Top 6 Product Lessons from Mud Stages - Mud Soaked (2023)

Do you need inspiration to create great products? Here are six lessons from Slush's stage talks over the years, ranging from topics like P/M tuning, MVP, and customer onboarding to using psychology in product design.

Susanne Hyttinen

chief editor,

1. June 2021

15 minutes

Something extraordinary is just around the corner.... In anticipation of those goodies, here are some of the best lessons from Slush's stage talk.Products🇧🇷 We'll take you on a journey through different aspects of what makes a great product, when your MVP should start, when you know your product really worked, and how to use other methods like customer onboarding and community. The composition can be applied to ensure the continued success of your product.

Lesson #1: Products do not change basic human needs; They reduce the friction inherent in solving existing problems.

Lesson #2: Put people at the center of product development: use psychology to your advantage

Lesson #3: MVP: Understand what to test and when to test it

Lesson #4: Find that coveted S/M fit - be a roach and don't get too hung up on one idea

Lesson #5: Designing for Customer Onboarding Success

Lesson #6: How to make people fall in love with your community

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Lesson #1: Products do not change basic human needs; They reduce the friction inherent in solving existing problems.

“Human needs rarely change, solutions always do.” – Des Traynor, co-founder of Intercom

What human need are you responding to?Let's get the basics right. When designing a product, the initial question should be what problem the product solves. AintercomDes Traynor, the constant in the product equation is human needs: “Ever since humans existed, we have wanted to write long, boring stories. We used to hire people to write them on parchment. Today we write them on Medium”.

Use technology to streamline the demand response process.Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey reiterates the human need perspective: "Take a human desire that's been around for a long time and use modern technology to amplify it." If you look at the most successful tech companies, especially in the consumer space, they always take the same human needs and solve them through new technology. I likeCombustibleThe former vice president of products at Ankur Jain points out that in his case it was mobile, but ten years ago there was a different version of Tinder.

Focus on the fluidity of the product to solve the problem, word of mouth will follow.The key question is: "Will this new technology make it cheaper, faster, or easier for our customers to move forward in their lives?" Brian Norgard, Tinder's chief product officer, emphasizes simplicity, especially when getting started. Once he identifies the need, first focus on creating a great product that is fluid and simple; this will help you get the word of mouth advantage. Word of mouth is much higher when you're reducing the friction associated with solving a basic human need than when you're trying to create a problem that your product can solve. the ideal situation what he wants to achieve is to create the "wrist-twisting" effect: to make a product so addictive and enjoyable that people would literally twist their friends' wrists to look at it.

Let your product evolve over time, don't fall in love with your solution.Des Traynor argues that tectonic changes in technology show exactly why you need to fall in love with your product, not your solution. Telcos were obsessed with the idea that they were SMS companies that exist to send SMS. When Whatsapp came along and did a much better job of solving the underlying need to "help me connect with my friends", the global SMS infrastructure was wiped out in three years.

Lesson #2: Put people at the center of product development: use psychology to your advantage

Using cognitive science and psychology in UX.How users experience your product ultimately plays out in their heads. The important finding is: the human brain does not work in a rational and systematic way; must develop products for our brain, sometimes irrational and messy. I likefourteen daysGame UX consultant Celia Hodent presents in Slush 2019 we are guided and limited by our perception, memory and attention; Three things to consider when designing your product.

perception = subjective

Attention = little

memory = fallible

  • perception🇧🇷 As a construction of the mind, our perception is inherently subjective. It depends on prior knowledge and changes depending on the context. Therefore, it is not certain that what is intended for a product, in the case of Fortnite, a game, is what people will see. That's why you need to test from the beginning.
  • Memory🇧🇷 Memory is fallible and ultimately an inaccurate reconstruction. We also forget many things: the embossing of the main memory is therefore an essential feature in a product.
  • Notice.Attention is scarce, so it's important to keep up with the changes so they don't become overwhelming.

With these limitations in mind, Fortnite designed its games with the following structure:

Game UX = Usability + Ability to compromise.Here, ease of use refers to people understanding the purpose and what they need to do. On the other hand, the ability to participate is related to the motivation that users must have to play and learn the things they must learn to play and master it.

