Ideas and Validation October 22, 2020

Sharing tips about problem, validation and product strategy

Jose Bermejo @josberco

Hi everyone!

I'm sharing a summary of the live stream with Warren Schirtzinger (The Chasm Framework) on Problem-Solution fit + strategy as a key startup success factor in case you find something useful.

IMO there are lot's of useful learnings for IH! Enjoy!

Here is the link to the session : https://twitter.com/josberco/status/1316386052903366656?s=21

1. Problem assumptions should be confirmed by the audience and field experts

  • The problem has to be the same for a group of people that you can reach. There is no way to communicate with them? What if they have no money? Not only solve a problem but reach the audience, and know that this audience has a budget and is ready to pay for your solution.

The solution has to be delivered. Thus your audience should be reachable.

  • It is different to research when you are in a market with a category fit than in a market without category fit (you create a new market). If it's about something brand new nobody can speak with authority about your idea.

In a given market segment, you find people with authority. They are the best to talk about your idea.

  • If you want to talk with your audience about your idea, they are going to lie. Almost nobody is going to tell you, "wow, your child is ugly". The Mom Test is a great book to learn how to approach the research.

What is the point of saying nice things if they are not helping you? Please tell me how ugly my product is!! Be careful who you ask for feedback.

  • An industry expert is going to tell you a lot of things that you never thought about.

Industry influencers will have a natural interest in your idea because it helps them stay in an "influencer" position. Give them special previews that nobody has seen before.

  • Resources: The Mom Test, Value Proposition Design, Jobs-To-Be-Done.
  • Don't talk about your idea. Talk about the problems people have.
  • If you have domain expertise, you are far ahead because you solve the problem for yourself in an industry that you already know. VCs and BA are going to ask for somebody with domain expertise in the company before investing.

2. Does your solution solve the problem?

  • Don't confuse research with the problem with the research solution you're building.

People don't want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want to buy a quarter-inch hole.

  • We need to know the reason. Why do they want to drill a hole? We need to understand the customer motivation to build solutions that fit in the problem.
    We need to understand each adopter group's motivations (see the customer adoption lifecycle framework. Crossing The Chasm).
  • Add-ons built around your core product drive interest and adoption if they relate to your audience's motivations.
  • You have evidence when the responses of your audience in your research are similar and consistent. People from different perspectives start to say the same. There is not a fixed number of people you have to interview. You know that it's enough when problems/pains/outcomes are repeated in your interviews.
  • If you build a landing page to perform a smoke test of your idea and it's not working, are you sure you are putting it in front of the people well-founded to buy it? Anyone can come across your landing page. Are they the people you really want to reach, and do they have the money to make the purchase? You don't want to test the wrong audience.
  • If you have low conversion rates on your landing page, is it because your value proposition is not compelling enough, or is it because the visitors you are driving are not your target audience?
  • People can be very interested in your product and topic but never be a buyer.
  • usertesting.com userinterviews.com can help to test your prototype.

3. Is the solution a game-changer?

  • Game changer meaning that your solution can compete in the mainstream market (Cross The Chasm).

A solution built to be adopted by the majority of the market is not necessarily the latest technology. That is probably driving just early-adopters and innovators.
Usually, information is biased towards the latest technologies by this tech is implemented by a tiny group of companies because the solution is far away to be ready from the mainstream market to adopt.
To be a game-changer, you don't necessarily need to launch something new or use the latest technologies.

  • Game-changer is something that could be adopted by the majority of the audience in your Market.
  • To be a game-changer, you have to low the buyer's risk perception to increase your product's adoption. Build things around the core of the product like a partnership, other services, certifications.

A game-changer is not based on the hype. It is based on the vast majority of people's reality.

  • See infographic (minute 47) to know what to build around your core product to lower the risk perception to increase adoption.
  • How are you solving differently than your competition, the pains and jobs of the customers?
  • To be a game-changer, we have to get out of the early-adopters and innovators' customer profiles. We have to build layers of support for an audience that has other pain points.
  • To compete in the mainstream and be a game-changer, we need to transition from a product-innovation-tech-oriented founder to a leader with a managerial perspective, building a company prepared to last and be profitable.
  • The Value Proposition for the mainstream is different from the Value Proposition that worked for your early adopters and innovators.

There are people born to serve the mainstream market.

4. Does your startup have barriers to entry, or do you have a plan to build them?

With so many techs today, somebody is going to figure out how to match your product quickly.

  • IP is more robust in the short-term as a competitive advantage, but the brand is a more substantial advantage for the long-term. An example is how Elon Musk sacrificed Teslas's IPs advantage but generated the strongest brand moat.
    Perception-oriented things are very powerful.
  • Examples to build competitive advantage:
  1. IP
  2. Network effects
  3. Intangible assets
  4. High switching costs
  5. Low-cost production
  6. Efficient scale
  • The ones that last the longest are the intangible attributes, the ones based on perception.
  • Listen to the Sony's digital camera case and Apple case - minute 1 hour 12 minutes.

I'll see you on our next LiveStream Oct 28th: the market as a startup key success factor in my twitter feed @josberco!

Drop here any questions you might have about this or the next topic!

  1. 2

    Very useful. Thanks for sharing

    1. 2

      Thank you Alexandra! It makes happy to know that it is useful ;)

  2. 2

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. 1

      My pleasure. Thanks for dropping a comment!

  3. 2

    This is valuable info, Jose. Followed you on twitter.

    1. 1

      Thank you Wilson! I'll follow you back! AMA about this is you have questions. Happy to help ;)

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