Establishing Efficiency Goals
So, the last one is efficiency. So, efficiency is a tough one to explain, because efficiency ultimately really is about how to make things easier or better. Like if it's a company, for example, that has internal communications issues, you can talk about, for a corporate client, you can talk about an extranet, if it's for us here, now, as a startup, one of the things that we can do, already I know brand identity and stuff, we can do a style guide early. Like one of the ways that I execute startups is I don't design the screens, I do a stylescape, which is just a general look and feel of the identity and the brand etc, we actually have an episode on YouTube on the School channel and the School network on stylescapes, and based on the stylescape then we do a more granular style guide with fonts, colors, and general aspects of the design. Why do I do that? Because again, it's designing the system, you're gonna change screens a lot, and it lets you do high fidelity comps quicker. So I get w...
ireframes and I already have a style guide, boom, screen, boom, screen. And I also do something called a startup kit, which is where I build all the modules of an application for the CEO in Keynote. Why is that good? 'Cause they can design screens to their heart's content, to present, to go to investor presentations. It's a pretty good technique to build the product in Keynote for the CEO.
Pin's on the board.
Early on, oh, dang, that's way too efficient. (students laughs) That's perfect for, so this is an example of efficiency. What I just shared as an example, those are also examples of efficiency. There's development, there's like, if we had a group of developers, it would be like GitHub, they'd be talking about all the things to make the development process more efficient. If it was the MBAs, they would be talking about, we need, whatever you guys might do, I don't know, (student laughs) for efficiency, we need a plan, we need a, I don't know.
Spreadsheet, yes, task, whatever those might be. So, go, what are the things that we need to do for our smart feed, for making everything more efficient?
Agile training, dang, you went like for the jugular, like at the beginning. Start with something fun and light, like, we need the style guide, I don't know. Agile training.
And is this for us, for the business to be more efficient, or for the product to be more efficient for the customers?
So I don't separate them.
So the reason why I wanted to do revenue.
Yeah. And the question is, it's all brainstorm anyway. Because we don't know yet, right? We're looking for a business model, which is the definition of startup at the beginning of the thing, when I'm designing a startup, I don't design the product. I design the startup. So, because this, if you design the startup, it designs itself, design thinking is a process and a framework that you can apply to problems. IBM didn't apply design thinking to a product, they actually started putting design thinking into their culture, so that the culture created the innovation. So, it's a very interesting insight. I don't design products, because I don't believe in products. The product will not make you successful. That's my belief, because I've done so many startups, and especially with product guys, with tech guys. Nine out of 10 fail. So the product didn't make 'em succeed. What is it that makes 'em succeed? 'Cause the product is just, the user is actually more important than the product. And you can get users without a product just by giving them something. So the question is value, how do you give them value and you had that in the other one, value versus ease. So, that's a hard one, 'cause the mistake that I see frequently and now I'm switching into teaching, which, let's just keep on doing the exercise, all right. I'll tell you about that mistake later. It's not a mistake, it's a prioritization issue. It's what Chris was asking for. I call it the brick effect, which is where you put a product into the market that is too much feature-rich too early. It's harder to gauge which ones are gonna stick, 'cause the user has to get through all of those features in order to figure out what the value proposition is, versus just saying, here's one feature that's valuable potentially. Notice the story of most startups that succeed. Twitter, before it was Twitter, it was actually a microblogging platform that had a bunch of other features. The microblogging or tweet was only thing that survived. You hear it over and over again. It was this big thing, it was big, this small thing. This school, it was the entire process to run an agency. That was our first product. These three exercises were what everybody said, F everything else dude, we don't really care. Those things are really cool, everything else we can get somewhere else. What did we do? (air whooshing) chopped it all off, and just did that. Happens every time. 80% of what you launch with, (air whooshing) will be gone, so, this is important. Did I just got into preacher mode there? (student laughing) (sighs) That's exhausting, sorry. For you more than for me, probably.
Are you ready for 10?
Yes, go, do it.
I think the styles, did you say stylescape?
Yes, style guide and stylescape, separate things, yes. So, stylescape, stylescape, style guide. That shortcut a lot of the work, so that you're not reworking too much too fast. I mean, and a big efficiency thing, agile is already up there. Let's talk about the product, after that whole sermon, lets talk about the product. What could make the product more efficient? (students laughs) UI, user interface design.
Yeah, UI, getting people comfortable with testing.
So we get a lot of feedback quickly.
Testing, that's a great one. A release schedule. What I mean by that is, and this goes back to agile, you have a fixed release schedule, no matter what. So you cut features instead of delay, which is what agile does actually.
I would say a tool for integrated project plan and communicating with people who are working--
I like that. flexible and remote in different locations--
Online collaboration tools, so like Slack or something like that?
Yeah, and that we're all using the same one, 'cause I think everybody's got comfort with different ones, and we're not all on one.
Good point, ah, and that brings up even another one, not just the online collaboration tools, etc, but the investor deck to present or tools to present. So I'll call that--
Flexible tools to present.
