This means that we are trying to find what is the product we are actually want to develop that will have the best market fit. Saying it in people’s language, what product will help people most. What will make them use it, and pay for it.
This whole discovery process is actually a costumer development process which have evolved a couple of times until it reached this stage, which I don’t think is the final one.
Go Finish is about solving student’s’ procrastination problems in life. I’m really enthusiastic working on that. It’s a problem worth solving and it’s a huge market. So, why not!?
(Comment on that though, who says that the optimal market are students? Maybe it’s procrastinating unfocused working people?)
I decided the first people I’m going to turn to for helping with my Minimum viable product (MVP) are my closest family members who happen to be american college students. Perfect!
I was really glad with that , I have an idea and even a “hack” into the market. Advantage that some people don’t have. I even treated it as being my unfair advantage.
Wrong! Family proven to be helpful with initial stages of talking to them about the idea but when asked to actually publishing it among their friends to see their reaction, it didn’t really work. They’ve got their “face” they needed to keep and don’t want to bother their friends, certainly not early adopters for my idea….
The next thing I was thinking is, “I can for sure find students out there who actually suffer from procrastination, present them with my MVP and get feedback. here is some of the stuff I’ve done:
- Posting on students forums (didn’t’ get ANY comment back).
- Going to student’s online chats ( Until I finally found one students asking her for help, she refused to spam her friends about this)
Then I came up with this “great” idea, of using twitter and even automate the process. I’ll just have a Go Finish landing page and I’ll follow all people on Twitter that use the relevant hash-tags.
So, every student who sees me following him (automatically of course), would check my bio blurb on Twitter, go to the landing page and perhaps even register. Also, even better, we can just mention them on Twitter, this will for sure get more attention from them.
Wrong Wrong Wrong! The Go Finish Twitter account got blocked! (and a whole different story how I eventually re-opened it).
So, yep getting students to talk to me at random online places is over for me now….it’s really hard getting their attention…
Also, my gut feeling said all these methods would be proven to be wrong. Not much effort there, and not much result.Some of them were even a beginners mistakes, which I could have prevented (Just check Twitters’ terms of service…)
Where things started to look better
Then I decided I’ll focus on two other channels for getting people to talk with, about their learning habits.
1. Teachers – teachers might be interested in testing new technologies and methods in their class. Therefore worth talking to. So, It’s a slow process of talking to teachers (which I find through education hash-tags on twitter) and I even got some of their attention.
My 1st sign of success with this is that soon I’ll start an experiment with a high school in the US with their innovation class.
2. One on one interviews – This is another rather slow process that works . Beijing has a LOT of international students, so why not go and talk to them?! I managed to find a couple of coffee shops around town where they hand out, and I stop them for a 10 minutes interview.
So far, I manage to talk to 5-10 people every week which is a nice number. Still this process is exhausting and slow, and needed to be improved. So, the conclusion is that I Need to get more traction here, and make people actually chasing me, and not that I’ll be chasing them.
The next stage
This is where I’m heading right now, a short video clip. I’m working on having a short video clip to actually present the product and make people interested in it. This hopefully will do the work even better. finger crossed!
Now over to you
What’s your experience with the discovery stage and customer development? What works? what doesn’t? Share that in the comments.
Image credit: Alex Osterwalder