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How Bad is Tech Use for Kids, Really?

How Bad is Tech Use for Kids, Really?

It feels impossible to tell if the technology our kids use should be celebrated or feared. A few years ago I wrote a book, Hooked, about how technology can be used to change our habits. I intended the book to teach startups how to build healthy habits, but now I’m not so sure. With headlines telling us technology is hijacking our brains, I started second guessing the impact of our devices, especially when it comes to our kids.

How alarmed should we be? Is this a crisis or a fear frenzy? I wanted to understand what the studies really tell us about the effect personal technology is having on our children.

One side clearly believes the kids are not okay. “It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades,” wrote Dr. Jean Twenge, a professor of Psychology at San Diego State University in an article in The Atlantic.1 “Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.”

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How Apps Can Shape Your Future Self

How Apps Can Shape Your Future Self

Nir’s Note: This guest post is written by Jeni Fisher, a London-based Googler who consults startups on applying behavioral insights to achieve business and user goals.

Early on in my role as an Apps partner manager at Google Play, I was drawn towards the Self-Improvement apps space because their persuasive influence transcends screen-level interactions. Their mission is to persuade people to take real-life actions that lead to long-term behavior change and ultimately shape how they live their lives.

Read on to discover how these companies are harnessing behavioral insights to bridge people’s intention-action gap and work towards the ‘future self’ they seek to be. read more…

How to Be Indistractable: Video by Nir Eyal

In this talk, I describe a new model for managing distraction — how to become “Indistractable.”
I’ll write more on this topic in the coming months and I’m finishing a book with the same title. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.

Also, please share this video with people who may benefit from watching it. Thanks!

Peak-End Rule: Why You Make Terrible Life Choices

Nir’s Note: This post part of a series on cognitive bias co-authored with and illustrated by Lakshmi Mani. Discover other reasons you make terrible life choices like confirmation bias, hyperbolic discounting and distinction bias.

It’s New Year’s Eve. There I am on the dance floor – it’s teeming with people and there’s hardly space to breathe. Loud thumping music pierces my eardrums and I have no idea where my friends are.

Then, the guy next to me takes a misstep, spills an entire cup of beer down my shoulder. I gasp as the cold brew winds its way down my back. But he’s too drunk and the music is too loud for him to notice. Is this supposed to be fun? What am I doing here? I hail a ride to get out of there.

At home, after wringing out my shirt and getting ready for bed, I take a minute to pull up my phone and glance at my Instagram stories.

There I see the plate of chocolate cake from the dinner with friends that started the evening.
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How Netflix’s Customer Obsession Created a Customer Obsession

How Netflix’s Customer Obsession Created a Customer Obsession

Nir’s Note: This guest post is by Gibson Biddle, former VP at Netflix and CPO at Chegg. Gibson is speaking at the Habit Summit in San Francisco on April 11th. 

In 2005, as I joined Netflix as VP of Product, I asked Reed Hastings, the CEO, what he hoped his legacy would be. His answer: “Consumer science.” He explained, “Leaders like Steve Jobs have a sense of style and what customers seek, but I don’t. We need consumer science to get there.”

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Distinction Bias: Why You Make Terrible Life Choices

Nir’s Note: This post part of a series on cognitive bias co-authored with and illustrated by Lakshmi Mani. Discover other reasons you make terrible life choices like confirmation bias and hyperbolic discounting.

There I was, looking at an enormous wall of television screens. Each one flashed the exact same scene  —  a beautiful flower slowly blooming to reveal each petal, pistil, and stamen in exquisite super high definition detail. It was downright sexy. But now it was time to make my choice.

Would I buy the $400 television within my budget or would I splurge on the $500 deluxe model that somehow helped me understand plant biology in a new, more intimate way?

Though every cone and rod in my eyeballs begged me to buy the better one, my more sensible instinct kicked in. “Your budget is $400, remember?”  Sighing, I bought the crappy model and braced for a life of media mediocrity.

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Business, Behavior, & the Brain
Hi, I'm Nir. I build, study, and write about products and ideas that move people. More about me here.