I definitely struggle with imagining pie-in-the-sky solutions, then trying to translate that into what an MVP version might look like. Luckily the thoughtbot team has plenty of technical expertise and also provided great insights on low- and no-code tools that could get the job done. – Agnes Malatinszky, Senga founder and thoughtbot Incubator participant, week 3
We’re here in the thoughtbot Incubator reporting to you live with the latest updates. Curious how we got here? Check out last week’s post about Week 2.
Continuing with Customer Focus + Research
We’ve spent some time developing hypotheses, organizing possible market segments to research and tracking our assumptions about those markets. Our strategy is becoming more focused as we talk to more customers and hone in on some opportunities to bring into our product focused exercises. Now is the time to standardize our processes of continuous customer research and discovery, and begin running more rigorous product experiments.
Here are a few things we continued this week and what’s coming next:
Gauging customer interest
- Continue iterating on content for the website
- Continue tracking engagement on the website, social media, and existing ad campaigns
- Experiment with value propositions and messaging as we learn more from the market
- Consider adding other testing modalities (e.g. email newsletters)
Talking to potential customers
As we discussed in week 2’s recap of customer focused research, it’s important to work through each of the market segments identified to narrow in on your target early adopter. We do this by recruiting interview participants, developing and iterating on the script to learn about their needs and pain points, and documenting and summarizing our findings to bring back into our work and inform next steps. In this next week we’ll continue to:
- Review our assumptions about the target market and customer, adjust if necessary
- Keep a close eye on existing communities that may be sharing information or pain points related to the opportunities we’re exploring
- Prioritizing the strongest opportunities to bring into a product experiment
Begin Product Focus Exercises
Regarding that last bullet above, we spent some time in week 3 undergoing Design Sprint exercises to help us better understand and ideate solutions for the opportunities we’ve identified. Here’s what we did together:
Re-examine our assumptions table
- What did we learn?
- What do we still not know?
Storyboard the customer’s and user’s critical paths as we currently understand them
Do this with *actual drawings* whenever possible! Misalignments become clear when we can’t use words to describe what we mean.
Be as expansive as possible by asking what users are doing before and after experiencing the pain point
Ideate potential solutions that we can prototype and test
Each person spent some time drawing and writing out ideas for how to solve the customer pain “patterns” we’ve been gathering in our customer research phases
While our experiments from last week kept running on Google ads, this week we shifted focus to narrow in on those starting out their freelancing journey. Our biggest questions to answer were where we find this group, how we tailor messaging to them, and starting to brainstorm how to solve pain points at this early freelancer stage.
Although it feels artificial to be crafting messaging for an audience that doesn’t yet exist, the team and I talked about the importance of starting to build community in my chosen niche. We honed in on Discord and TikTok as two places where this demographic hangs out. I have blog posts, webinars, and short videos on my punch list to create.
We also spent time individually and as a group ideating around what pain points we heard in recent interviews and what potential solutions could look like. I definitely struggle with imagining pie-in-the-sky solutions, then trying to translate that into what an MVP version might look like. Luckily the thoughtbot team has plenty of technical expertise and also provided great insights on low- and no-code tools that could get the job done.
Overall, a lot of the project still feels in flux. By design! We keep adding moving pieces across work streams that span product, marketing, comms, research, etc. Next week we hit the halfway mark of the incubator — I’m eager to keep the momentum going!
For the next week, Agnes and the thoughtbot team will continue with customer interviews, tracking interest, and honing in on the strongest opportunities to test. We’ll begin designing a prototyping and test plan to start to validate our assumptions about those opportunities.
If you are going through a business validation process, or hope to in the future, this programming can be a resource for you as well. We are also doing weekly LinkedIN Live broadcasts with the incubator team to dig even deeper into what’s being uncovered as it happens. Follow thoughtbot on LinkedIN to catch us live or watch the recordings.