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. …

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.

More in: Technology , Business
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  • 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. 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. 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. Creative Commons: Paul VanDerWerf http://www.flickr.com/photos/pavdw/
  • 5. Creative Commons: Gary Eyring on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/geyring/
  • 6. Creative Commons: Wildlife Wanderer http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildlifewanderer/
  • 7. Creative Commons: Smithsonian's National Zoo http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalzoo/
  • 8. Creative Commons: Hazel Owen http://www.flickr.com/photos/24289877@N02/
  • 9. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ Case Study: Garden Center
  • 10. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ My primary customer will be: Homeowners with property around the house
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ My earliest adopters will be: Affluent suburban owners; subscribers and website visitors
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ My biggest technical / engineering risk is: Compelling functionality, not engineering risk
  • 21. Assumptions Customer Problem Solution Customer Outcome Customer Acquisition Early Adopter Business Model Competition Differentiator Financial Risk Technical Risk ?
  • 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. High Impact low impact KnownUnknown
  • 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. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ Experiments & Learning
  • 26. Experiment Design Studio
  • 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. 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. Adwords Landing Page Test: Funnel Value test Price test Email test
  • 30. Visits Initial Clicks Subscribe Learn More Email 143 30 75 40% 4% 5% 1% 60% 20%Goal:
  • 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. Creative Commons: Bruce Fingerhood http://www.flickr.com/photos/springfieldhomer/ DECISION: PIVOT
  • 33. Three Charts Creative Commons: Wildlife Wanderer http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildlifewanderer/
  • 34. Pay Risk Down As You Go Diagram concept: @clevergirl Risk Time
  • 35. High Impact low impact KnownUnknown
  • 36. Conversation PaperTest Prototype LiveProduct Fantasy TruthofLearning
  • 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. @giffco / giff@neo.com Creative Commons: Koen Muurling http://www.flickr.com/photos/koenmuurling/
  • 39. Watch the video with slide synchronization on InfoQ.com! www.infoq.com/presentations/holystic- assumption