Use intrinsic motivation

superhumanThe CEO and founder of Rahul Vohra thought along the same lines; They deliberately used game design principles in their product to harness human motivation and make enterprise software feel like a game. Human motivation can be roughly divided into two categories, intrinsic and extrinsic. The latter refers to the type that is essentially based on obtaining rewards. But otherwise, creating extrinsic reward structures tends to undermine intrinsic motivation.

So the most important thing to focus on isintrinsic motivation, which is why Vohra argues that we should focus on game designgamification.He shared five key factors in game design; Goals, Emotions, Controls, Toys and Flow. From them, he drew seven lessons we should use to harness intrinsic motivation and make really great products.

1. Goals: A defining characteristic of games; It should be specific (clear inbox), achievable (introduction and lesson shortcuts), and rewarding (zero inbox = a sense of triumph).

  • Lesson 1: Set goals that are specific, achievable, and worthwhile

2. Emotions: The best games generate strong emotions because they are the basis of our memory. To do that, you need to be able to analyze emotions, and you need a vocabulary for that. One of Rahul's examples of such tools wasroda de plitchick.

  • Lesson 2: Design for differentiated emotions

3. The command: Controls can be the main reason for the success of a game. The idea of ​​video game controllers is that they sit perfectly so that you can drive them as hard and fast as you want without stopping your movement.

  • Lesson 3: Design controls that are not only fast but also robust

4 toys: The best games are built with toys because they are fun on multiple levels: both at the level of the toy and at the level of the game itself. With Superhuman, the toy is a time autocompleter, which is fun because it encourages playful exploration. .

  • Lesson 4: Create fun toys, then assemble them into games

5. río:

“Flow is a state of mind, intense concentration and focus on the present. It is so captivating that we do not worry about the past or think about the future; it is so demanding that we do not care what others think of us; it's so easy that we always know what to do next; it is so powerful that it alters our subjective experience of time; Time can pass in an instant or extend to infinity. The flow is so rewarding that our activities become intrinsically motivating, the most powerful and effective form of motivation.

how to createFlow🇧🇷 Conditions: 1) users should always know what to do next 2) they should always know how to do it 3) users should be free from distractions as interruptions demand our attention 4) users need clear and immediate feedback 5) The Users need to feel a balance between perceived skill and perceived challenge, not too high and not too low, which means sometimes we have to make our product goals harder to achieve.

  • Lesson 5: Users should always know what to do next and how to do it
  • Lesson 6: Users must be free from distractions and receive clear and immediate feedback
  • Lesson 7: Balance Highly Perceived Skills with Highly Perceived Talent
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Lesson #3: MVP: Understand what to test and when to test it

"It's good to get an idea of ​​how people react to your product, even if the answer is no, it helps you develop a better product." 🇧🇷Edith Harbaugh, CEO and co-founder of LaunchDarkly

As the concept of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) became popular with the rise of the Lean Startup movement, the question always arises: should you protect your secrets or build in the open? LaunchDarkEdith Harbaugh believes that instead of building your product in stealth mode, you should let everyone know about your product and find out.someonewho is interested in trying it. And any kind of reaction is better than indifference, according to Chad Fowler, former general manager of Microsoft startups: "It's much better to create something that people hate than to create something that people don't really care about."

sombraTiina Nieminen describes building products as a tedious balancing act between perfection and time to market. At every step you should feel a little ashamed of what you have created. Usually, no one is completely satisfied with the final product: "I have yet to meet a person who is completely satisfied with the final product; it just means that their vision was bold enough, and that they managed to get some tough deals along the way." . ”

.... But when you pitch an MVP, be careful what you try.

the promontory he is a strong advocate of failing fast in order to succeed sooner. Prototype as soon as possible, but be very aware of what you are trying to learn through any given iteration. Whether you're creating a mockup, proof of concept (POC), or MVP, this is important. These…

  • …trying to reduce the risk of a core technology
  • …create an MVP with your clients to reduce noise and gain clarity on what you should be doing

How much "minimum" should be included in the MVP?

In other words, you can date amaximumuseful product? While Harbaugh and Fowler believe that a mass release is possible, at least a few iterations are often required. The feedback you get from the build-measure-learn cycle fuels the fire of the product development process (the good kind). Large launches may be more suitable for high marketing impact, which is not necessarily ideal for product development.

