The Hooked Model and Tradition: Unlikely Allies in Building Better Products and Societies


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 03, 2023

4 min read


The Hooked Model and Tradition: Unlikely Allies in Building Better Products and Societies

In today's fast-paced world, businesses are constantly striving to create products that capture the attention and loyalty of their customers. The Hooked Model, developed by Alin Mateescu, is a powerful framework that helps companies build habit-forming products. By understanding the four components of the model - triggers, action, variable reward, and investment - businesses can create products that prompt users to return and use them repeatedly, without the need for costly advertising or aggressive messaging.

However, it is important to recognize that a behavior only occurs when there is motivation, ability, and a trigger. Without any one of these elements, the desired action will not take place. This is where tradition comes into play. As humans, we are not as intelligent as we often believe ourselves to be. Our success is not solely based on our ability to problem solve and analyze, but rather on our ability to operate within the cultural and environmental contexts we have learned from.

Tradition, which is often passed down from generation to generation, is a powerful force that shapes our behaviors and actions. It contains the wisdom and knowledge accumulated over centuries, guiding us towards successful outcomes. If we were to remove ourselves from the culture and environment we have learned to operate in, we would quickly fail. This is evident in the case of explorers who, despite their problem-solving abilities, struggled when removed from their familiar cultural contexts.

Cultural evolution, as demonstrated by the complex repertoires of behaviors found in various societies, is often much smarter than we are as individuals. These behaviors are not the result of rational thinking or cost-benefit analyses but rather the product of centuries of trial and error. They have been shaped by the forces of natural selection, with those behaviors that are most adaptive being passed down through the generations. It is the adherence to these traditions that guarantees our survival, even if we do not fully understand why we follow them.

One interesting aspect of tradition is that it is subject to Darwinian selection. Traditions that are adaptive and beneficial to a group or society are more likely to persist over time. The individuals who follow these traditions may not fully understand how or why they work, but their adherence to them contributes to the overall success of the group. In some cases, knowing the details of how a tradition works may actually reduce its efficacy, particularly in rituals that build social solidarity.

The challenge we face in the modern world is the loss of tradition and the rise of rationalism. With each passing generation, customs and traditions are being eroded, leaving us with a sense of purposelessness and a quest for happiness. The rationalist impulse, fueled by the belief that behaviors must be accompanied by explicable and declarable reasons, has taken hold of our minds. We are trained to think that everything we do must be backed by logical reasoning, leading us to dismiss or disregard the power of tradition.

But as the world changes, we must realize that tradition and custom still hold immense value. They contain knowledge that is rarely articulated but is essential for the success of societies. Legibility, as described by Scott, is the central problem of ruler-ship. To govern effectively, the state needs to understand the population it governs, and this understanding often comes from the tacit knowledge embedded in traditions and customs. When we prioritize legibility and uniformity, we lose the messy, purposeful knowledge that has guided us for centuries.

So, how can we harness the power of tradition and the Hooked Model to build better products and societies? Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace the wisdom of tradition: Take the time to understand the customs and traditions that have shaped your industry or field. Look for patterns and behaviors that have stood the test of time and incorporate them into your product design or business strategy. By tapping into this accumulated knowledge, you can create products that resonate with users on a deeper level.
  • 2. Design for triggers and motivation: When applying the Hooked Model to product design, focus on creating triggers that resonate with your users' internal desires. Understand what your users truly want and design your product to fulfill those desires. This will create a sense of motivation that will prompt users to take action and engage with your product repeatedly.
  • 3. Cultivate a culture of experimentation: While tradition provides a strong foundation, it is also important to embrace a culture of experimentation. Encourage your team to question existing practices and explore new possibilities. By combining the wisdom of tradition with the curiosity of exploration, you can create innovative products that push the boundaries of what is possible.

In conclusion, the Hooked Model and tradition may seem like unlikely allies, but together they offer a powerful framework for building better products and societies. By understanding the triggers, actions, rewards, and investments that drive user behavior, and by embracing the wisdom of tradition, we can create products that capture the attention and loyalty of users. As we navigate the rapidly changing world, let us not forget the power of tradition and the value it holds in guiding our actions and shaping our societies.

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