Investor tools, 'cause you're gonna make things change, etc, you just need a good framework. What else?
Early users, beta users, you need to--
Well, and I'm cutting in--
Recruit early beta users.
Yeah, I'm taking it to the next level 'cause I'm thinking of these as prospective referrers.
So, people who are--
That's a perfect one.
Really fired up about the product.
That's a really good one. And you can do that by inviting your whole mailing list, bringing them into a session, design an agenda, a session, do something similar to this with them. Have them design the product for you. I've done that for startups. I wish they listened to me, but, though they listen to their users. But that's okay. Let's go, give me two more, just two more and we're good. Efficiency tools, efficiency tools.
I think ways to distill the complexity. So like a great video that explains what we do and the power of it.
Okay, so we'll call it an explainer video.
[Woman With Brown Blouse] That's super compelling,
and viral. (students laughs)
Okay, okay, chill out there, hold on, one thing at a time. An explainer video. Compelling and viral, those are qualitative attributes.
It could be and explainer video, but it's a way to scale our outreach to the parent groups or the soccer team, and somehow have our soundbite message that we can scale.
(speakers drown each other out) interns, yeah.
But you're talking more at a technological level. So that's actually right. Scaling starts first with messaging, like a messaging style guide.
Yeah, what is that?
It's like a clear value proposition.
Just tighter, so you're not writing it every single time if you are explaining who you are--
Yeah it's a scaffolding, it's a process for, let's call it messaging framework. Not massaging, messaging framework. I know what that means, it has to be unpacked, but I know exactly what you're saying. It's like a way that you can do it very easily to all the audiences. This is actually a great framework for that. You can have each user, we can choose a value proposition to each user, then you can go down to what tone you communicate to each user, what's the content that we can give each user.
This might be in agile training, but we need a quick way to test the next 10 things. Our hypotheses, are there, this is missing, this is missing, this is missing, and we need a much faster way to test and learn than we have done to date.
It's a quick way to test hypotheses, I got it. That's a tough one, hypotheses, and it's the holy grail-ish. But you're right, it dovetails back to that. All right, cool. Let's actually score--
Just one other quick one, 'cause we've seen it balance. The difference between a technological, fully-integrated solution, versus a brute force solution that's people-dependent curation of the answer, top 10 lists.
Interesting, content-based testing.
And it actually allows you to say, without developing the entire solution.
Ooh, ooh, ooh, I love where he's going with this.
But to the user it's blind.
Love it, the user does not care. They don't know what's coming down the pipeline. That's an interesting one. That's the approach I've used for what I'm doing. Now, that's a slow boat to China, the way I'm doing it, and my business partners don't neccesarily agree with it, but now we're accelerating, but now we have extremely validated, extremely high-fidelity value propositions, so it's easy, suddenly the uptake is faster. There's a balance between all those things, and this is a voodoo class for startups. That's gonna be the next course I teach, how to do startups with voodoo. (students and instructor chuckle)
There you go, thank you Jim. Agile training desirability. You suggested it so advocate for it.
Okay, there you go, with a big smile. Stylescapes, I don't know who put that up there but--
Are stylescapes and style guide the same thing or?
They're slightly different. One is functional and operational, and one is to make the decision as to what it should look like. After you do that, then you do that. 10, cool, UI design.
That's part of agile testing, though, right?
Nine, it goes into the style guide, so, it's gonna happen concurrent. Testing, I don't know what that meant.
That's a 10.
10, release schedule. I advocated for that one, so I'm gonna give it a nine. Online tools to communicate, this is comm. This is a important one, that's a 10. Investor tools, that's a damn 10. Recruit early users, that's a 10. I'm weighing in on these now here. (student laughs) An explainer video, I don't know. I don't really care too much about it right now this second, (students laughs) but, guess we don't know what to explain yet.
It's far more important to hear from a friend about it than to--
Okay, so you're, giving it a s--
Okay, good, all right. Interns, hmm, I don't know.
That's an economics question
No intern love, I see. All right, seven, no, five. Messaging framework?
Nine, quick way of testing hypotheses, oof.
Is that kind of testing it there--
I'm putting a 10 on that one
Its a 10, so there--
These two are related, sorry, that line is in the way. I love what he said, content-based validation. That's an awesome one, just throw up a blog, start giving reviews and stuff. Advocate, Chris, what did you wanna get?
10, got it, boom. (student laughs) So 10 and 10, that's a smart one. All right, so let's go to obtainability, or doability, is do you have access to agile training and can you do it and do you have time?
I'd give that a nine.
I think we've got access to that.
Stylescape, its an eight, that's not, it's not impossible. Style guide is a little harder. It'll take a little bit more time, so is this seven, six? What?
Eight? Is that all--
Mary Michelle, it's Michelle right?
Megan, Mary Megan.
Megan, dammit, that's the M section over there.
I think it's an eight.
An eight, okay, good, I like Megan's positivity. UI design?
That's a nine, I've seen some nines.
