Ideas and Validation July 31, 2020

What is your USP? And do you understand your market?

Jamal Mashal @jamalx31

This is my tweet from yesterday, which started a discussion with other IHers.

I realized that one of the important skills I lack as a web developer is understanding and analyzing markets. I don't think I'm paying enough attention to technicalities like: market cap, annual growth, Trends, etc. And the only thing I was focusing on is the competition, which could be very demotivating.

Now I feel like I was shooting in the dark, and trying to build something without deeply understanding the market I'm playing in.

Here are some questions -I think I should have asked before building anything- and as you see I don't know the answers for half of them and I'm not sure about the other half b/c I didn't do any market research 😶

1. Product?
Moufette

2. What is your market ?
user feedback tools

3. What is your UVP/USP?
Privacy first + open-source

4. What niche are you targeting?
idk

5. What is the market cap?
idk

6. What is the annual growth?
idk

7. Who are the main players?
Hotjar, Fullstory, Canny

8. What is your potential annual revenue and how much is that of the total market size?
idk

Here is my question for you, did you do any market research before building your product? What are your answers to the previous questions? What other important questions should you answer before you decide to build a product?

  1. 2

    Canny is not in this space. Its about feature feedback. Uclusion had an early MVP that intersected with Canny.

    Your README also confuses these two:

    "Many engineers struggle to get the critical early feedback they need to help them navigate the product development and prioritize a long list of features. Moufette is here to solve that."

    Prioritize a long list of features and figure out where your landing page went wrong are two completely different markets. Canny and Hotjar do not compete.

    Now on the USP: "Privacy first + open-source" - let's do better than that. Uclusion is using Hotjar so I can tell you exactly what you need to do to win us over from them.

    We don't want to go to Hotjar to figure out behavior and then to Google Analytics to figure out where are traffic is coming from. We want to go one place that tells us behavior BY REFERRER URL. For instance I want to know click through rates of betalist people versus IH people, time spent on the site, who watched the video and who didn't etc. And I want it out of the box front and center - not some obscure feature that I couldn't find.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the feedback @disrael. Your comment proves my point that I didn't the market enough before building 😅
      And I see the opportunity you are pointing to, I would be happy to discuss this furthermore if you'd like.

      1. 1

        Sure our Calendly link is off our website and if you schedule I will show you what Hotjar is giving us and you will see my problem. Of course while on the call we are going to pitch Uclusion as well cause that's what we do.

        1. 1

          Perfect, scheduled for next Monday. looking forward to chatting with you

  2. 1

    When I started working on Nodewood, I didn't research things like market cap/annual growth, since I don't plan on it being my only product, but being a useful stepping stone towards other SaaS products.

    Nodewood is a SaaS boilerplate, in the same vein as SaaS Pegasus, Laravel Spark, Gravity, and Bullet Train. There are, of course, more competitors than this, and a variety of frameworks and NoCode solutions that overlap, but the big advantage that Nodewood has is that it is focused not just on providing a starting template, but making sure that you maintain that speed of development.

    The way I do that is by focusing on the nice of "JavaScript-only SaaS boilerplate." This, plus some architectural choices, makes it effortless to share model/lib/etc code between the front-end and back-end, meaning you can use the same validation code for forms and APIs, re-use model calculation code, etc. Other competitors that use a different language for the back-end or who haven't made these architectural choices can't make this claim. So if you're a new SaaS founder who knows JavaScript, and who wants to start fast and stay fast, well, that's my niche!

    If Nodewood weren't a stepping stone, however, I'd definitely have done more research into the market, like in your latter questions above. But since I'll be able to use Nodewood in my next and successive apps, any extra sales I make from it are gravy.

    1. 1

      Thats cool,
      I think it would be good to do it with Nodewood even if it's a stepping stone, just to practice. Yesterday I listened to episode 154 of IH and I found that customers interview is another thing I need to practice, and I sense from your pitch than you may have the same issue. (forgive me if I'm so direct) When you pitch any idea this way it sounds great, but have you asked real customers about it? the podcast episode is highly recommended, made me reconsider everything I'm doing.

      1. 1

        I mean, I could definitely use more practice at this, as well as so many other things. =) I have spoken with customers about it, though certainly not nearly enough.

        That said, there are only so many hours in the day, and since my target market is primarily "me and people like me", I have to focus my time where it does the most good. For right now, that's getting v1 out the door ASAP.

  3. 1

    Hi Jamal, I'm in a similar situation to you but — I suspect — for different reasons, in that I began working on the Under Cloud in 2004-5 for selfish reasons, and it wasn't until 2016 that friends and colleagues encouraged me to make it a marketable product.

    So the first thing I've had to do was pivot from a few other people who've also been using it and myself, and begin a market fitness exercise, looking at journalists and people in academia.

    I know who the competitors are (hello Evernote), but because they don't do anything like what the Under Cloud does, they're the reason I built it in the first place!

    Evernote and Microsoft OneNote didn't graduate beyond the school of thinking that adding a bunch of tags to things and shoving those same things in a load of folders is sufficient for curation — it's not, and I've written an extensive take down of the second brain claim made regarding Evernote.

    The USP here is how it's possible to capture the serendipitous learning process in action, and then revisit it afterwards as a narrative.

    In terms of finance, I've been self funded the whole time, but there's more to it than that — chasing around for investment is a full-time commitment, and I'd rather have a functional product eked out over time, than half a prototype because I've been too distracted chasing the dollars, pounds, and euros.

    1. 1

      glad to hear you decided to go forward with it!
      How marketing and adoption have been going?

      1. 1

        Slow to glacial.

        Some people enjoy this part of the game, but I find it a poor use of time.

  4. 1

    @jamalx31 I have an amazing Workbook developed over years of experience and research. Its a USP AND Core Competencies analysis!

    I'm not sure how to share it with you on here but if theres a way to share a document I'd be more than happy send it!

    It will help a ton. I use it all the time myself and share it with all my clients. Train on it actually, amazing how important it is and how few people are aware of it's existence!

    1. 1

      That would be great @Quantumstrategicplan
      Can I reach out to you via Twitter or Email?

      1. 1

        @jamalx31 Most definitely, my email is on my profile :)