You Must Put Problems Before Solutions
So next I want to move onto why you must put the problem before the solution. We've heard some of this already, but one analogy I really like to use is like a lighthouse, right? Or, writing an essay. I did a lot of writing in high school I guess, but I always remember that analogy where they said, okay when you write an essay, what is your thesis? And I remember having to rewrite that thesis over and over, and over, and it drove me crazy. But I finally realized, like that is so valuable, and I always think of that when I work with entrepreneurs. I say like okay, what's our thesis? What's our problem? What is that thing, because once you have that thesis down, then every decision you make after that becomes a lot easier. Because, you can constantly reference back and think, okay, is this whole paragraph I just wrote supporting that thesis? If it is, great, if it's not, delete it because you're wasting your time. So the problem that we need to validate really acts as this lighthouse, so ...
that we don't end up 3D printing something that no one needed, or hiring a developer for $50, to make something that no one needed. And we need to balance our ideas with peoples' real life needs. So, this needs to be represented visually. So a lot of entrepreneurs, you're the entrepreneur, you're over on the left, you have this idea, this is what I want to make, and this is your dream because you're gonna go get rich because you're gonna sell it to Amazon. And so this is your giant dream. But the problem is, most people only need a teeny, teeny, teeny little part of that. They just want the solution. Everything else in your dream of your product is kind of just extra, but what people really want is that little sliver of solution, and so that's what we're going to get to today. We want to figure out, what do people really want? So you don't go build the giant, giant version and waste time, and waste money, and things like that. So what do people actually, actually want? This is what I think they want. First of all, people don't know what they want. If you think back to the Ford example, he didn't go ask people what they wanted because they would have said they wanted a faster horse. He went and made the car for them, and so people are bad at saying what they want. That's why we do research to peel back the layers, and figure out, what are those problems? And then think about, how do we solve that problem? So, in research, we want to find out where people are today. What are their struggles? What can they not do? We also want to, let's jump over to the right. We want to figure out, where do they want to be? Where are they not in their life, in their business, in whatever the scenario of your product is? Where do they want to be? And then we want to listen for these obstacles that are stopping them. So I think a lot of entrepreneurs get intimidated by research but if you break it down like this and you think where people are today, where they want to be in the future, and what are the obstacles that are stopping them, that's gonna help you do a lot smarter research, and make it a lot easier to identify this solution. Because, the next question becomes, what do you build? Like, it's great to have this knowledge, but still, what do I build? And what you build is you want to figure out, this. It's kind of like two bodies of water, and you need to build a bridge that's going to take them from where they are today to where they want to be. So we want to figure out how to solve this problem. And we're gonna walk through some examples, don't worry. We want to solve their struggle before we build our giant dream, because as entrepreneurs, we're dreamers, we have all these ideas. That's wonderful, but no one wants your big mega, your version, they just want the teeny thing that's going to solve that problem that is driving them crazy right now in their life or business relationships, whatever it is. And when you can solve that little thing that to you may not be very exciting, but to them is life changing, when you can do that, you create easier marketing for yourself, and you'll see that when we get to landing pages and things. You're going to be able to get to market faster, because you're going to have a clear promise to people. One struggle that a lot of companies have is, whenever they go to tell people about their product, especially when they're working on say their homepage or something, you know you've been to the homepage of some companies, any you think, what do you do? It's very confusing. So, you're going to be able to have a greater promise for those people. Then you're gonna have more success stories, because peoples' problem will actually be solved. They're gonna love you, they're gonna be raving fans, tell all their friends about you. Word of mouth, and that's gonna help you grow, and maybe even you'll spend less time and money on marketing because you've created a product that solves such a problem, that people are going to tell everyone about it. They're so excited. I was just actually telling the makeup woman earlier this morning about this, like aging wrinkle thing, and I am so passionate about it, and now she's gonna go buy it on Amazon. But I wanted to leave us with this quote, because it is so relevant to the idea of sticking with a solution. Don't go for your five year plan. So with that example I told you about, my business where I created the entrepreneurial course for designers to help them with their portfolios and things, one of my students emailed me this. And she said, "I am so super excited. "Seems that I get my credit card as soon as "I see any new class from you." And, I had emailed her because I had this new course I was launching, and so I told all my existing students about it, and she sent me this. And I thought, wow, that is really a great example of someone whose problem I solved because she was able to create a portfolio for her work. And I believe she got hired. And then, she's now a raving fan, and she's going to tell so many people about this. She's posting in groups that she's in. She's telling the other people that she works with and things like that. Because I delivered on the one problem, gave her a solution, and didn't pursue an idea that could have easily been like my three year version of what this whole online course thing could be. So that's the goal for you today. We want you to be able to create a solution that people are so excited about that you get quotes and feedback like this from your customers. Kenna.
Yeah, I have a question for you from online, and feel free if you guys have questions in studio too to grab the mic. And so, this goes back a little bit to when you were talking about the launch, learn repeat, launch, learn, repeat. And Michael is saying that there are some entrepreneurs who might have 20 to 30 different ideas, and then maybe a lot of people just have one or two big ideas in their lifetime. Is that same approach, launch, learn, repeat, apply to just a single product?
Okay, can you like talk to that a little bit?
