Nostalgia: A Product Designer’s Secret Weapon

Nir’s Note: In this guest post, Ryan Hoover, contributing writer of my book Hooked, describes how nostalgia is used to drive attention and build an engaging product. Follow @rrhoover or visit his blog to read more about startups and product design.

Alf Pogs

Remember pogs?

Remember Tubthumping?

Remember Nickelodeon GUTS?

Now pause…

How do you feel right now? Did reading those words stimulate any emotional reaction? Did it bring back memories? Excite you? Make you smile?

Nostalgia is powerful. Simply mentioning the names of childhood toys, old TV shows, classic video games, and other pastime activities often instigate an emotional response, reminiscence. But why? (more…)

Hunting for Habits: Keying in on smart design to make a product irresistible

Nir’s Note: In this guest post, Ryan Hoover describes the design decisions and strategies used to build a habit-forming product, largely influenced by the learnings on this blog.  Follow @rrhoover or visit his blog to read more about startups and product design.

Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fud

Recently, Nathan Bashaw and I launched Product Hunt, a daily leaderboard of the best new products. As two product enthusiasts, we wanted to create a community to share, discover, and geek out about new and interesting products. But to make it a success, we knew we had to make it a habit, a product people would use every day. (more…)

The Future is Driven by Interface Changes

Nir’s Note: In this guest post Ryan Hoover takes a look at how interface changes drive innovation. Ryan blogs at ryanhoover.me and you can follow him on Twitter at rrhoover.

Interface changes can result in great opportunities for new startups and existing businessesWhat do motorized vehicles, broadband internet, and smartphones have in common? These technologies all introduced new forms of user interface, transforming its user’s daily lives and behaviors.

I’ve been studying Nir Eyal’s work and recently read his article on the power of interface changes. As stated in his post, interface changes have the potential to radically change user behavior, disrupt incumbents, and enable new opportunities only imagined in film and sci-fi novels.

If you’re building a new startup or operating an existing business, (more…)

What Killed Turntable.fm?

What killed Turntable.fm?Nir’s Note: In this guest post, Ryan Hoover, Director of Product at PlayHaven, utilizes my thinking on the “Habit Zone” to shed light on where Turntable.fm fell short. Ryan blogs at ryanhoover.me and you can follow him on Twitter at rrhoover.

Remember Turntable? When it first launched in May of 2011, the music service seemed to own the internet, growing from zero to over 420,000 monthly active users (MAU) only two months later [1]. Unfortunately, that growth didn’t last long as many of its early adopters ditched the service. It is now estimated to have only 20 – 50,000 MAU’s, a fraction of its early peak [2].

As I described nearly two years ago, much of Turntable’s success was due to its well-executed social engagement loop; however, that wasn’t enough. So what went wrong? (more…)