1) Decide how to prioritize your time
2) Recall information when you need it
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Three core elements of a startup are team, product, and market. For each there is a wide divergence of caliber & quality, and therefore of success.
The art of being right when everyone else is wrong.
To be independent-minded, one must satisfy the following three characteristics:
These features need not be possessed in equal measure. For instance, not having a contrary nature can be countered by an overabundance of curiosity and fact-checking.
Conventionally minded people may be unwilling to admit or even unaware that they are conventionally-minded.
Independent mindedness may be fostered by developing relationships with independently minded individuals, attempting to empathize with diverse individuals, being generally skeptical or untrusting of conventional wisdoms, and avoiding any fads.
Taking inspiration from Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, we can learn that progress, opportunity, and even genius are accomplished through a period of learning followed by immediate and deliberate action.
This sense of urgency, taking action, seems to be a value that is not popular today.
However, anything you want to accomplish, can be completed by this formula of learning and action.
And furthermore, this pairing is a vital habit of visionary executives.
When rational decision-making mechanisms fail, personal values are what we turn to in order to make that decision.
Freedom occurs by living according to your rules, which in turn are determined by what you value.
However, there is a difference between constructive and destructive values.
Constructive values do intentional good and should be something you can control - like honesty.
Creating these personal, constructive values allows you to live by your own rules.
Most people cheat a small amount. This occurs even when risk is high.
Individuals are more likely to cheat if they are tired or they feel like they are being treated unfairly. In addition, working in an environment where cheating is common makes people more likely to cheat.
People are able to convince themselves that they cheat less than they do and that they cheat less than others regardless.
Some cheating is avoidable– reminders to avoid cheating before any temptation to cheat occurs is the most effective way to curb the behavior.
An anti-library is a collection of unread books. Books you have read are actually “far less valuable than unread ones,” as they represent things already known. An anti-library allows you to create a research library for topics you want to explore. In fact, being faced with all that you do not know can be humbling.
The practice of journaling has an ancient tradition and many benefits, making paper “the world’s best listener.”
The scientific benefits of journaling include boosting performance and clarity of thought, improving communication skills, healing mental trauma and promoting better sleep.
We often waste much of it on things that are worthless and unproductive. A good way to determine if something matters is to ask if you’ll actually care about it in the future. Stuff that doesn’t matter often only feels important briefly, but this momentary urge is hard to resist.
In modern society we are often less aware of death and the finite nature of life. The best way to remedy this is to be aware that things are fleeting. Another strategy is to be impatient about what you want to do, don’t wait. Finally, savor what time you do have, because it’s more valuable than it often seems.
Twenty years ago, writers were the only ones to write an argument and readers did not have a place to respond to writers’ arguments.
Today, the web gives readers the power of responding in platforms such as comment threads and blog posts.
The change in the way people communicate nowadays causes more disagreement among people than there was ever before in the past.
If there's going to be more disagreements, we should learn what it means to disagree well.
This a way of classifying forms of disagreement.
This list doesn’t give the best way to disagree with someone, but it shows that DH6 type response would be more convincing compared to a DH2 type response in an argument. And while disagreement in conversations is proven to make people sadder, moving up the disagreement hierarchy makes people less mean and happier.
“There are eight million naked cities in this naked city — they dispute and disagree. The New York City you live in is not my New York City; how could it be?”
Today, we’re living in a global pandemic that will completely change our worlds. The world never waits on us so we may not get to say goodbye to our old selves. Thus, appreciate what you have now and be ready for a new identity.
Adults constantly lie to kids. Why do people do it and what are the consequences?
Parents lie about sex and drugs to children because they cloud people’s judgement, despite being pleasurable.
Parents often lie about death to ensure children feel that they are living in a safe, comfortable environment.
Telling children that they belong to a certain ethnic/religious community has long-term implications because people find such beliefs hard to change.
Parents lie to maintain power over children and often conceal their own flaws, which help protect children’s innocence.
Parents lie to children in order to prevent them from reacting violently to the truth.
When children become adults, they begin the understand the lies they were told, but the cycle continues, and they continue spreading lies to children.
Society has placed many lies into children’s minds for various reasons. However, it is important for individuals to consciously clear the clutter in their heads and seek the truth.
