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What Problem Are You Solving?
Zach Nies
@zachnies
Entrepreneurs have a
chance to create the
  world they want
There is proven
  science that can
improve your odds of
      success
What world do you
 want to create?
What does that feel
      like?
Success allows you to
create the world you
 want and live your
       dreams
Why am I here
  tonight?
Success, but they
weren’t living any
     dream
Discover & promote
the tools that enable
 success while living
     the dream
How I got here
Font Sampler




http://media.kelbymediagroup.com/layersmagazine/images/columns/artoftype/may06/glyph-set.jpg   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Caslon-schriftmusterblatt.jpeg
2,500,000
customers
Vision: Civil rights and equality for all
Vision: Reinvent
 collaboration
Amazing team,
exactly the culture I
dreamed of creating
Great product
One problem:
  Failed the
Milkshake Test
Why am I doing this?
Live inside the Internet
Vision: Solve the world’s hardest
 problems as citizen engineers
Some context
and some math
Gaussian distributions




!"#$%%&'()*+,'-%&./%0,1234&5%6789667:
Power laws and Pareto distributions




!"#$%%&'()*+,'-%&./%0,1234&5%6789667:
Other Pareto distributions




!"#$%%&'()*+,'-%&./%0,1234&5%6789667:
High impact, low
probability events
An example
8’1’’
                                                                                       2’5’’

                                                                                     3.3 x

!"#$%%;;;+5<=<-'&#!+0,+>?%1<;/%#)05>'<-&==<')</%!,;&.,>"!&5%@ABBCAB%D!<3;,'=2/35&==</534&13E>=5&13F,/<13&1235!<3/!,'5</534&13)135!<3;,'=23G<3H)1-#)1-34<<5+!54=:
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%J>'*<5/,1%7C@B7A7C6B:
Bill Gates




 The
Entire
         150,000 x
Room
Business involves
     Pareto
  distributions
But wait, there’s
    more…
4 Dots
6 Connections
64 Patterns
10 Dots
45 Connections
? Patterns
Patterns




35,184,372,088,832
In business a few
patterns are more
 valuable than all
     the rest
but which ones?
“The only valid model of a
  complex system is the
  system itself.


                 Murray Gell-Mann
Steve Blank



“Get out of the
  building!”
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%*)'5>&=<K</<<%@86L6@9@MM:
Figure out
the problem
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%?=<&'0!,/%7M786L9L6L:
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%@B887LB8NO67%@9B@7BBLBL:
Anthropologist
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%0!>0?/)44)1/%9B8A6B@C6C:
No focus groups
Talk to people
  in person
!"#$%%;;;+0',//P5+0,4%453&'0!)*<9%Q>'-<1<'6L6MRSTO+J#-:
Introduce yourself
             to 3 other people


!"#$%%;;;+0',//P5+0,4%453&'0!)*<9%Q>'-<1<'6L6MRSTO+J#-:
Development

 Marketing

   Sales
Problem Team

Solution Team
Problem Team

Solution Team
For whom, what
problem are you
    solving?
Finding prospects
“Customers don’t care
 about your solution.
 They care about their
 problems.
                  Dave McClure
!"#$%%;;;+0',//P5+0,4%453&'0!)*<9%Q>'-<1<'6L6MRSTO+J#-:
Make a list of 10
            people you could
           contact directly or
               ask for an
              introduction
!"#$%%;;;+0',//P5+0,4%453&'0!)*<9%Q>'-<1<'6L6MRSTO+J#-:
Sketch out the
           email or script you
                will use

!"#$%%;;;+0',//P5+0,4%453&'0!)*<9%Q>'-<1<'6L6MRSTO+J#-:
Problem Interview
Who is
feeling the pain?
What pain
are they feeling?
How do they make
the pain go away
     today?
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%'2<0,4%7C7CA9C7CB:
Testable
hypothesis
!"#$%%;;;+0',//P5+0,4%453&'0!)*<9%Q>'-<1<'6L6MRSTO+J#-:
List the problem
                    hypotheses you
                      want to test

!"#$%%;;;+0',//P5+0,4%453&'0!)*<9%Q>'-<1<'6L6MRSTO+J#-:
Problem Interview Overview




Running Lean by Ash Maurya, page 118.
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%*)'5>&=<K</<<%@86L6@9@MM:
Solution Interview
Problem Team

Solution Team
Who:
Early adopters
How:
Make money
What:
Primary problem
The
 [feature name]
  will solve the
[problem name]
Testing your
  solution
Solution Interview Overview




Running Lean by Ash Maurya, page 142.
!"#$%%;;;+0',//P5+0,4%453&'0!)*<9%Q>'-<1<'6L6MRSTO+J#-:
Build the
                 boilerplate
                  for your
             solution interview

!"#$%%;;;+0',//P5+0,4%453&'0!)*<9%Q>'-<1<'6L6MRSTO+J#-:
Innovation
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%&2&0U,%9MCMM6978@:
Typical
market research:
   Customer
   attributes
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%/<'#)0,=>-1>5%8L9@8@A9A:
Innovation
market research:
Addressing what
    problem
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%/<'#)0,=>-1>5%8L9@8@A9A:
What is your
competition?
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%1?&')4%@L@8BA6A9A:   !"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%8@CCA@B7NO66%97AB9L68@6:
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%=)?<R5!<R-'&12R0&1K,1%M@@8B@C768:   !"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%J,'-<.'&V)=%9798@A@898:
Milkshake Test



 What job is your
  solution being
hired to perform?
Types of
Innovation
Sustaining

Disruptive
Sustaining

Disruptive
Sustaining

Disruptive
Is there a large population of
people who historically have not
  had the money, equipment, or
      skill to do this thing for
themselves, and as a result have
  gone without it altogether or
  have needed to pay someone
 with more expertise to do it for
   them? To use the product or
 service, do customers need to
      go to an inconvenient,
       centralized location?
Are there customers at the low
end of the market who would be
  happy to purchase a product
   with less (but good enough)
performance if they could get it
at a lower price? Can we create
 a business model that enables
 us to earn attractive profits at
 the discount prices required to
    win the business of these
overserved customers at the low
               end?
Is the innovation disruptive to all
   of the significant incumbent
       firms in the industry?

 If it appears to be sustaining to
 one or more significant players
   in the industry, then the odds
    will be stacked in that firm’s
favor, and the entrant is unlikely
               to win.
Disruptive
Building the MVP
Validated Learning




Eric Ries
Design Thinking
Pirate Metrics




Running Lean by Ash Maurya, page 154.
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%*)'5>&=<K</<<%@86L6@9@MM:
!"#$%%;;;+I)0?'+0,4%#!,5,/%I&",#C78%997MALBCB:
Primary book that informed this talk
Other books that informed this talk
People who informed this talk




 David      Max      Ash       Clayton
Snowden    Boisot   Maurya   Christensen




Frank H.    Mark     Eric
 Knight    Newman    Ries
                                Steve
                                Blank

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