.... However, your vision as a founder ultimately determines what MVP "level" is appropriate for your product.

2012 whencanvasAs they prepared for their product launch, they faced a lot of pressure from investors to pitch an MVP as the lean startup movement was on the rise. But what is the smallest thing you can start to be successful? Canva decided to take a full year instead of the usual three or six months to hone their product into something they knew was good enough for them. Any MVP that is for you is specific to your product and market. Customer feedback is important, but you need to align it with your vision – only you know when you're ready to launch an MVP and if it's really working for you.

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Launching an MVP is a great way to iterate, but it's not the only way. You can also work on smaller iterations without releasing the product. Canva did this with its integration, focusing on the onboarding experience and experimenting with various technical tricks to streamline the process before the product was fully released.

Lesson #4: Find that coveted S/M fit - be a roach and don't get too hung up on one idea

The ultimate goal of all MVP iteration dynamics and the Build-Measure-Learn cycle is to get to the Holy Grail of every startup: Product-to-Market-Fit (P/M-Fit). In terms of revenue (especially for SaaS companies), this point in the startup journey is often associated with the "impossible" revenue stage of 0-1M, where around 80% of startups fail.

0-1M... impossible🇧🇷 0-1M is the impossible stretch because it is the P/M adjustment phase where 80% or more of the companies fail.

1-10 million... unlikely🇧🇷 1-10M is a brutal grind for founders, you have real clients but still can't hire a world class leadership team.

10-100 million... unavoidable;By the time you reach 10 million, you will have gained enough momentum for you to eventually make it.

The questions that startup founders constantly ask are: 1) How do you achieve P/M matching and 2) how do you know it has actually been achieved? here is somethingSegmentPeter Reinhardt had to say.

You must be a cockroach looking for a matching S/M

Doesn't it sound very appealing to be a cockroach? That means you need to maximize your shots on target. Be thrifty to lengthen your runway, and give yourself more room to test as many ideas as possible to get a little closer to the iteration that paves the way to success. Create, launch and test multiple product ideas – beat the odds as much as possible.Some terms:

  • The P/M adjustment has a success code, not an error thetraditional wisdomdoesn't necessarily hold up - you don't have to fail to succeed. According to Reinhardt, being able to hit the P/M setting once actually improves your odds from 22% to 34%, while failure has no such effect.
  • You need to know how to debug fast enough. Segment had two big ideas before accidentally discovering his iteration of the Holy Grail.
  • Don't get too attached to your original idea.The product that ultimately leads to success may be something very different from what you initially envisioned. Segment's product eventually grew out of a tool they developed to aggregate data from Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, and Mixpanel.

How You Know You've Got It: The Magical State of P/M Tuning

How is that now? According to Reinhardt, everything is going crazy in his business. Instead of just passing, the P/M adjustment suddenly makes everything easier. People suddenly want to work for you; Customers want to help your business; investor service; His focus as founder is shifting from P/M tuning to marketing growth. As Reinhardt would say, the P/M setting turns you from roach to roach:

“The suitability of the product for the market does not seem like an empty interest; There doesn't seem to be a ray of hope from a casual conversation with a potential client. It feels like all of a sudden everything is going wrong in your business, it feels like a proud adrenaline rush that people actually care, it actually feels like a little bit of a loss of control because customers are telling you what they want and it is not necessarily so. not anymore. so much about your vision.”

Lesson #5: Designing for Customer Onboarding Success

"Customer onboarding can be your most important growth strategy"— Casey Winters, Eventbrite director of product

Most products experience high turnover from the start; People try your product once and never come back. Because of this,EventbriteCasey Winters of , says that for many companies, improving customer onboarding is the main driver of user retention. Since these retained users are likely to attract others, onboarding can also be your number one acquisition factor. "Most scalable strategies for attracting new users are about keeping loyal users by attracting others," says Casey. "Either they tell other people and the product goes viral, or they create content that you can distribute."

Integration has also been key to Canva's success, according to co-founder Cameron Adams. Since your users were not designers, they might be wary of making design changes. Effective integration was key to giving users confidence in their abilities and the courage to use the software; After all, you can't lock your users into your product if they're too afraid to use it.

How do you actually design an onboarding process?