Sharing your ideas publicly through methods such as online writing is a great way to see other points of view that either refute your key points, convey the concepts you were trying to get across far more effectively than you ever could, or reframe the argument in an entirely novel way.
Before I had kids, I was afraid of having kids. If I had kids, I'd become a parent, and parents were uncool, dull and responsible, and had no fun. Something I dreaded turned out to be wonderful.
Most of the freedom I had before kids, I never used. I paid for it in loneliness, but I never used it. I had plenty of happy times before I had kids. But if I count up happy moments, not just potential happiness but actual happy moments, there are more after kids than before.
Every business can be distilled into a simple equation.
Benchmark remains at the top of the venture capital industry due to 3 core pillars:
Three components is a simplification, but useful in capturing underlying structure. This is Benchmark's business equation: a simplified set of factors used to guide decision-making.
A good business has 3 straightforward criteria:
Let's look closer at each.
The highest level business equation is rarely novel. It is often obvious. The critical part is how effective a company is at empowering executives & teams with necessary tools. There is a scarcity & need for executives who see the broader equation & relationships between variables to create differential impact.
In Ro's deep dive on DTC metrics, there are 2 specific examples of goals:
There are 3 justifications for focusing heavily on inputs:
User engagement is the most important metric within the broader equation for Paypal and Roku. It is hard to "hack" like other metrics.
Having an accumulating average means a business gets easier over time & indicates development of a "defensible moat".
For example: Peloton generates accumulating advantage through community. The key variable is "average monthly workouts per connected fitness subscriber".
Simple equations are not necessarily easy. Since they are hard to construct properly, business equations have become their own competitive advantage.
Internet tailwinds have seemingly grown exponentially for the past few decades, but a closer look shows that these tailwinds will most likely plateau in the 2020s.
A big reason for this plateau is that people can’t spend more than 100% of their time or money on the internet, and as we approach full online penetration, companies will need to focus on stealing revenue and users from Internet incumbents to grow.
Technological developments often have the best results occurring when a technology is ready to be replaced. In 2016, Apple’s iPhone illustrated this phenomenon with a slowdown of iPhone upgrade rates. Despite surpassing PCs and tablets, maybe smartphones too were coming to an end.
As new technologies emerge, a service-based economy will take over. While the change may be slow at first, that rate will accelerate over time and our world may be completely different from what it is today.
Neobanks have gained huge traction from smartphone built experiences and free banking.
Neobanks have provided innovative features, such as savings, free FX payments, marketplaces with partner offers, and cryptocurrency trading, but are still not profitable.
COVID-19 has hurt neobanks’ ability to serve businesses and provide credit, because:
Neobank customers were unable to receive support during the government stimulus programs like the Bounce Back Loan scheme as neobanks lacked liquidity.
While neobanks have a lot to offer in terms of superior customer experience, the economic crisis due to COVID-19 has greatly threatened the survivability of many of these new startups.
1) Identify the right market
2) Build the product exceptionally
3) Sell voraciously
4) Rebundle and become the industry "Operating System"
5) Become the industry standard
We will see the theme of SaaS verticals, particularly with a customer facing component, play out for many industries.
Vertical SaaS began with IBM unbundling services. While enterprise customers are highly sticky and loyal, the ability to upgrade software + cloud technology increasing accessibility of compute (e.g. Amazon Web Services), gave rise to SaaS companies.
Vertical SaaS competes with regular SaaS via industry-specific knowledge not covered by horizontal players who tend to be companies in the late 2010s.
Earn outsize profits by gaining a horizontal monopoly in one out of three parts or create a competitive advantage in delivering vertical solution by integrating two parts. Owning the supplier relationship gives leverage in gaining consumers/users.
Under the Aggregation Theory, consumer technology companies improve their services as they again consumers/users, creating more value in markets.
Discussions around SaaS margins or platform take rates should make us feel outraged. It is unrealistic to expect consumers to lead this fight as most aren’t close to these issues.
Regulators need to lead the way here. Until these issues are legislated and addressed, a call to build will only lead to more concentration of wealth and power.
While the subscription business model is nothing new, the internet has enabled the bundling of services into broad subscriptions, as well as the unbundling of services into niche subscriptions, possible for a wide variety of businesses to offer.
