Nir’s Note: This article is part of a series on “The Hooked Model in Action.” Previous analyses have included Slack, Fortnite, Amazon’s Echo, Tinder, and The Bible App. I never take compensation from any company profiled.
Maybe you’ve heard the buzz around Clubhouse, the drop-in audio chat app. It’s a bit like Twitch for conference calls. If you have no idea what “Twitch” is, you’re probably over 40. In your case, the closest analog might be those 1–900 party lines you saw advertised on late-night TV in the 1990s — but a bit less sleazy and in app form.
Clubhouse is the new new thing and it’s got many people hooked. The app is the latest example of a habit-forming product taking the world by storm.
In 2014, I published my book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. My mission was to help people in all industries understand and apply the psychology of behavioral design to build the kinds of products that promote good habits in their users’ lives (think fitness and learning apps).
I wanted to share and democratize the techniques used by the world’s stickiest products, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, so that anyone could build habit-forming products for good, rather than frivolity.
The book centers on my four-part Hooked Model below:
Clubhouse checks all the boxes in the model, and analyzing the app through the lens of the Hooked Model reveals not only why the app is so engaging, but also reveals some potentially fatal flaws the company must watch out for if it is to create a lasting habit in users’ lives.
A trigger actuates a behavior, like a spark plug in an engine. Triggers come in two types: external and internal.
Habit-forming products start by alerting users with external triggers. In this case, if you follow someone on Clubhouse, you’ll get a notification each time they start a chat…