This company has moved beyond selling physical products and lifestyles into the business of selling an identity.
I am youthful and vibrant, I am passionate about the great outdoors and I will fight to preserve the environment which I so much love.
Nowhere within this 100 page magazine was there ever a mention that Patagonia sells outdoor gears but if you identify with the persona just described above then Patagonia is your go to brand.
The company has positioned its brand at the self actualization level of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Once a project’s mission statement is defined, it becomes easy to determine when to stop further iterations.
Below are the listed of statements I periodically revisit when pursuing GetData.IO’s mission to help people make good decisions by making data gathering simple and affordable.
Hypothesis 1: People no longer need make good decisions.
Hypothesis 2: People no longer need data to make good decisions.
Hypothesis 3: People no longer find it hard to get data.
Hypothesis 4: We have exhausted all known approaches to lower the cost of data gathering to an affordable range.
Hypothesis 5: We have exhausted all viable approaches to reach people who need to make good decisions.
Hypothesis 1 and 2 are existential questions, while hypothesis 3 focuses on substitute availability. These are out of our control. The only thing we could do is monitor for changes.
Hypothesis 4 and 5 focuses on economic feasibility. These we will fully focus our efforts on. Once we eliminate all none viable options, whatever remains will be the limitations we must accept and live with.
It is useful to note the lack of any mention on funding. The underlying assumption is that every successful iteration necessarily unlocks resources from the environment which is then fed back to further the compounding process. The discipline is to minimize wastage.
Relying on external funding is like utilizing margins during day trading. While earnings get amplified, failures tend to be really spectacular. One additional drawback is that they tend to mask critical flaws in the short run leading to the commonly observed greater fool phenomena in the financial markets.
In any industry, the most trusted brand is always the most profitable one
There are too many companies spending increasing amount of dollars vying for limited attention and money of consumers
Companies try to minimize their marketing spend by broadcasting the same marketing materials to as wide an audience as possible.
The right approach
Forget about the majority. Be laser focused on the audience you are targeting to build trust by starting and maintaining a dialogue with your intended audience.
Jay Levinson: An Ad needs to be ran 27 times on the same individual to get the desired impact.
- An Ad is seen 1 out of 9 times
- An Ad needs to be seen 3 times to have the desired effect
How to gain trust
- Be personal
- Be relevant
- Be Specific
- Be anticipated (don’t surprise them by building a regular cadence to your continued dialogue)
Stages of trust
- The One to One Future, Peppers and Rogers
Management: make people capable of working together to respond to change in the environment through:
- common goals
- common values
- the right structure
- proper training and development
Reasons for failure
- Not innovating
- inability to manage innovation
The goal of any business is to create a customer. A business does so by producing generate products and services the community wants in exchange for profits to sustain continued operation.
The goal of marketing is to know understand and know the customer so well the product sells itself
The Purpose of a business is the change it wants to effect in the community
The Mission is what it wants to do to effect the change
The Objectives are key tasks it will execute upon to achieve the mission.
Types of innovation
- Product innovation
- Social innovation
- Management innovation
Waste as little effort as possible on areas of low competence.
First figure out how you learn to figure out how you perform.
Number two person often fails in number one position because top spot requires a decision maker.
Effective people are perpetually working on time management.
The first rule of decision is one does not make a decision unless there is a disagreement.
Determine the right organization size to fit the requirements of the mission.
Conversations with Yi (EverString)
The forthcoming trend for engineering
Machine learning is increasingly becoming commoditized. DevOps becomes more important. Demand for specialized service where DevOps is encapsulated will further increase as demand for engineering tasks further outstrips engineering supplies.
On lead generation market
Companies in the lead generation space have need for scalable web crawlers. This helps offset the cost of retaining three in-house engineers.
Lead generation space has consolidated. There were priorly 120k such companies. There is 7k companies in operation. Majority of players are generating leads by scraping LinkedIn.
Consumer space require constant development of new features. Enterprise space requires service heavy. Enterprise space requires not just lead generation but entire channel marketing service suit (physical mail, online advertising, email marketing)
Lead gen hard to retain. The list becomes less valuable once it’s been used. 80% yearly churn is normal. One company reduces yearly churn to just 10% this by reducing second year subscription from USD800/yr to USD200/yr. further discount to USD100/yr if they don’t like. Recurring service is for grabbing fresh leads from same data source.