Adding features to a product adds more power to the product, yet at the same time adds complexity that makes it hard for new users to even get started.
Create a product that competes because it’s taking a fundamentally different position in the market.
Magical growth loops: positive feedback loops where most of your new users come directly from existing users. The result? Your users grow your business for you.
There are 4 types:
Need curiosity and listening to ensure problems you think should be solved are actually pain points. Jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) framework helps find these pain points.
Do the work to make sure you are building a product that people will actually find valuable.
People complete certain ‘jobs’ and ‘hire’ specific products or services to accomplish them
Revisit JTBD statement to ensure it is still solving the customer’s problem over time
Together, these measures can tell us a lot about the potential success of a startup. For instance, a high growth startup may, on the surface, look really promising. However, if it has negative unit economics (it loses money for each good sold), the startup is merely using its investors’ money rather than making a profit. The same occurs when CAC exceeds LTV: the startup loses money for every customer. In the short term, negative unit economics or a high CAC may not spell trouble, but longterm success of a startup will likely be driven by good unit economics.
Simple products have better designs and are easier to market. The impact of simple products on consumers is more desirable and well-optimized.
Simple and highly optimized products are more marketable because they have the tools to communicate their impact to users, soft onboarding flows, easy to understand call to action methods, and drive a lot of values.
A Product Manager (PM) is a person who does not necessarily build a product, rather gives decisions in order to make her/his team work efficiently.
1) The vision and the impact the team tries to achieve
2) The strategy the team would use to succeed in its vision
3) Task prioritization so that the team would know what to and what not to build
4) The smallest product that can be produced to accomplish the desired impact (MVP)
According to Jeff Bezos, there are 2 types of decisions:
Type 1: Hard to undo, e.g., changing the company logo
Type 2: Easy to undo, e.g., changing “Sign Up” link to a button
2 things that Product Managers (PM) should learn about:
E.g. Lyft Driver API takes in a start and finish addresses and outputs the best driver.
Backend APIs process information according to method functionality.
Frontend APIs process information from backend APIs and then present in a visually aesthetic way.
If you don’t manage to scale proactively, you can end up in trouble.
Scaling is like building one of those huge, complex towers out of Legos.
The result: People get nervous. A week ago, someone might have told you they hate their Legos and want to get rid of them. But as soon as you hire someone else, they suddenly want to hang on to all of them.
To get employees through the job-change anxiety:
30 to 50 Employees
50 to 200 Employees
200 to 750 Employees
Over 750 Employees
The most common way to create a good startup is to start with a product idea, and then learn the exact market, buyer, and business model.
This process is often ignored but allows for growth as the startup develops.
Startup founders have limitless ambition, but need to get realistic about their need to focus.
The idea of starting a company is romanticized for the benefits it brings, including control of your own destiny, creating something new, having an impact on the world, building your ideal culture, and lots of money. Although these benefits can become reality, there are even more potential drawbacks to doing a startup.
In any market, the fastest company has the best chance to win. This defining factor of market leaders can become habitual, built into the culture of a company. In business, the faster a company can make decisions and execute on them, the faster the company is. Often, decisions are debated over and drawn out, but most decisions aren’t worth more than 10 minutes of discussion. When a company operates with urgency as a habit, quality and speed can coexist.
A common source of stress for founders of companies is competition.
Stress and anxiety from competition is mostly an illusion. These can be overcome by understanding that you’re not unique and retention is everything. No individual product created can be unique and your business grows as the market does, in turn benefiting you and your competitors.
Sweetgreen uses intimacy at scale to expand while maintaining relationships with customers, partners & employees.
There are 4 core principles:
Sweetgreen goes straight to farmers instead of centralized distributers. Their complex supply chain reinvented fast-food business.
There are 2 tactics for transparent local sourcing:
Around half of orders are from their app. Their digital process focuses on:
“Leave people better than they found them” is Sweetgreen’s mantra. Leaders focus on retaining employees in a supportive environment & building a team that thrives with change.
There are 4 tactics for nurturing a community culture that scales:
Meaningful connections & relationships with internal and external customers are key to intimacy at scale.
In entrepreneurship, the initial idea rarely dictates the success of the startup or what the execution will be. Success is about the thousands of ideas and decisions that are made along the way and the speed at which those insights are implemented according to customer needs and feedback.
