Success is Adaptation Agile: use customer stories to guide product Good: solving specific problems. Bad: presumes specific uses. Lean: okay to be surprised at uses / users. It’s a continuous learning experience! So pivot – adapt to new uses / users. (you heard this earlier!)
Collecting User Feedback Support email Monthly sales pings In-product TEXTAREAs Phone calls UserTesting.com Onsite usability tests In-person visits
Key Learning Your experiments provide an oracle function. Good for testing hypotheses. But what hypotheses do you test? Study your users for hypothesis + inspiration.
Science or Art? From “What About Design” Panel… Science is an art. (Experiments rarely inform which hypotheses to test!)
Feature Pivot Being rightand $1 gets you on the bus. Make sure customers are empowered to succeed. WYSIWYG: didn’t offer it on purpose! WikiText: performant, robust, easy-to-learn. …but kept people from spreading it. (afraid their coworkers wouldn’t grok it!) Didn’t learn this until talking with them. So I ate my hat and delivered a WYSIWYG editor.
Demographic Pivot Sometimes you’ll be surprised at who actually shows up. So ask who they are! “We loved your presentation in Chicago!” Hunch: 5% educators? Interstitial => 45% educators. Jeebus. Surprise! We had made an educational product.
Pricing Pivot Duh = Align pricing with value. Crappy renewal rates from $/wiki. Accenture call, PeopleMaps interview Whoops, wikis = projects & Projects < year. Ok, so $/user and ∞ wikis = wiser. Didn’t realize this until we talked w/people about why they weren’t renewing. So we changed our pricing and design.
…and many other pivots! Ads = only beer $. Oops. “Wiki” = commodity. Oops. Folders & networks to organize & permission! Talk with your users. What they’re doing and who they are may surprise you.
The Good News Went from ASPs of $50 to $50,000+ by listening to customers and delivering value. We grew the product as customers grew their deploy – coevolution! You can succeed by continuing to better understand your customer. Go do it!
Customer Development Startup Lessons Learned Conference David E. Weekly (@dweekly) April 23, 2010