On Tele conference
Zoom’s product team compared with UberConference has developed a better understanding of the true conference needs of their users in various context. They have worked harder to ensure their product work seamlessly in identified scenarios. A typical example is the ability to join s conference bybthe press of a button on their mobile phone while driving instead of having to type the typical 4 pin digits.
It is hard but it works – needs to be tampered with empathy
On being product focused
- Consulting is limited by time and people – not scalable
- Effective Product-focused business
- Start with a product informed by your consulting – real life problems others face
Impediment to shifting focus
- Too comfortable
- not enough time
- difficulty finding the right customers for the product
On being a founder
- Great founders enable a vision
- forget about being hands on most of the time
- job scope changes every six months – for any road block encountered focus on sufficing the requirements instead of perfecting it
- you rarely get to do what you love to do
- be cognizant on when to lead and when not to – have the specialist do the job
- Cultivate self awareness in strength and weakness – structure company to work around them
- Attribute of founder is instilled with near-permanence in the organization while those of supporting team fluctuates
- the hardest parts of the business is less a reflection about the business than about the person experiencing them
- Build expertise before building network, build network before building company
- Focus on and reward the behavior, let the outcome take care of itself
- Authentic values force hard decisions – held to be more important than money
- have real costs: Impede certain behavior and strategy
- Values are discovered instead of set
- Used as a yard stick for recruiting new members to the cause. Helps get pass the competence versus cultural fit dilemma
- CTO should be those that should be oriented towards education instead of shielding you from the nitty gritty details (black box)
- Use your value system as a yard stick
- Hiring for diversity will make the mental model of the organization more holistic
- Great managers / coaches might not be great individual contributors
On markets and pivots
- Pivots Are expensive don’t make it a habit – only resort to this tactic when the original hypothesis is not longer valid
- focus on the market and then find a field ignored by others because it appears unsexy. From there craft a solution
- Err on the side of execution
- Need to take money for the right reason
- Investors interest will tend to get out of alignment overtime (return multiples and investment horizons)
- 80 percent of returns are by 20 percent of investments
- They need at least a 10X to break even in a position for all the other losing positions they took
- They don’t bring much value to the table
- follow up with CEOs they invested in to understand how they react in a shit storm
- Can help provide information on salary ranges
Choosing a market
- If you can keep your ego in check you can chase after smaller markets and don’t need VC money
- Great ideas are born of mediocre ideas that become better by
- time spent iterating
- humility learning
- look for searches that indicate problems
- Google Adwords
- Moz’s keyword Explorer
Knowing your customers
Defining your user base
- Call 3 different types of users
- Find out why they subscribed and stayed
- Craft messaging toward this group of people
Discounts are a doubled edged sword – while they might attract signups, these folks tend to have a higher churn rate
Schedule regular interactions with your user so that you can understand their habits. It helps you get to an empathetic position with them.
- Feature set needs to be coherent enough to be able to deliver value
- Early adopters
- have very different expectation as compared to early majority –
- hence more forgiving
- ok accepting MVP
- Retention triumphs acquisition any day
- Optimize for acquisition loops that reinforces the UVP instead of linear acquisition channels
- Practice the discipline of focus.
- Important to Focus and not waver around unnecessarily. Its a waste of resources
- A very focused and simplified product offering will help users to more easily understand and adopt it
- Helps keep teams lean as a by-product
- ROA improves dramatically
- helps avoid future layoffs
- Focus on what will not change in the next 10 years
- Lean Startup, Eric Ries
- Sprint, Jake Knapp
- Venture Deals, Brad Feld
While sending a personal email to each individual user who directly uses our API just now, it occurred to me the main difference between talking with someone you have relationship with (like your mum/girlfriend/wife…?) versus simply doing a mass email blast to a group of “strangers”, is the potential lack of warmth and empathy in the latter on the sender’s side.
No one really likes being treated like a number on a Excel sheet. It sucks.
The key challenge becomes how do you scale your communication as the amount of people you need to communicate with increases without alienating them. Or does it even matter?
- Permission Marketing, Seth Godin