The following managerial practices should be implemented to promote happier employees, improved products, and more efficient use of capital.
Slack has seen tremendous success by creating a genuinely useful product. How?
Product End: They did a better and better job of giving people what they wanted.
Market End: They communicated the above more and more effectively, so people knew they wanted it.
Does it make sense? Can you predict what's going to happen when you click that button? Is it fast enough?
At the initial stage of a startup, the core idea makes a huge difference. Small changes in your initial idea/direction will make a big difference to where you end up.
Five Frameworks to Refine Startup Ideas:
Attracting investment is a milestone for any startup – it’s a vote of confidence from a respected outside expert in your space and a signal that your company is positioned for the future.
How to get it right:
Mention investors, give a background on the company and quote from the founder or CEO
A founder and VC will often spend less than a full day together before they decide on their partnership. In cases like this, every small interaction takes on huge importance.
16 Non-Obvious Fundraising Lessons On Pitching:
Over the past few years less entrepreneurs are pitching with a slide deck.
However, investors are evaluating how founders convey a story and a deck illustrates that skill.
Founders can have success without a deck, but this isn’t always optimal.
6 reasons why good presentation decks are impactful:
A slide deck transports the listener to the conclusion to invest
It makes sense to go without a presentation in a get-to-know you situation with an investor
Great storytellers have a competitive advantage
In order to raise money, founders need to demonstrate certain qualities in order to convince investors.
Three things founders need: (1) be formidable; (2) have a promising market; and (3) have some evidence of success so far.
Investors seek founders that are genuinely confident and appear prepared, when facing adversity.
Formidable founders are sincere, do not attempt to mislead investors, are domain experts, and have a provisional roadmap on how to succeed.
Startups are considered a good bet if they are targeting a large market and demonstrate the necessary expertise and traction to capture the market.
Investors seek to know about the other investors involved in a company.
When asked about other investors, founders should not lie but be genuine and ultimately state how they have changed since past rejection and that they are in talks with others.
Founders need to convince investors that their startups are not speculative.
To impress investors, founders need to
Raising money is the second hardest part of building startup after finding product market fit.
Investors are not sympathetics.
Investors are skittish because they make large decisions with limited domain expertise.
Some “bootstrapped” companies started out as consulting companies and used earnings to turn into product companies.
Consulting route can take years for efforts to fruition.
Ultimately, startup founders need to be aware of dangers during fundraising, and venture capital investors need to also be aware of how their indecisiveness could destroy a company.
DocSend has established itself as a serious contender in the corporate application market, boasting more than $18B raised using their platform to share financial documentation.
These are some important details they had in their seed round deck that helped them raise $1.7M in 2013.
A pitch deck should demonstrate a clearly defined strategic plan, a growing target market, and reasonable unit economics.
Drift's CEO has transformed the company into a movement using a compelling strategic story with 5 parts:
However, this widely accepted theory seems to ignore any sense of human rationality.
After all, does seeing a commercial of a person enjoying a Coca-cola really mean that when they encounter a coke in a store they’ll be suffused with happiness and buy it?
This seems unlikely. Instead, advertisements work by a different mechanism:
Ads make consumers aware of products they might otherwise not have known about
Advertisements employ persuasive writing techniques common in any high school English class (e.g. expert references) that are meant to make consumers trust the product
Companies offer promises about their reputation or about the quality of the goods they sell to gain consumers’ trust
When companies spend a lot of money advertising a product it offers a signal to customers that the product is worth buying. After all, a company would not waste money on a product that will not sell.
When creating an advertisement, a company offers an idea about the type of people who would use such a product (e.g. athletes drink Gatorade). When this ad is spread widely enough, it creates a cultural meaning for the product. Then, the people who use the product are either in the target group or want to be in the target group. In other words, if Gatorade has the reputation of being a drink for athletes, athletes will buy the product, AND people who want their peers to think of them as athletes will buy the product. This cultural meaning is what makes advertisements so effective.
So, instead of emotional inception, cultural imprinting is a more reasonable and rational mechanism for the way advertisements work. But this also means that human rationality are what make advertisements effective rather than human irrationality.
