Photo by Philippe Oursel on Unsplash

Morality in Building Hooks — “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products” Summarized

Building hooks

To build effective hooks, ask yourself these five fundamental questions:

  1. What do users really want? What pain is your product relieving? (Internal trigger)
  2. What brings users to your service? (External trigger)
  3. What is the simplest action users take in anticipation of reward, and how can you simplify your product to make this action easier? (Action)
  4. Are users fulfilled by the reward yet left wanting more? (Variable reward)
  5. What “bit of work” do users invest in your product? Does it load the next trigger and store value to improve the product with use? (Investment)

The morality of manipulation

The manipulation matrix is a simple decision support tool for entrepreneurs, employees and investors they can use long before product is shipped or code is written.

It seeks to help answer the question “Should I even attempt to hook my users?”

  • Facilitators use their own product and believe it can materially improve people’s lives. They have the highest chance of success because they most closely understand the needs of their users.
  • Peddlers belive their product can materially improve people’s lives but do not use it themselves. They must beware of the hubris and inauthenticity that comes from building solutions for people they do not understand firsthand
  • Entertainers use their product but do not believe it can improve people’s lives. They can be successful, but without making the lives of others better in some way, the entertainer’s products often lack staying power.
  • Dealers neither use the product nor believe it can improve people’s lives. They have the lowest chance of finding long-term success and often find themselves in morally precarious positions

Do this now

  • Take a minute to consider where you fall on the manipulation matrix. Do you use your own product or service? Does it influence positive or negative behaviors? How does it make you feel? Ask yourself if you are proud of the way you are influencing the behavior of others.




Web developer & project manager with experience in React, Nest.js and Flutter

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Maximilian Eckert

Maximilian Eckert

Web developer & project manager with experience in React, Nest.js and Flutter

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