So, great question first of all, but that launch, learn, repeat, that's intended to be an example of like just for one product. Of course if you're a serial idea person, just keep doing that, but yeah. So let's imagine we have an idea and our first step is to launch, like we're going to do in the class, launch our landing page, and then see if people get, see if we get peoples' email addresses. So we've launched the landing page, and we wait and see if we get email addresses. And that's our learning point, learning point number one. But then after we have those email addresses, we can talk to these people which is the whole point of making the landing page. So, I would probably email people individually and use that as an opportunity to have a conversation with them, and try to get to know more about them, understand their problem. Maybe even set up a phone call with these people to get to know them a little better, and really dig into those problems. Or, if I had a lot of people, if I was making a running product, and I had all of a sudden 100 email addresses, that's awesome. Maybe I would call some of those people one on one. Maybe I would create a survey, which I could send those people to to learn even more about them. Or maybe I would say, wow there's 20 people in Seattle, let's create a little meet up, like let's have a run, and I can talk to these people and do more research. And then whatever I learn from that, I would take it to inform the next launch, which might be version number one of the product. Then after I do that, I do some more learning, and the cool thing about the learning, I'm sure some people are getting nervous and thinking, learning is gonna take a lot of my time. But, depending on what your product is, you can have, like if it's a website or an app, you can have analytics software installed to be learning for you, but also, you can have email sequences that are going out to maybe email people and ask them questions and get feedback. Or sometimes if you have like a newsletter for your business or something, it's really smart to put in questions in those newsletters and maybe in the end have a little PS that says like, oh we have a question like, whatever the question is, or reply back and tell me this. So you should always be thinking about how in the experience can you integrate feedback loops to be constantly learning. I like to call it my growth feedback, because it's like these little slivers of information, so that you don't have to go spend two weeks on some giant research project. The other thing about research now that we're on the topic, it's really important to ask for feedback from people, especially after you've launched your product, it's really important to ask for feedback at the right time. So this is a great example, you can probably all relate. You've ever been on a flight, and you land. And then, three days later you get a email from Delta. And they say, how was your flight? But you've already gone to the place, say it's a weekend trip, and you've come back to where you are, so you don't even know which flight they're talking about. Also, it was so long ago you might not even remember. So, you want to ask for that feedback as close to the time as possible for the thing you're requesting feedback about. So what Delta should have done is after the flight, an hour later, they should text me, or send me the email. Not literally three days later, because then I forgot, and you want that feedback to have really awesome context. So yes, the goal is that. You can tweet me and email me with really great stories like this, where you say, wow I launched that first version of my thing, I did everything you told me to do, and now I have people who are sending me great feedback because I solved their problem. And honestly probably twice a week I get emails from people saying, oh my gosh I got a job at whatever company, or I have three interviews coming up, because they followed the process that I laid out for them in this product that helps people learn how to kind of present their work in this portfolio. So this is really cool and I really hope it happens to you guys too. But, when you solve their struggle, we covered some of this already, but you are able to have that clearer value proposition, make that promise so people are clear in this product, it's going to do this thing, and they're not confused. I don't know if anyone's ever used Evernote. Are there any Evernote users? Okay, so Evernote has been around for awhile, and I have tried to use them many times. If you're not familiar with Evernote, it is kind of a note taking tool, that's how I would describe it. But, my challenge whenever I first started trying to use Evernote was that I went to their homepage, and it was very confusing about what I would use it for. Because it talks about notes, there's notebooks, at the time there was things called stacks, and tags, and all these things. And to me, once I got into the actual product, I was very confused and I was overwhelmed with options of what I could do. And so for me I've never been able to kind of make Evernote a habit, and I think it's because, and this may have changed because this was years ago, but I feel like in the beginning Evernote had a little bit of a challenge because they built a product that was too complicated. And if you think back to that circle diagram with the big dark circle and the purple circle, I think Evernote went out and made the big dark circle, their probably three year version of what it should be. And so for people like me, I just was confused. And I don't know this for sure, but I noticed around that same time, Evernote was doing a lot of interesting marketing, and they were emailing their users and saying, we need you to make videos and tell us how you use Evernote. And they created this thing called the How would you use Evernote project, and they wanted their users to make these videos to describe how they used it. Presumably because they were having trouble with their marketing. That's what I, that's my hypothesis, and if you go on YouTube you can find people talking about how they use Evernote. Like dairy farmers managing their cows, architects, it's crazy. But I think it's an interesting example, because that kind of felt like a huge marketing effort to try and clarify what the product did, but if they had maybe kept it simple in the beginning, they wouldn't have had that problem, and they wouldn't have had to spend that time and money, and energy trying to get their users to help them describe to everyone, like what the heck do you do with this thing? Also when you have that clearer version of your product, you are going to get to market a lot faster, because you're not building the 10 story building, you're building a one story building in the beginning. Increased customer successes and outcomes. Create raving fans like that woman we just saw, and you're going to increase word of mouth and loyalty hopefully. And so, we're going to see how we are going to do the research to look at where people are, where they want to be, and what the obstacles are, and then we're also gonna go through coming up with that first version of the product, and creating that landing page so we can collect emails, and hopefully either get a go on the idea, or no go, because that's fine too, that's a definite reality, and if it is a no go, we're also going to talk about, what do you do? Is that the end of the road? What should your next step be? Should you stay with the idea and do more research to try and figure out where in the whole process you maybe missed something. Because that can happen easily as well.