Traditional approaches to marketing are becoming outdated as companies cut budgets and consumers shift preferences.
Brands who do the following win the war of social media:
The name of your company will guide the public perception of your company. To ensure that your company name is a positive force, here are five guidelines to use when considering your company name.
Pricing is an issue that is often ignored and under-analyzed for companies. The best companies review their monetization every quarter going beyond the actual price and focusing on value created by the company’s product.
Monetization strategy is shaped by the segment and vertical that is being targeted, the product itself, customer perception and the price of the product.
The following are two of the most important elements of determining a monetization strategy.
Monetization never stops. It is the continual matching of value to target customer segments. Other issues like the actual price point, packaging and finally smaller optimizations like add-on strategies and contract term decisions can be focused on.
Something is better than nothing and fitting your monetization strategy to your customers through research will allow for more informed decisions when pricing and targeting market segments. Knowing your customer quantitatively is essential to any SaaS pricing strategy.
Every founder wants their startup’s press launch to be like a popular party that everyone is talking about.
Here is a four step plan for startup PR:
Your startup team should always be looking for long term growth opportunities in several potential areas:
It's possible to build an audience for your product long before you launch it.
Invest in building out a blog that is valuable independent of your product, yet also designed to attract your product's target audience.
The best founders talk eloquently about their mission and the change they want to make in the world. They articulate a vision of the future that attracts adherents. This is also known as earned marketing. It's about brand, messaging, press, influencers, content — all the things that define who you are.
When large companies join the category and attempt to copy your product, it means you have succeeded in becoming the category leader.
A CEO is responsible for setting the direction of the company and fostering the motivation of all of its employees. When a founder becomes a CEO, they are responsible for inspiring the entire team with their vision.
Being a great CEO can be accomplished through embracing the following goals:
Having a long-term vision (rather than an eye on immediate sale) is the only thing that will allow the long term growth of the company into something great.
CEOs who are willing to admit their mistakes will gain the respect of their employees and create an environment of honest, open dialogue.
The CEO is the person responsible for creating and advancing the culture of the business.
CEOs should commit to a team analysis of the company’s culture and buy-in to those values.
CEOs do not start out knowing how to be a great CEO. Finding mentors and reflecting on your team and goals is the only way to become a great CEO.
Maintaining the culture of your company results directly from the people you hire and fire.
Recruiting individuals who will embrace the culture is a priority.
Create goals and have each level of the team build upon these goals.
As a start-up CEO, advice from investors, other CEOs, or other well-meaning actors may seem completely obvious and unhelpful.
However, it is this sort of now-conventional wisdom that has made other businesses successful.
Thus, even if you think you have already taken stock of this advice and implemented it, it does not hurt to take another look at your business and question: am I doing enough to truly heed this advice?
They allow you to see opportunities & potential where others do not. However, it can destroy your startup if you are not self-aware. To prevent destruction, you must see beyond your own bullshit.
Founder-Dictators are leaders who retain too much control & fail to lead. Teams are key to long-term success. Founder-Dictators unintentionally disempower the team. A CEO’s job is not to build a product, but to build a company that scales.
Key lessons from building Trulia:
Success breeds complacency. There are 2 reasons why Founders don’t address their sense of invincibility:
Ask yourself these questions to check:
Here are strategies to avoid the B.S.:
Media loves a Founder/Genius story, but it can become the company’s narrative. You can easily become caught up in your bullshit & your team will start resenting you.
Founders and athletes share similar roles as they work toward complex goals, utilizing hard work and an opportunistic outlook. Founders can benefit from employing strategies that successful athletes use.
Generally speaking, this is because they:
First time founders have 21% chance of success
Second time founder is used broadly and can describe someone founding their third, fourth, or other number startup.
Be an email ninja
Manage your energy
Get great at external meetings
Get great at internal meetings
Give your team leverage
Second Time Founders can encounter unique advantages and disadvantages.
Seven recommendations for picking the right advisors for long-term value:
Look for advisors with a balanced skillset and those who can compensate for a weakness that you may have instead of looking for advisors with specific abilities.
Always ask a candidate about how they engage as an advisor before you commit. You want to figure out if the person is forward thinking about your specific company and founder-centric.
When you find yourself hesitating to make a decision, that’s when you should engage your advisors.
