In my last post many people asked how I interviewed people on Reddit to clarify what to build. Here's the story.
3 months ago I read "4 steps to Epiphany" and convinced myself to ask first, and to build second. Book suggests you to draft Product Hypothesis and Problem hypothesis. In my case I couldn't visualize the product, so at least wrote a Problem Hypothesis and my main principles:
These 5 points changed along the way and it's ok. Initially, I had no idea where the interviews will lead me. At the start I even thought I'll be doing some sort of a note-taking app or 150th productivity tracker. As I kept going It took me 12-15 calls to figure out what should be written in 3,4,5 in such precise words. I always kept the first point, and edited the rest when got little more clarity. Don't rewrite all this if first couple of interviews guide you elsewhere. If you get data on 5 different problems from 10 audiences, such sample is useless.
I didn't have any people in my network who I wanted to interview. I had few ideas where I could find people fitting my vague user persona: Indie Hackers, Ycombinator School, Slack channels, Reddit.
On Indie Hackers you can't text people directly, and the call conversions are too low. You put effort in making stories, talk to 1-2 people in comments, at best you have 1 call after so much work. It could be worth the hassle if I were selling expensive software, but not when I wanted first 10 interviews asap.
Ycombinator School certainly has cool target audience, but again it's too much work for getting calls. You write interesting posts, if lucky you see 3 people comment, achieve 1 call with an accountant who's there to sell his service lol.
Slack channels are a mainstream way for getting leads. People come there to sell and out of 15 messages in startup channels I had no responses. Yes I could go on but didn't feel like it. I may return to this channel later. Maybe with a $10/h guy spamming for me.
Reddit had the best input/output proportion for me. If you already have an account - that's great, cause you can text to 50+ people daily. If not, register one today as the older it gets, the more people you can reach out to.
If you have a new account, I'd do the following:
If your account is 3+ months old, it means you can reach out to 60-100 people daily. The main reasons why I picked Reddit over alternatives are:
You have to figure out what your product does and which subreddits to use. Try at least 3-4 different ones. Mine product was related to r/productivity, r/getdisciplined, r/getmotivated, r/startups and r/sideproject. It's better to look for active non-mainstream subreddits. Forget niche ones with 1 post in a week. My recent calls come from r/startups, but I advise you to avoid it at the start because people there are too diverse. No, you will not meet startup founders as often as you expect. Expect to find many students, developers and few enthusiastic serial entrepreneurs.
Brilliant thing about Reddit is that you can reach out to 50+ people every morning while listening to cool Hip-Hop beats and pack the week with calls.
That's the message based on Mom Test book which gave me best call rates:
Hey! I've found your profile in r/startups comments and decided to reach out. I want to create a product that will help entrepreneurs get to long-term goals and want to make sure I'm building something useful. Earlier I was adding features relying on my own perspective, but got lost. As you hang out in this subreddit, your ideas could really help me cut through the fog. I'll ask few questions to see what works / doesn't work for you. How about we have a zoom chat so I learn your way of going through challenges?
I started packing this post with info on how I conducted interviews, but I'll keep it for the next one. If you passed the discovery stage - share how you found people to interview in the comments. For the rest of us I'll attach a link to one of the best Hip Hop albums of all time, so this creepy reach out process is more joyful :)