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The Assassin’s Mindset
Identifying Assumptions to De-Risk Your Idea
Giff Constable
MD, Neo NYC
@giffco
Creative Commons: K...
InfoQ.com: News & Community Site
• 750,000 unique visitors/month
• Published in 4 languages (English, Chinese, Japanese an...
Presented at QCon New York
www.qconnewyork.com
Purpose of QCon
- to empower software development by facilitating the sprea...
Creative Commons: Paul VanDerWerf http://www.flickr.com/photos/pavdw/
Creative Commons: Gary Eyring on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/geyring/
Creative Commons: Wildlife Wanderer http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildlifewanderer/
Creative Commons: Smithsonian's National Zoo http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalzoo/
Creative Commons: Hazel Owen http://www.flickr.com/photos/24289877@N02/
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
Case Study: Garden Center
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
My primary customer will be:
Homeowners ...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
The problem / need my customer
wants to ...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
My customer need can be solved
with this...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
The measurable outcome my
customer wants...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
My primary customer acquisition
tactic w...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
My earliest adopters will be:
Affluent s...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
I will make money by:
Freemium model, wi...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
My primary competition will be:
Pen and ...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
I will beat my competitors primarily
bec...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
My biggest risk to financial viability
i...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
My biggest technical / engineering
risk ...
Assumptions
Customer Problem Solution
Customer
Outcome
Customer
Acquisition
Early Adopter
Business
Model
Competition Diffe...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
What assumptions, if proven wrong, would...
High Impact
low impact
KnownUnknown
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
Our scariest assumptions:
­ It is a hea...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
Experiments
&
Learning
Experiment
Design Studio
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
Qualitative Interviews
•  Offered $25 gi...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
Results
•  Pain point was not top of min...
Adwords
Landing Page Test: Funnel
Value test Price test Email test
Visits Initial Clicks Subscribe Learn More Email
143
30
75
40% 4% 5% 1%
60% 20%Goal:
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
Tips for Landing Page Tests
•  Don’t opt...
Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/
DECISION: PIVOT
Three Charts
Creative Commons: Wildlife Wanderer http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildlifewanderer/
Pay Risk Down As You Go
Diagram concept: @clevergirl
Risk
Time
High Impact
low impact
KnownUnknown
Conversation
PaperTest
Prototype
LiveProduct
Fantasy
TruthofLearning
What We’ve Covered
•  Think holistically about your idea
•  Prioritize the risks
•  Design and run experiments
•  Filter a...
@giffco / giff@neo.com
Creative Commons: Koen Muurling http://www.flickr.com/photos/koenmuurling/
Watch the video with slide synchronization on
InfoQ.com!
www.infoq.com/presentations/holystic-
assumption
The Assassin's Mindset: Identifying Assumptions to De-Risk Your Idea
The Assassin's Mindset: Identifying Assumptions to De-Risk Your Idea
The Assassin's Mindset: Identifying Assumptions to De-Risk Your Idea
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The Assassin's Mindset: Identifying Assumptions to De-Risk Your Idea

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Video and slides synchronized, mp3 and slide download available at URL http://bit.ly/19tYCtB.

Giff Constable shares 4 tactics for thinking holistically about an idea and clearly identifying, prioritizing and tackling assumptions.Filmed at qconnewyork.com.

Giff Constable is a Managing Director for Neo's New York City practice. He is an early-stage specialist with 17 years of startup experience and a cross-functional skill set. Giff has built and marketed consumer applications, games, and enterprise software, and has created digital experiences for many of the biggest companies in the world.

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Transcript of "The Assassin's Mindset: Identifying Assumptions to De-Risk Your Idea"

