Start At The End: How To Build Products that Create Change by Matt Wallaert

Matt Wallaert is a behavioral psychologist by training. He also led product design & behavioral science for startups & even industry leaders such as Microsoft.

He still advises companies of all scales thanks to (Behavioral Science in organizations), a company helping businesses grow through applied behavioral science capabilities. He also leads talks about the subject when requested.

Do you want your products to start a new flame of action in your users’ minds? Do you have trouble doing so?

We hope you have 2 minutes ahead of you to read our latest #ContentReview where we’ll define the main elements outlined in Start At The End.

Behavior Interventions

Your product’s goal is to change, suppress or form one’s behavior(s).

Following the book, many ideas leading to a finished product do not focus enough on the behavioral outcomes it can generate. More often than not, the marketing campaign or even the product itself is prioritized more. Simply because they’re more tangible, visual & attractive, companies focus on showing the product’s benefits rather than actually building said branded features.

Therefore, Starting At The End (as the book suggests) means seeing the problem the other way around, starting with the End in mind.

To do so, the book advises a framework called the Intervention Design Process (or IDP).

Simply put, it’s a 6-step idea validation process to see whether or not a potential opportunity for behavior change is viable.

  • Validate Insight: Identify a potential behavior change opportunity.
  • State the Behavior: Define the scope of the intervention (target, motivations, pressures/limits).
  • Map Pressures: Identity what promotes/inhibits your users from embracing wanted behavior.
  • Design the Intervention: What action do you want the intervention to be? 
  • Ethical check: See if your intervention aligns with ethical
  • Pilot/Test/scale: Prove your concept by testing with a sample of people. Scale is warranted.

Thanks to such a method, you’ll make actionable interventions that will redefine how users would behave with what the product offers them.

The IDP, courtesy of

Rather than being an innovative solution to your users, make your products attractive by their use, & eventually create or change your customers’ habits.

Here are examples given by the book you can use for your product to leverage a more attractive behavior:

  • Greatly raising your potential users & customers’ awareness
  • Offering discount on certain features
  • Increasing convenience & reducing uncertainty

How to make products that create change

Always pilot, test, & validate everything.

A true staple of the design thinking process.

When we talk about designing for behavior change, we are actually talking about changing the pressures that determine the behavior, rather than directly changing the behavior itself. As said before, it is easy to tunnel vision your thinking & actions on the marketing campaign or the product in itself. It is even more true as a product manager.

Therefore, don’t hesitate to think, map & test every idea you have to uncover new ways to hook your users into a new habit 

“Everyone's job is behaviour, everything can be linked to behaviour.” Matt Wallaert

Start at the End should be a bedside reading for every entrepreneur or product manager looking to shape a product that reshapes its users behaviour. A habit-changing product will always be a win.

If you want to dive deeper into the subject, read our #ContentReview of Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal on our blog here.

Start At The End is also available on Amazon

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