I love this – s…

I love this – so I pop it here so I can look at it in more depth later on in my life.

It is taken from Andrew Chen’s work.

His Roadmap goals

  • “output-driven” roadmap for going from zero to product/market fit
  • for small hackerish teams building consumer internet products
  • the intention is to create a scalable startup that is going after a huge market, and generate huge returns for venture capital investors
  • goal is to get to P/M fit in shortest time possible, defer everything else
    • defers monetization
    • defers marketing
    • defers scaling
    • (this is all by design)
  • P/M fit takes a non-deterministic amount of time to get there, insanely hard, you’ll probably fail anyway
  • the problem is 90% contextual, make up your own rules as you go

Concept prototype

Picking a product and market

  • build for yourself (start with intuition)
  • have a long-term vision
  • base it off something that’s already big and already working
    • big makes it easy to test and collect feedback
    • already working means you have a good sense for minimum product
    • also, there’s pre-existing distribution channels as well
  • figure out the options for competitive differentiation – this is the core design intention
    • talk to a lot of users, do a lot of research, compare a lot of products in the space
  • dimensions for competitive differentiation
    • competitive dimensions
    • vertical audience
    • design intention
    • cheaper/niche
    • targeting rejectors
  • validating that there’s LOTS of pre-existing “pull” for the market
    • search keywords
    • app leaderboards
  • ideal goal: simple product with fundamentally different core design intention for large pre-existing market
    • bonus points for baked-in distribution, monetization, etc. but don’t let this lead the idea!!!
    • usually one killer feature (not a bunch of features)
  • prototype: Landing page
    • what’s a good landing page experiment?
    • headlines, copywriting, hero shot, etc.
    • unique URLs
  • anti-patterns:
    • “someone’s already done this” (desire for originality)
    • monetization/strategy-driven product ideas
    • technology in search of a market
    • “Wall Street” markets
    • lumping yourself into an aspirational market
    • comprehensive featureset done poorly

Paper/Wireframe prototype

Designing the initial product

  • go for the minimum desirable product
    • might work :-)
    • the central design intention drives the product design
    • supports only the core use case, as minimum as possible
    • core UX should be 2-3 pages
    • limited functionality, done well. “Less but better”
    • Should build bare bone prototype in less than 2 weeks (really!)
    • flow-based product design
    • user quotes, then fill in with UI
  • low-fidelity prototyping tools
    • easier and cheaper to make changes
    • fix defects earlier (Toyota lean manufacturing model)
    • engineers always want to prototype in code, but then sunk-cost fallacy
    • get feedback from people and iterate
  • prototype: Core user flows, mocked up and ready to build
  • anti-patterns:
    • “database-up” design
    • feature creep and low product self-esteem (v1 should look like a feature!)
    • comprehensive featureset all of it done poorly
    • lots of pet features that don’t fit into the core design intention

Code prototype

Coding the initial product

  • build the prototype as fast as possible
  • fill in any blanks left out of the prototype
  • use the product yourself, iterate on it while keeping with the core design intention
  • focus on key flows and prioritize over ancillary ones
  • don’t worry about corner cases
  • get it ready to be used by other people
  • prototype: Live product, usable by other people
  • anti-patterns:
    • taking too long
    • losing focus of the central design intention
    • not adjusting based on intuition and usage
    • overarchitecting, trying to make it scalable or modular or future-proofing in general

Friends and family alpha testing

  • private beta goals
    • clean up core experience
    • make product usable over multiple visits
    • validate the core design intention
    • not scalable
  • recruiting friends and family
    • focus on retention
    • are users coming back?
  • recruiting random people
    • Find people from the existing market, rejectors, and outside the market
    • Learn from extreme users
    • Craigslist
    • Usertesting
  • user testing
    • do they get it?
    • how would you describe this to a friend?
    • usability – remove the friction
    • would they switch? (for existing market users)
    • Net promotor score
  • interpreting user feedback and learning to say “no”
    • which users fall into the target market? Hear them out
    • which users don’t? It’s OK (and maybe even good!) to have them reject
    • try not to add new features unless absolutely necessary
    • what features can you remove that aren’t part of the core?
  • prototype: Simple product, polished by real use
  • anti-patterns
    • Delusion- it’s not working but you think it is
    • Melancholy from user testing
    • Adding features without interpreting
    • Adding features that violate core design intention
    • Listening to out-of-market users
  • is it working?
    • people understand the product
    • some subset of your users like it and use it
    • you like it :-)

Random people beta testing

  • traffic testing goals
    • start polishing your onboarding flow
    • develop options for distribution
    • build some basic stats infrastructure
    • not meant to be scalable
  • User acquisition tactics
    • ads
    • PR + launch page + slow stream
    • partnerships
    • power through it
  • Collecting feedback
    • surveys
    • help and problems
    • recruit users to talk to
  • prototype: Spreadsheet for signup flow, more polished signup flow
  • is it working?
    • signups are happening
    • people are going through the core flow
    • retention/recurring usage from target users
    • product still works for you, and your friends/family

User flow optimization

  • model your usage and figure out your core drivers
    • this is completely product specific
    • two examples- daily deal versus a chat site
    • whats your “metric of love?”
  • prototype your funnel – explore!
    • flow chart
    • excel
    • SQL
    • formalize/finalize with dashboards
  • identify major bottlenecks for why the product’s not working
    • start at the beginning of the flow
    • fix bottlenecks with A/B tests
  • is it working?
    • how do the metrics compare to the usage model?
    • 10% signup
    • +1 day retention and +1 week retention
    • DAU/MAU
  • anti-patterns:
    • trying to fix problems in core UX when signup is the problem
    • over-architecting stats infrastructure
    • trying to use a generic analytics product to answer situational questions

Ready to scale?

  • Hopefully the major checkboxes are checked – at this point you’d have:
    • Huge market
    • Differentiated product
    • Product makes sense to normal people
    • Product is working for IRL people
    • Product is working for non-IRL people
    • Well-understood and optimized user flows
    • Ready to scale up
  • Non-scaleable marketing, tech, and otherwise- that’s fine
  • Now scale everything else :-)

Crisis, terror, and melancholy

  • Is it good enough?
  • Nobody likes my product!
  • My product is a mess!
  • It’s taking too long!
  • Investors hate my product!
  • I’m iterating in circles!
  • When to work on a completely new idea?
  • Iterations are getting diminishing returns and people still don’t love the product

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