past

How many times in our life we look back at certain times and wonder what we could have done differently. This self-realization of what we could have done differently in the past for a better now for a relationship, job, skills keeps hitting us.

Why do we have to ponder in it and waste hours thinking about what we could have done differently?

If you can mend your relationship now, go do it. If you can acquire skills now to be a better version of yourselves, get on to it.

Things of the past should not affect our present. Time is the most precious asset of our life.

Bigbasket story

All this while I have read books on Zappos, Amazon, Walmart, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks and MacDonalds. They mostly spoke about companies created in America. Bigbasket is a homegrown company and the author happens to be HR of the book Saying No to Jugaad: The Making of Bigbasket.

The book talks about a similar element of a successful startup playbook, I tweeted yesterday.

I liked the clarity of founders from start in building the customer’s first organization and technology is an enabler. The author cited many examples of buying external software for logistics and the CRM unlike the rest building it inhouse.

I also liked the mention of hiring freshers out of college, giving them training and believing in them. The experiment gave innovation, loyalty and better team building for BigBasket.

Giving importance to diversity and training the company was able to give superior customer experience, unlike the counterparts who were winning customers over discount.

Crossing the Chasm

After 3 years of the purchase, I finally finished reading Crossing the Chasm. It was one of my favorite reads in 2019. The book talks about types of customers, the journey of product development and crossing the chasm.

The author identifies customers in 5 different types, from my understanding I have shortened it to just 2 buckets.

Visionary 

Visionary ones are the early adopters, ones who help with all their inputs in the early days of product development. 

  • Risk-taker
  • Price Sensitive
  • Early Adopter
  • Likes the limelight
  • Evangelist
  • Happy with modular development
  • Visionary will try out your product when it is still under development.
  • Insights from visionary will take your product to the next stage.
  • Fast product
  • Easier to use
  • Elegant architecture
  • Unique functionality

Pragmatists

Pragmatists are the users who will pay for your product and the growth of your organization. They have the largest install base.

  • Stick well-established products.
  • Risk-averse, companies spend huge on marketing to lure them.
  • Price incentive 
  • Want complete stack
  • Seek for comparison with other existing products
  • Requires training, hand-holding
  • Act as a user, not evangelist
  • Expect 3ed party integrations
  • Quality of support

and crossing the Chasm

A phase, stage crossing the chasm defines you have survived all the hardship and arrived. You have got real users whose pain is solved via your product.

Crossing the chasm requires a lot of patience, persistence, and perseverance. On top of all this, you need believers as friends, peers, and family to support you through the journey. Do not forget the visionaries who took all the risk, bet on your and came on board to be your cheerleader as well as early adopters 

feature

Your customer is going to use 30-40% of what you have sipped in your product features religiously. Rest is just for a parity set of features with your competitors. In case you are building an enterprise product, minimalism, and simplicity can go against you and surprise your users.

Since incarnation users have been conditioned to use, work on bloated systems, a change from it to a cleaner interface and minimal set of a feature will make them feel they are overpaying. This is something how our human mind is conditioned.

The only thing that will work in this scenario is delivering 10X more value from their current bloated system.

days

There are some days in life when things appear harder than it is. The situations, scenarios, and instances will feel like falling apart. This should not affect you, your virtues.

For how much is lettuce sold? Fifty cents, for instance. If another, then, paying fifty cents, takes the lettuce, and you, not paying it, go without them, don’t imagine that he has gained any advantage over you. For as he has the lettuce, so you have the fifty cents which you did not give. So, in the present case, you have not been invited to such a person’s entertainment, because you have not paid him the price for which a supper is sold. It is sold for praise; it is sold for attendance. Give him then the value, if it is for your advantage. But if you would, at the same time, not pay the one and yet receive the other, you are insatiable, and a blockhead. Have you nothing, then, instead of the supper? Yes, indeed, you have: the not praising him, whom you don’t like to praise; the not bearing with his behavior at coming in.

Epicetus

In the end, we are all unique and our way of seeing life differs. Skyscrapers of our opinions are built on our conditioning, biases. Your journey of life should be in your hands.

value proposition

Each product is built on providing a value proposition to its consumers. What you as a product wants to be and how you are perceived by the customer has to be in sync.

If Uber will not provide you a cab, what will you do with its app? Its value proposition is the premise of providing cabs on a tap.

At the same time if facebook had a shitty interface to access, add, connect with friends no one would have spent their time on it. People switched from myspace and Orkut to Facebook because the user experience was a big change.

I was reading the book written by Hari and liked the part where he mentions while we were focusing on inventory management, our competitors were busy providing a sexy user interface.

Early days of product development requires absolute focus, getting carried away is easy. Once you have a product value proposition sorted, what to focus when in product development journey becomes easy and impactful.

stages

Product development has many levers. A customer will not just switch to your product on your premise of being better. They would like a first-hand experience. At the same time, not all customers are equal, each has its unique pain and desire to progress.

It is important to stay in a bigger vision while listening to the customer and delighting them. It is like crossing stages of some video games with a checklist.

  1. Other software has these features, why and how are you different?
  2. You have built this, it is helpful. What more can you do for me?
  3. You have solved 70% of my challenges, can you now fix the rest of the 30%?

Some of the common questions I get to hear during my sales meetings. In any product development, what matters most is :

  1. Is your software eliminating some pain?
  2. Are you meeting the customers’ desire to progress?  
  3. How much of a habit change your software is adding to the customer’s daily workflow?
  4. Will the customer pay a fair price?
  5. How much can a customer trust you?
  6. What is the switching cost involved?
  7. What incentives your software provides every stakeholder in the case of Enterprise SaaS?

Meditating over these questions will help in building a product with a clear focus and a goal. 

brain constantly changes

Our brain constantly changes. A lot of it depends on how we perceive things or align our beliefs. A large chunk of it depends on the environment, people around us. 

With the advancement of technology and the constant flow of information, it is easy to change our minds. Sometimes in good, while mostly in a biased manner. 

Get over the echo chamber, meet, read, listen to opinions from externals. It will help in building our belief more rationally. 

I was listening to the Freakonomics podcast and heard Robert Sapolsky talking on the same subject. 

projection

I don’t understand this craziness of selling oneself: looks, knowledge or thought leadership over social media. Are we so alone or shallow from inside or are we scared that no one is listening to us?

We have stopped living for ourselves but our projections. How we look, what we read, what we were or what are our opinions. But inside we are broken, scared and shallow.

The monkey mind is making us dance on the tunes of externalities. How can we expect love in return when we do not love ourselves or with our solitude?