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Designing for Networks: Four Provocations


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Slides from my talk to the Startup Track at Harvard Arab Weekend 2013

Published in: Marketing, Technology, Business

Designing for Networks: Four Provocations

  1. 1. Designing for Networks: Four provocations ! for Harvard Arab Weekend 9 November 2013 ! by Ian Fitzpatrick
  2. 2. Hello. My name is Ian. ! Principal / Chief Strategy Officer, Almighty Mentor, TechStars Mentor, Harvard Innovation Lab @ianfitzpatrick
  3. 3. A brief history: ! Student of philosophy to founder of Unwrapped to music journalism to design research at Mattel to production at Havas / Euro RSCG to founder, Almighty
  4. 4. A caveat: ! It will, occasionally, seem as though I particularly dislike marketing. And startups. This is not really the case. ! I just believe in people.
  5. 5. Let’s start here: ! Using channels and tools designed for the needs of larger competitors, but at a smaller scale, is not a viable strategy for resourcestarved startups.
  6. 6. Here’s a useful way to think about ‘marketing’: ! The price that organizations pay for improperly aligning the value they provide to the needs of users.
  7. 7. ! Put another way, courtesy of John Willshire: ! Make things people want > Make people want things
  8. 8. Value: ! It’s what gets me to buy/use/pay attention to you because it’s more useful/helpful/enjoyable than the 1000 other important things I could/should/would otherwise be doing instead.
  9. 9. The product experience and the marketing experience are intertwined.
  10. 10. Currency is (a) measure of value, and it takes (at least) two important forms: ! 1. The direct value of a product, service or experience (or information about it). 2. The indirect value of exclusive access to that information, product or service.
  11. 11. Four provocations for the startup enterprise:
  12. 12. Provocation #1: Who uses what you make?
  13. 13. When someone asks what you do, do you describe a market need or a human need?
  14. 14. Audiences are passive receivers. Users are active participants. This distinction is not trivial.
  15. 15. It has never been easier or less-expensive to learn about what your users want and need.
  16. 16. It’s probably time to start thinking (far) beyond your vertical. ! Only organizations talk about ‘best in class’. People talk in terms of what they like.
  17. 17. Provocation #2: It’s time to stop equating byproducts with ‘waste’. ! When we make one thing, we almost always make something else. Too often, that byproduct goes unused (which is why we tend to confuse the two).
  18. 18. Stories are one kind of byproduct.
  19. 19. Data is another.
  20. 20. Data & stories about us will spread more than data & stories about you.
  21. 21. Provocation #3: Build for, rather than take from, networks. ! It’s more than a magical place to push stuff. No one wants you at their dinner party.
  22. 22. Get to know Metcalfe’s Law. ! The value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users within it.
  23. 23. Adding scale to a network should create value for each user, not just each shareholder. ! How does adding more nodes make your product, experience or service better for users?
  24. 24. As a rule of thumb, you should add more value to a network than you take from it.
  25. 25. Provocation #4: Design for non-linear engagement. ! (and stop saying ‘engagement’)
  26. 26. Traditionally, communications hinged on the sequential consumption of messages, hence ‘communications stream’.
  27. 27. In an ecosystem defined increasingly by search and word of mouth (social), sequence is a lot less relevant to the way we process things.
  28. 28. Design for a crowd that comes in through the windows, not through the doors.
  29. 29. Try this:
  30. 30. Pick the most important user and build only with them in mind.
  31. 31. Go deep on that user, in their lives, where they operate. Look for gaps in value.
  32. 32. Place a lot of small bets. 50 ideas x $100 is better than 5 ideas x $1000.
  33. 33. Thank you for listening. ! @ianfitzpatrick