I’ve been reading up on the Hook Model which could be seen as an alternative to Lean Startup methodology, although not mutually exclusive. I first encountered the concept when I read Ryan Hoover’s answer on Quora to “How has Turntable.fm grown so rapidly with no marketing?”
The Hook Model can be summed up with the acronym ATARI, or:
A hook is Trigger, Action, Reward, Investment.
There’s a happy medium between a product that produces overly obsessive users (as Turntable did, which likely accounts for its failure) and a product you use once, enjoy, then never return (as most of the apps that I consider writing about at Mashable are, unfortunately).
My vision for Coverlist is to create an experience online that is simple, welcoming and warm, much like a neighborhood wine shop or local bookstore. But does the app have a hook, or social engagement loop?
Coverlist’s Trigger is external – it’s when a user finishes a book. Was it any good? How did you feel when you finished the book?
The Action is when the user adds the book to Coverlist with a micro-review explaining why others should read it. “Great read for the beach,” perhaps, or “might enjoy after a breakup.”
The Reward is when a user’s book review is voted up to the front page or included in the weekly newsletter. When two users add the same book to their profile, it’s not really the same book, because each user includes her own review. So users aren’t just voting on the book itself, or the cover art – it’s those things *and* the review from that specific user. Books, plus identity.
Finally, the Investment is when a user finds another book to read on Coverlist, perhaps through the recommendation of another user. This sets up the user to perhaps return to the Trigger again, and makes Coverlist better with every book reviewed.
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