Understand the real reason why a decision is holding you up, and then have your advisors reframe the questions you are asking.
Founders should look for advisors who reduce friction through making the right introductions, instead of advisors who do those two tasks separately.
On big decisions or moments, ask your advisors to be sparring partners. Here a good advisor will force out the solution from the founder by repeatedly walking them through the problem.
Founders should not just update their advisors once a month without asking for more.
Founders should create situations or decisions that the advisors can engage in.
Founders should not underestimate how much advisors want to actively guide the company as opposed to just being another set of ears.
Usually founders want tighter advisor relationships but don’t know how to form them. Be specific with your advisors about why you want to speak with them, and recognize in which respect your advisors are the most helpful.
Go deeper on these topics and be clear about timing, while also giving them feedback.
Be precise about what you are looking for and narrowly recruit advisors. Draft specialists but appreciate their versatility.
Build your personal CRM of advisors. You can also benchmark your advisor’s contributions, making sure to actively inform them of what they need to contribute.
Don’t be afraid to recognize that an advisor is not helping, and communicate with them about how they can change.
If they cannot change, think about replacing them, but keep the relationship, do not let them just fade away.
As the founder you need to be the leader of all of your advisory relationships.
Intracompany politics can undermine a work community and kill it in the long run.
Here are three ways for CEOs to prevent politics:
When a business hits rapid growth it’s easy to hope that employee motivation is taken care of by the company’s success alone. However, leaders should not rely on this.
Leaders should pay attention to elements of motivation so they do not flag motivation.
Helping people grow is the key to scaling an organization.
To do this, you must understand who your employees are. There are generally three types of people:
Leaders should make it their goal to look for people who think differently than them, so they can build a team with a wide range of diverse perspectives.
Apple’s leadership model is unique amongst large corporations. It has proven that a large corporation can successfully operate under a functional structure without needing conventional managers or many individual departments.
Ten recommendations for recruiting and retaining top employees:
To effectively run a distributed company, the following must be considered.
A perfect business is a computer plugged into the internet. Every human thereafter is overhead.
Companies overestimate the effectiveness of ineffective employees and underestimate the efficient ones.
Welcome culture-contributes that evolve the existing culture.
How do we find efficient, positive-positive, culture contributors?
Candidates showing high trajectory usually get excited about what they do rather than what they have done.
Hire doers by asking a candidate how to do something, and then ask them to do it.
Hire learners by identifying curious candidates. Curious candidates talk about what they don't know. Experts talk about what they already know.
Don’t be afraid to cause a ruckus. There’s never going to be a better time to make meaningful change and turn this team around.
The single most important thing a boss can do is focus on guidance: giving it, receiving it, and encouraging it.
A simple tool for ensuring that your team gets the right kind of guidance is called 'radical candor.'
It sounds so simple to say that bosses need to tell employees when they're screwing up. But it very rarely happens.
Radical candor results from a combination of caring personally and challenging directly. Radical candor is humble, it’s helpful, it’s immediate, it’s in person — in private if it’s criticism and in public if it’s praise
Product-market fit (PMF): The definitions of PMF are broken into pre-product and post-product:
Pre-product, look for:
Post-product, look for:
CAC < LTV
Customers are excited for your product: Customers are willing to pay for your product just as fast as you launch it.
People are using your product even if it is not working properly sometimes.
PMF isn’t a one-time, discrete point in time. The factors that determine PMF are subject to change because of the volatility of competitors and market segments.
Engagement and retention numbers reveal an early stage startup’s product-market fit (PMF), which is a critical determiner of sustainable growth. Once PMF is achieved, a startup can focus on fast growth instead of just survival.
Here are ten specific places for founders to look for PMF.
When a user cannot live without a product because of the value it provides them, then there is good PMF.
Growth problems are not to do with people knowing you or your company.
Products can be separated into two components:
In some cases, a product has a viral loop that is not compatible with its product experience.
After completing the viral loop, the product’s value diminishes, leading to low retention rates.
Two types of tests include the following:
There are some markets, like pharmaceutical drugs, where the engineering aspect is prioritized, leading to Minimum Feasible Product.