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According to Casey, your users are in the onboarding phase until they get used to using your product. Take an initial cohort of users and track them over time. The point at which you stop losing people from the cohort is your “habit moment.” To get there, you need to figure out three things:

    1. key action– What is the user action that best correlates with a user realizing that they received value from your product?
    2. designated frequency– How often does a user want to receive this amount?
    3. retention interval– How many times does a user need to perform the key action with the specified frequency to develop a habit?

Lesson #6: How to make people fall in love with your community

“As an entrepreneur, you first have to be a community builder”– Eros Picture, ex director de marketing de Discord

Integration alone may not be enough for retention and acquisition.People need to not only fall in love with your product, but also with the community you are building. Building an authentic community and relationships with your users can be a much more cost-effective way to acquire and, more importantly, retain customers than spending money on social media ads. Here are some keys to cracking the community building code:

1. Back to MVP - start early:Community building begins even before you launch your product. You don't want to launch your product before it's ready, but it's also important to collect customer feedback well in advance of launch and start building a community from the day you have your idea. Building your community around an MVP early on can attract your first superfans and get people talking about your product before launch.

This of course depends on the nature of your product: B2B companies,usually,may not have the same impetus for early community building. However, there are notable exceptions like Slack.

2. Importance of intuition and the founder-product-community fit.If you're not already part of the community you're building for, you may be building the wrong product. alternativediscordCMO Eros Resmini stresses the importance of founding product fit; If you've experienced the problem or are passionate about it, you'll understand some nuances of troubleshooting that others don't. Namelyin itself is not a new idea– but can also be used in the context of community building. Dedication It gives you the insight you need to build community, and also helps you navigate those confusing moments when someone else would rather throw in the towel.

Community intuition is critical to eventually scaling the communitythrough the more technical processes of defining and measuring KPIs, hiring and creating teams to work on those issues. The focus is on scaling the community that the founder already knows; While others can help with more technical aspects, the intuition of the community is in charge. In the initial phase, it can also be useful for the founder himself to be actively involved in the community, especially if this is normal for him.

3. Accelerate the growth of a small but promising community.The key is not to spend more on advertising, but to constantly maintain the health of the community.

3.1 Make sure your users have a good experience.When someone has a bad experience, they don't come back; It shows up in the engagement metrics. An essential part of a good experience is community moderation.

  • You must have a set of values ​​that you act upon internally and externally; These values ​​should inform community guidelines.Policies need to be implemented early, and it's good to get input from key members of the community. This way, you can avoid policy blind spots and foster a sense of ownership that ensures you have advocates in the community when issues arise.
  • Be consistenthow to address problems and make sure you address the behavior and not the person.

3.2 Reward your community, especially members who help build communities. Your super users who post, moderate, or answer questions improve the customer experience for everyone.

3.3 Have fun with your users🇧🇷 Today's consumer expects a relationship with the platform or product - be playful.

4. When should I use paid acquisition instead of community building to grow?The balance between these two can vary not only between starter types but also between growth stages. Resmini says that paid acquisition up front is better for testing what works, rather than scaling, which is best driven by organic, community-based growth. “Until the fifth year of the company's existence, we did not get significant amounts of paid advertising. We owe almost 100% of our growth to the organic community and influencer growth.”

Influencer marketing falls somewhere between traditional paid advertising and community building. On Discord, during the initial growth, they organically saw some influencers using their product. Eventually they started working with them. Why? It's important that you get people who are really passionate about your product to talk to other people about it. They will be the ones who can provide the best feedback that "really makes sense" and addresses more complex aspects of your product. This allows you to build business relationships for the right reasons and with significant value.

5. How do you track performance in building your online community?Every company, community, platform, and team is different. So measuring performance is not easy, but you should look for community-level metrics that make sense in the context oftuthe business. You need them to develop your own understanding and justify allocating resources to your investors, rather than just chatting about ad spend. So how do you determine what those metrics are?

Look at engagement: What are your most important interactions? You need to determine the most valuable interactions in terms of the success of your product, whether they are users talking about product features, users talking to each other, users providing feedback, orAnything else🇧🇷 Once you've identified what these key interactions are, you can develop a math worksheet on the number of impressions required to be successful and how to achieve them within a defined time frame.

Sign up for a few more classes at Slush on December 1-2, or if you'd rather not wait,Registrationfor slush nodes.


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