Focused

By Niall Maher

The Biggest Risks when Innovating

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The Biggest Risks when Innovating
By Niall Maher • Issue #29 • View online
 “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is often just a little patience.” - Shane Parrish

The four things you should validate before pressing ahead with an idea or new product.
Marty Cagan of the Silicon Valley Product Group calls them “The Four Big Risks”.
Validating your value, usability, feasibility and viability before going to market can save you a lot of time and heartache.
Marty stated that the most challenging thing to figure out is usually the value risk, so I have added most of my thoughts there.
1) Value risk
Will customers buy it or choose to use it.
The art of a good customer interview can help with this if you are pre-product or just brainstorming.
In reality, you want to test demand and then test the value qualitatively and quantitatively. Having hard data is much easier to reason than just speaking to others.
Demand testing
A couple of my favourite demand tests are the fake door demand test and landing page demand test.
The landing page is my favourite for a new idea since you can set up a site as if your product already exists.
You can then add a call to action such as free trials or paid options that the user clicks that take them to a page telling them you are hoping to launch the service soon and that you are gauging interest and would like to speak. You can collect their details if they give them.
If you can collect enough people, you should have much more confidence that people are interested in what you are offering, especially if they are willing to talk to you after telling them that it doesn’t exist yet.
Like the landing page, with the Fake door, we introduce a button or section to our app to see if our existing customers would be interested in this. Again, after they reach your juicy trap, you can tell them that you were gauging interest and would love to speak with them.
The nice part about the Fake door is you can gauge the activity into this feature against our existing user activity and see if this might be a worthwhile opportunity.
Qualitative testing
Once you have gotten some customers willing to part with their emails to chat, you have already started the qualitative testing process.
Talking to users and getting insights is the most valuable thing you can do to shape your product.
With qualitative testing, you aren’t trying to prove anything; that will come with quantitative testing.
By interviewing customers, you can ask if they would pay for the product, spend a significant amount of time on helping you (which is paying in its own right) and then we can roll in some of our usability testings when we have a prototype to make sure we are building what our customers expect, and they are still excited to use it.
Quantitative testing
This is where we get some evidence! Evidence and the other tests can give us the confidence to push forward.
We want to see if we are getting the traffic or interest we expect.
By having analytics in our live-data prototypes, fake landing pages and fake doors, we can also start to test quantitatively.
If people are clicking your fake landing page paid option a lot, you might get some good insights into if someone would pay for the product.
When running our live-data prototype tests, we can gauge if someone wants to use it. Read more on that here.
2) Usability risk
Can users figure out how to use it?
This one is where you need to sit with customers and see if they can or will use it as intended.
A decent prototype can be used before you start to build to test your flows.
If you make a user feel silly or stupid, no matter how good a product is it is unlikely that they will want to use it.
3) Feasibility risk
Can our engineers build what we need with the time, skills and technology we have.
A trap we can often fall into with our excitement.
It’s essential when planning things we don’t sell a dream we can’t deliver.
If you are designing a prototype that isn’t possible or testing things you know you can’t deliver, the other tests could have their data skewed as you try to provide a peeled-back version that people don’t want.
4) Business viability risk
Often overlooked but probably most important,
does this solution also work for the various aspects of our business?
Can your business legally, ethically and financially support this?
Does it fit in with the other products and existing sales channels?
Will it be cost-effective to acquire customers?
IRL Meetup this week
If you are a developer or looking to connect with some really talented developers in Dublin you should come along to the Codú Meetup this week.
I’ll be providing pizzas so you just have to bring some basic social skills. 😉
Web Developer - Networking Event (and drinks mostly), Thu, Jul 28, 2022, 6:00 PM | Meetup
Google Doc Features I didn't know about...
This Tweet by Rob blew me away! I have boosted a lot of my doc writing with this one:
Rob Lennon 🗯
Google Docs is used by 1.8+ billion people worldwide.

The recent updates are perfection.

11 g-docs features so good, you'll kick yourself if you didn't know:
Blog picks 🎯
App/Site of the week 🗓
Beautiful logins & payments for any website.
End ❤️
That’s all for this week, have a great week ahead, and I’ll chat with you next week! 👋
You can always reply to this email if you want to say hello or get in touch. 💌
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Niall Maher

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