  1. 1. The Assassin’s Mindset Identifying Assumptions to De-Risk Your Idea Giff Constable MD, Neo NYC @giffco Creative Commons: Koen Muurling http://www.flickr.com/photos/koenmuurling/
  2. 2. InfoQ.com: News & Community Site • 750,000 unique visitors/month • Published in 4 languages (English, Chinese, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese) • Post content from our QCon conferences • News 15-20 / week • Articles 3-4 / week • Presentations (videos) 12-15 / week • Interviews 2-3 / week • Books 1 / month Watch the video with slide synchronization on InfoQ.com! www.infoq.com/presentations/holys tic-assumption
  3. 3. Presented at QCon New York www.qconnewyork.com Purpose of QCon - to empower software development by facilitating the spread of knowledge and innovation Strategy - practitioner-driven conference designed for YOU: influencers of change and innovation in your teams - speakers and topics driving the evolution and innovation - connecting and catalyzing the influencers and innovators Highlights - attended by more than 12,000 delegates since 2007 - held in 9 cities worldwide
  4. 4. Creative Commons: Paul VanDerWerf http://www.flickr.com/photos/pavdw/
  5. 5. Creative Commons: Gary Eyring on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/geyring/
  6. 6. Creative Commons: Wildlife Wanderer http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildlifewanderer/
  7. 7. Creative Commons: Smithsonian's National Zoo http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalzoo/
  8. 8. Creative Commons: Hazel Owen http://www.flickr.com/photos/24289877@N02/
  9. 9. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ Case Study: Garden Center
  10. 10. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ My primary customer will be: Homeowners with property around the house
  11. 11. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ The problem / need my customer wants to solve: It is a headache to keep track of paperwork for your property, both logistics and creative ideas
  12. 12. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ My customer need can be solved with this solution: A mobile app that acts as a record and inspiration keeper
  13. 13. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ The measurable outcome my customer wants to achieve is: 50% less time hunting for paperwork; more confidence they will remember creative plans
  14. 14. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ My primary customer acquisition tactic will be: Newsletter promotions for base; SEM for newcomers
  15. 15. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ My earliest adopters will be: Affluent suburban owners; subscribers and website visitors
  16. 16. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ I will make money by: Freemium model, with customers paying to store images a la Flickr
  17. 17. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ My primary competition will be: Pen and paper / kitchen drawer; evernote and note taking apps
  18. 18. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ I will beat my competitors primarily because of: Offering a targeted solution; value-added content
  19. 19. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ My biggest risk to financial viability is: Enough people will hit their free limit and convert to paid before we run out of funds
  20. 20. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ My biggest technical / engineering risk is: Compelling functionality, not engineering risk
  21. 21. Assumptions Customer Problem Solution Customer Outcome Customer Acquisition Early Adopter Business Model Competition Differentiator Financial Risk Technical Risk ?
  22. 22. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ What assumptions, if proven wrong, would cause this to fail? •  People will input data and photos •  We can provide instant gratification •  People will input enough to convert to paid •  Parent co will fund through breakeven •  SEM will be profitable within 12 mo •  Engagement will be frequent enough to stay top of mind •  Enough people have the problem to make market worthwhile
  23. 23. High Impact low impact KnownUnknown
  24. 24. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ Our scariest assumptions: ­ It is a headache to keep track of paperwork for your property, both logistics and creative ideas ­ A targeted solution and value-added content is enough of a competitive differentiator ­ Enough people will pay to store images ­ Parent co will fund through breakeven ­ SEM will be profitable within 12 mo ­ People will input data and photos
  25. 25. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ Experiments & Learning
  26. 26. Experiment Design Studio
  27. 27. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ Qualitative Interviews •  Offered $25 gift card in email newsletter •  900 people took pre-qualification survey •  picked best 30 •  created interview guide •  hopped on the phone with a caller + note taker giffconstable.com for tips on customer development interviews
  28. 28. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ Results •  Pain point was not top of mind •  Had to iterate our language to get interviewees focused on right area •  Hearing a lot of the same answers after 12 people
  29. 29. Adwords Landing Page Test: Funnel Value test Price test Email test
  30. 30. Visits Initial Clicks Subscribe Learn More Email 143 30 75 40% 4% 5% 1% 60% 20%Goal:
  31. 31. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ Tips for Landing Page Tests •  Don’t optimize design for conversion, but rather for learning •  Look at daily conversions and cross-check against recruiting methods •  Use query strings to track specific ads and segment out your team http://example.com/home?id=101 •  Make sure landing page performance is high
  32. 32. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ DECISION: PIVOT
  33. 33. Three Charts Creative Commons: Wildlife Wanderer http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildlifewanderer/
  34. 34. Pay Risk Down As You Go Diagram concept: @clevergirl Risk Time
  35. 35. High Impact low impact KnownUnknown
  36. 36. Conversation PaperTest Prototype LiveProduct Fantasy TruthofLearning
  37. 37. What We’ve Covered •  Think holistically about your idea •  Prioritize the risks •  Design and run experiments •  Filter against your vision and judgment Creative Commons: Wildlife Wanderer http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildlifewanderer/
  38. 38. @giffco / giff@neo.com Creative Commons: Koen Muurling http://www.flickr.com/photos/koenmuurling/
  39. 39. Watch the video with slide synchronization on InfoQ.com! www.infoq.com/presentations/holystic- assumption

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