Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Articles

False assumptions on the minimum viable product

In Architecture,Business,Marketing,Product Development,Uncategorized on September 16, 2010 by petrem66

If you use Geoffrey Moore’s book ‘Crossing the Chasm’ as a general guideline on how to tap into a profitable market niche on the long run, the Lean Startup concept must be strongly refined. True, that the aim is still to lower the waste to the minimum during startup, but one has to admit that conducting market research with screenshots, mockups, or partially working prototypes is also a form of waste. Who is going to take you seriously and allocate precious time with you talking about screenshots?. Friends, colleagues, relatives, people who are not busy running real businesses. I’ve talked to people in my social network and it is hard to convince them to even consider introducing me to really busy people. Do I have a case to push for that? No, not yet. I know that the path to the ‘chasm’ is a different one though

I think that the absolute minimum to get to playing the market fit game is to have a functioning core product which is easy to customize at the front end (that is UI) to allow for testing market hypothesis as they’ll come. Only after that is done I can afford to do proceed with testing – learning – realigning or extending, and when possible get paid for any service I will provide to customers my product will manage to get

What is the functioning core product?

Generally speaking the core product consists of independent functionality, a minimum set of building blocks absolutely needed to use in any ‘solutions’ to solve in the problem domain. In all startups a common building block is the payment functionality. The building blocks must help lower the cost of putting together the minimum viable product so that when testing a market hypothesis you can charge for service should you find a real customer. Only by making a revenue you know for sure that your solution solves a real problem and hope for a solid market traction

If after a long struggle to find customers and problems to solve, you’ve got a customer but cannot charge for your service that’s bad. A business is about selling goods and services, not volunteer work. Signup for membership is also part of the core functionality

In my case, the document engine is also a core building block since my problem domain with www.documentclick.com is all about documents

What core product is not?

Although there are aspects in it that are part of the core functionality, the user interface in general must not be listed for the core product. It will be refined over and over for better SEO, appeal for customers, usability, etc. Adapters to third party platforms (such as integration with salesforce.com, zoho.com, or google apps) may come later as you discover a market niche for them.  SEO is not yet a concern.

Building generic frameworks to assemble building blocks in never a good idea. There are at least a few dozen excellent frameworks out there (including CMS/DMS) that can be ‘customized’ with minimum cost to include your building blocks and specific UI for a minimum viable product

Articles

On customer discovery

In Marketing on September 14, 2010 by petrem66

Bob Walsh and Patrick Foley have recently interviewed Ash Maurya and published that as a podcast. Since I am searching for information on how to do the Customer Development practically in the early stages of the business it was like a revelation to listen to what Ash had to say about how to do the research.

If I’ve got it right the mini-steps to take:

1. I need to think about who has lots of paperwork to do, and organize it. They may be lawyers, insurance brokers, or real estate agents

2. I want to learn from them the pain-points related to paperwork. In order to do that I need to come up with a set of questions to ask. Get introductions to potential customers (Would cold calls be appropriate though?)

3.  Get appointments and interviews with people active in the target market. If freelance lawyers specialized in handling real estate with strong computer skills and an active presence on the web is my target, I get to use my network to be introduced to one

4. Compile a list of problems learned about during step 3

5.  Think of solutions for some of the problems at 4. Follow up based on permission with connections made at step 3. Learn what solution makes more sense to them. Extrapolate common themes from a handful of interviews

6. Come up with a list of problems to solve and a potential market