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Designing for Networks:
Four provocations
!
for Harvard Arab Weekend
9 November 2013
!
by Ian Fitzpatrick
Hello. My name is Ian.
!
Principal / Chief Strategy Officer, Almighty
Mentor, TechStars
Mentor, Harvard Innovation Lab
@ian...
A brief history:
!
Student of philosophy
to founder of Unwrapped
to music journalism
to design research at Mattel
to produ...
A caveat:
!
It will, occasionally, seem as though I
particularly dislike marketing. And startups.
This is not really the c...
Let’s start here:
!
Using channels and tools designed for the
needs of larger competitors, but at a smaller
scale, is not ...
Here’s a useful way to
think about ‘marketing’:
!
The price that organizations pay for
improperly aligning the value they ...
!
Put another way, courtesy of John Willshire:
!

Make things people want >
Make people want things
Value:
!
It’s what gets me to buy/use/pay attention to you because it’s
more useful/helpful/enjoyable than the 1000 other ...
The product experience
and the marketing
experience are
intertwined.
Currency is (a) measure
of value, and it takes
(at least) two important
forms:
!
1. The direct value of a product, service...
Four provocations for
the startup enterprise:
Provocation #1:
Who uses what you
make?
When someone asks
what you do, do you
describe a market need
or a human need?
Audiences are passive
receivers. Users are
active participants.
This distinction is not
trivial.
It has never been easier
or less-expensive to
learn about what your
users want and need.
It’s probably time to
start thinking (far)
beyond your vertical.
!
Only organizations talk about ‘best in class’.
People t...
Provocation #2:
It’s time to stop equating
byproducts with ‘waste’.
!
When we make one thing, we almost always
make someth...
Stories are one kind of
byproduct.
Data is another.
Data & stories about us
will spread more than
data & stories about you.
Provocation #3:
Build for, rather than
take from, networks.
!
It’s more than a magical place to push stuff.
No one wants y...
Get to know
Metcalfe’s Law.
!
The value of a network is proportional to the
square of the number of connected users
within...
Adding scale to a
network should create
value for each user, not
just each shareholder.
!
How does adding more nodes make ...
As a rule of thumb, you
should add more value
to a network than you
take from it.
Provocation #4:
Design for non-linear
engagement.
!
(and stop saying ‘engagement’)
Traditionally,
communications hinged
on the sequential
consumption of
messages, hence
‘communications
stream’.
In an ecosystem defined
increasingly by search
and word of mouth
(social), sequence is a lot
less relevant to the way
we pr...
Design for a crowd that
comes in through the
windows, not through
the doors.
Try this:
Pick the most important
user and build only with
them in mind.
Go deep on that user, in
their lives, where they
operate. Look for gaps in
value.
Place a lot of small bets.
50 ideas x $100 is better
than 5 ideas x $1000.
Thank you for listening.
!

@ianfitzpatrick
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Designing for Networks: Four Provocations

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

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

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