The Power of Good Intentions and Effective Mechanisms in User Engagement


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 09, 2023

4 min read


The Power of Good Intentions and Effective Mechanisms in User Engagement


Good intentions are often seen as the starting point for making things happen. However, as Nick Foy points out, good intentions alone are not enough. Instead, what truly drives success is the implementation of effective mechanisms. In this article, we will explore the concept of mechanisms and how they can be applied in the context of user engagement. Additionally, we will delve into the Power User Curve, a tool that provides valuable insights into user behavior and can guide decision-making to improve product engagement.

Understanding Mechanisms:

According to Foy, a mechanism consists of four essential elements: process, tool, adoption, and audit. These components work together to create a system that ensures the execution of intentions. While good intentions may give us a false sense of accomplishment, mechanisms provide the structure needed to turn intentions into tangible results. By focusing on developing and refining these mechanisms, teams can increase their chances of success.

The Power User Curve:

The Power User Curve, also known as the activity histogram or L30, is a tool that allows companies to gain insights into user engagement. It provides a visual representation of the distribution of user activity over a given period, ranging from minimal engagement to maximum engagement. This curve offers several advantages over traditional metrics such as daily active users (DAU) and monthly active users (MAU).

Identifying Engaged Users:

The Power User Curve reveals the presence of a hardcore, engaged segment that consistently returns to the product. This segment represents the power users who are most likely to drive growth and provide valuable feedback. By understanding the distribution of user engagement, companies can identify these power users and tailor their strategies to further engage and retain them.

Assessing Product Launches and Feature Changes:

Mapping the Power User Curve to cohorts allows companies to evaluate the impact of product launches and feature changes on user engagement. By analyzing the curve over time, companies can determine if their engagement is improving or declining. This insight helps in assessing the effectiveness of specific initiatives and making data-driven decisions for future improvements.

Monetization and User Engagement:

The Power User Curve can also guide monetization strategies. In cases where there is low engagement, companies need to find alternative ways to extract value from users when they are engaged. This could involve creating revenue streams that are not dependent on daily usage or identifying specific user segments that engage more frequently. By understanding how users interact with the product, companies can optimize their monetization efforts accordingly.

Different Timeframes and User Actions:

While the Power User Curve is commonly analyzed over a monthly period, it can also be applied to shorter timeframes. For products that follow a weekly cycle, such as productivity tools, analyzing engagement over a 7-day period can be more insightful. This approach allows companies to identify patterns and make improvements based on the nature of their product and user behavior.

Improving Engagement Over Time:

By plotting the Power User Curve for different cohorts, companies can track whether their user base is evolving towards higher-frequency engagement. This analysis provides a clear picture of user growth and helps identify areas where improvements can be made. For network effects products, newer cohorts should gradually improve as network density and liquidity increase, indicating successful engagement strategies.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Develop Effective Mechanisms: Instead of relying solely on good intentions, focus on building robust mechanisms that drive execution. Define clear processes, utilize appropriate tools, ensure widespread adoption, and regularly audit the effectiveness of these mechanisms.
  • 2. Use the Power User Curve for Insights: Incorporate the Power User Curve into your analytics toolkit to gain valuable insights into user engagement. Leverage this tool to identify power users, assess the impact of product changes, and optimize monetization efforts.
  • 3. Tailor Strategies to User Behavior: Analyze the Power User Curve to understand how different user segments engage with your product. Design strategies that address specific user needs and preferences to improve overall engagement.


While good intentions may set the stage for success, it is the implementation of effective mechanisms that truly drives results. The Power User Curve offers a powerful tool for understanding user engagement and making informed decisions. By combining the concept of mechanisms with insights from the Power User Curve, companies can enhance their user engagement strategies and ultimately achieve their goals.

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