One way is to copy existing products that have already achieved P/M fit. However, cloning a product 100% carries weaknesses such as:
Therefore, startups should preserve 80% of the product’s characteristics and reinvent 20%, creating enough product differentiation to grow past the incumbent competitors. Reduce TTPMF to focus on marketing optimizations without sacrificing long-term strategic value.
A high-level single-sentence description of what your product or service is trying to accomplish.
Discuss alternatives to your solution.
Verify the target audience by asking whether they would be the end-user of the product, and if not, who would it be?
Ask them how they would go about finding solutions in your problem space.
Probe on willingness to pay and comps.
Validation depends on what stage you are on:
Bring discipline to the P/MF hunt
The Hook Model is a process for businesses to form habits around products. It seeks to connect users’ problems to a solution with enough frequency to make it habitual.
It has 4 phases:
A decision support tool for before the product is finalized. Facilitators have the highest chance of success for their product; dealers have the lowest.
Provides insight to the design of habit-forming products.
It has 3 steps:
If friction is unavoidable, try to mask it (e.g. hide a loading screen with a welcome message). You might also want to add friction intentionally at certain stages to produce later benefits.
A continuous process in improving a product.
Open channels to view and continuous feedback
Consolidate large volume of feedback in succinct, organized, efficient manner
Being an outcome-thinking team means that work is prioritized, and teams are structured around the outcomes that the company wants to achieve. A strong correlation was evident between those outcome-oriented teams and teams that drove significant impact.
To find that balance between outcome-thinking and engineering needs you simply need to think further out into the future:
Finding this balance can is never an easy call, but it’s normal.
The Double Diamond emphasizes “divergent” and “convergent thinking” – many ideas are created and refined down to the best idea.
Discovery and Ideation stages work together as Discovery consists of research and analysis of data while Ideation includes drawing up different solutions. They form the milestone, The Concept, which is the prototype of the idea, before it gets sent to the last stage, Delivery, which prepares the product for the market.
The substance in product management (PM) is the hard skills needed to learn and excel at building great products (i.e. customer discovery).
Style is the soft skills needed to get things done (i.e. influence without authority).
Most product managers tend to undermine the importance of style.
How can managers learn to improve?
Most of the soft skills associated with PM involve making a compelling argument to the stakeholders.
Present a particular perspective to steer the audience to the desired conclusion.
Leverage the shared opinion of others to convince key stakeholders.
Redefine your initiative in terms of a decision maker's own goals.
Make another believe the idea was their own.
Summarize first-party research succinctly. Surfacing too much data will dilute the argument.
Recast your argument as an engaging story.
In the first 15 seconds of every new experience, people are lazy, vain, and selfish. We are lazy in the sense that we don’t want to invest time and energy to unwrap and understand what something is. No patience to read directions. What pulls us past our laziness, vanity, and selfishness is “the hook.”
A product roadmap should be so clearly designed that teams put it at the center of product decisions, and companies put it at the center of their business decisions.
It should be visual, accessible and clear enough for anyone to scan through and understand what’s going on. It should communicate problems that need to be solved and opens up the conversation on how to solve them.
Ensure that you define initiatives for your roadmap to tackle the root of the problem with a single, elegant solution.
Build the case for each initiative to help strengthen what you’re putting on the roadmap. This will help your team have access to detailed information such as ideas, customer feedback and user stories.
Finally, assemble these initiatives into a product strategy by color coding and tagging to allow the viewer to sort through and filter down based on a particular interest.
A strong product leader can help a cross-functional team of great technologies and designers work efficiently. They make things happen.
The three responsibilities of a product manager are:
If startups want to build products that stand out from the competition, it is essential that they raise the bar from viable to lovable. Products are no longer the “first of their kinds” and stiffer competition means that MVPs aren’t going to cut anymore.
Playbook for building and delivering an MLP:
Listen to users carefully but not literally
Common mistakes teams tend to make when conducting interviews
It’s hard to build a product that satisfies several different user types
Focus on one user type, and make sure to ask open-ended questions to ensure you’re getting the right data
Be observant about how a user interacts with your product. When a user behaves against your expectations, they might just be leading you toward what they find most lovable
Implement a gradual, structured framework for testing by mining for insights from your beta before rushing into the GA release
Same 🤩 can’t wait— Parker Jay-Pachirat (@parkerjayp) February 19, 2021