A hook that matters is something that will take a user on the shortest path to the perceived point of value exchange in a repeated fashion (P.O.V.E.R.)

If you are a smoker, you reach the perceived point of value exchange at every puff. To reach there is simple — light up a cigarette.

If you are addicted to drinking, you reach the perceived point of value exchange at every sip. To reach there is simple — pour a glass of your favorite drink and you are ready.

If you are into any kind of gambling, you reach the perceived point of value exchange with every bet.

If you are into movies or TV shows, you reach the perceived point of value exchange, the moment you hit “Play” on one of your favorite movies or a show on Netflix, Prime or YouTube.

If you are into reading, Amazon has one-click to get your favorite book on Kindle and you reach the perceived point of value exchange once you start reading the book that you just purchased a minute ago.

Take an email program — every refresh leads to perceived P.O.V.E.R.

Take a social media platform like Facebook — every scroll leads to perceived P.O.V.E.R.

To be clear, my viewpoint is focusing on one aspect — “time to value” there are others who have gone deep into the art and science of related topics.

Here are two of them:

Nir Eyal has a framework that explains this end-to-end. The framework has four parts:

Trigger | Could be an internal or an external trigger. In the case of Facebook it could be boredom (internal trigger)

Action | Simple scroll

Variable Reward | You never know what’s in the feed, but that keeps your interest and intrigue high

Investment | You liking or commenting on someone’s status update.

Once you make an investment, Facebook alerts you whenever someone else makes an investment on the same status update. That provides you an external trigger and the cycle starts all over again.

James Clear has a slightly different take on the above topic. In his Habit Loop model, there are four stages:

Cue | Triggers your brain to initiate a behavior. For example, a jar of cookies right on the kitchen counter might do the trick.

Craving | This is the motivational force behind the habit. This part explains why two people who see a jar of cookies might respond very differently. If one of them has a sweet tooth, he will go towards the jar. If the other one is health conscious, he will simply ignore the cookie jar cue.

Response | The response is the actual habit you perform. In the above example, you might simply dive into the cookie jar to take a cookie or two and start eating it.

and

Reward | The reward is the end goal of the habit in question. The reward might a) satisfy you or b) teach you. In the above case, the reward satisfies the craving.

There are other experts such as Charles Duhigg and BJ Fogg who have excellent material on this and related topics.

Now, coming back to the hook that matters:

It is something that will take a user on the shortest path to the perceived point of value exchange in a repeated fashion (P.O.V.E.R.)

Let us dig deeper on the various elements:

Shortest Path | The greatest scarcity today is attention. If you take very long to create value, the person jumps or clicks away. In this regard, the 1-click buy from Amazon was a brilliant move — combine that with Kindle, the buying process and the delivery process for a book can’t get any faster than this.

Perceived | This is important as everyone attributes different level of importance and value to the same object, experience or reward.

Point of Value Exchange | It is that point in the cycle where the user clearly feels value has been delivered without question.

Repeated Fashion | You rarely want the user to engage with your offering once — you want them to come back again and again. Hence the value exchange has to happen again and again in a predictable fashion.

In our latest startup, Audvisor, we have done our best to capitalize on the above concept. In short, Audvisor can be described as “Pandora for Personal and Professional Growth”. It works like Pandora, but instead of listening to songs, you listen to audio insights (each insight is less than 3 minutes) from over 125 world-class experts.

The point of value exchange happens when a user listens to the insight on the app. To get there (shortest path), a user has to download the app, pick an expert or a topic and hit play. The value exchange repeats every two or three minutes as you are automatically on a topic or expert playlist when you hit play.

Check out the app ( 30 minutes free every month, unlimited use is $60 per year) and start learning anywhere and anytime.