try “Facebook addict” or “Zynga addict” or even “Pinterest addict” and you’ll soon get a slew of results from hooked users and observers deriding the narcotic-like properties of these web sites. How… Read More

  • Habits Are The New Viral: Why Startups Must Be Behavior Experts

    Habits Are The New Viral: Why Startups Must Be Behavior Experts

    Face it; you’re hooked. It’s your uncontrollable urge to check for email notifications on your phone. It’s your compulsion to visit Facebook or Twitter for just a few minutes, but somehow find yourself still scrolling after an hour. It’s the fact that if I recommended a book to purchase, your mind would flash “Amazon” like a gaudy neon sign. If habits… Read More

  • Personalized eCommerce Is Already Here, You Just Don’t Recognize It

    Personalized eCommerce Is Already Here, You Just Don’t Recognize It

    Reading Leena Rao’s recent article on Techcrunch about the personalization revolution, you get the sense that the tech world is waiting for a bus that isn’t coming. Rao quotes well-known industry experts and luminaries describing what needs to happen for e-commerce to finally realize the promise of personalized shopping, a future where online retailers predict what you’ll want… Read More