All right, all right. All right, all right, and testing? And this is user testing, right? That's what we're talking about?
That's a 10.
Oh, that's awesome, I like to hear that.
Release schedule, it's a harder one. Tied to agile, eight. Online tools to communicate, it's choosing and testing ones.
Slack is great, eight, I like it, its easy. It has an app. Tools, investor tools?
I think we can do that.
I think that's easy.
I heard eight, nine.
Let's put a nine, I'll go nine 'cause it seems to be changing.
I'll weigh in, I'll give it an eight. I mean, I weighed in eight with her, and you did nine, so I weighed it down to eight. Recruit early, it's not a scientific process, by the way. (students laugh) Recruit early users, not a wholly impossible.
We have some.
We have them.
You have some already? What format?
10, boom, all right, there you go.
Just, the process to manage them is a nine.
Oh, you see that's a different, that's a nuance, and either we add that as a thing, or we lower the score.
We can lower it, let's go nine.
And I'm gonna lower the score to an eight.
The issue about how useful this is, how to make it useful. Explainer video, it's not easy.
To do it well, I'm gonna go five.
Dang, you're harsh, all right. I'll give it a six. (students laughs) You're right, you're right, you're right.
Its big dollars to do it well.
Although, we have to have the product kind of cooking right now.
The script and the structure is really what matters, and dealing with the damn thing in Keynote, but the challenge is really what it says, and sound effects. Interns, that's a little hard.
Nobody's into it, six. Messaging framework?
Eight, quick way of testing?
We get the...
It's tied to agile. Content-based validation? That's easier than some of these actually.
I'd give it a nine, especially if we had the interns. (Students laughs loudly)
Damn, they're interrelated. He's actually not wrong, that is actually very right. I believe in the power of interns. All right, term. Agile training, short, medium, long?
I think we're gonna be doing all this so it has to be agile.
Is that short, is that medium?
Short to medium.
Short to medium, you've gotta choose one, I'm weighing in at short. Style guide, short.
Okay, so here's the thing. Here, if you're a service provider, and you're facilitating, I weigh in transparently, and I say, I think we need to do this. If you're not a service provider, and you're in the team, you can still weigh in and advocate for what you want. That's what the point of the damn process is. Now, somebody can vote you back, and say, well, no, I think it's not as important. But then the obtainability is more objective, can we really do it? If you're the service provider, and you're confident in doing it, it weighs it up. So, that's the scoring. All right, so, UI design, short.
Short and medium, but we'll call it medium for now. Release schedule, that's tied to agile.
Online tools, that's short, short. Recruit early users, it's already been done, but can we do the management more long term?
Medium? Explainer video medium? Interns, doesn't sound like there's a lot of will for short.
Medium, at least not from the stage. Chris is in the set, I'm with Chris, so we can't weigh it because I'm not part of the startup but, messaging framework. But if I was, I would weigh on Chris's side, actually.
Just to kinda amplify the point, I actually think, sometimes, the work you've done with the curation team is part of that solution. They're a different angle on interns, but I think they're gonna end up being incredibly core.
I use interns to do this. Basically, there's a lot of energy and enthusiasm and you don't wanna curtail it. I just let 'em go and watch. It's like a Petri dish, I'm like, oh, let's see what they come up with. And wherever, there might be a range, where it's way off from what I'm thinking, or it might be a really insightful thing. Some of the biggest insights for what I'm doing have come from me just saying, let's see what they do, 'cause they're the audience. In this case or not, unless your intern is also a mom, or dad, which could be the case, who knows, but I use it as an experimental tool. That sounds evil, all right, let's move on. Messaging framework.
Short term, yes. That's a good one. Quick way of testing hypotheses. That's a medium and a short term one, but let's, everything is short on this one, Jesus. Content-based validation, probably more, I don't where you are--
I think that comes over time with usage, doesn't it?
The content-based validation? What he's talking is approach. He's talking about just starting to release like top 10 lists tomorrow.
I can short it, if there's courage.
And if there's curators, if there's people on it.
By the way, you already have so much content in your research, because I reviewed it all, and it's actually kind of tedious for me to review it, but I'm like, just start putting this shit out. Like, just put it out, put all the statistics out, like tweets, boom, boom, boom, boom, Facebook. It's kinda like the Aaron to the Moses. All right, moving on. That was the most abstract metaphor ever. (students laugh) So, give me some additions.
19, 18, 18, 18, I think he can do it, 17.
I can do it, I'm not that dumb, (students laugh) but I want you guys to participate!
17, 18, 18. = [Student] 13, 13.
17, 19, 19.
Thank you, hand of applause for all that in, yay. Let's see what comes up here. Anything above 15, a lot's coming up here. This is getting, we're a really efficient team, or this process is not great.
Do you raise your bar, when you have so many that are high?
Yeah, I'll show you how you actually do it. You might have to refilter, like, go back. In agile, it's called the voice of reason, which is you go back and you go, really? It's like Seth Meyers and Saturday Night Live, really? And the reality, too, is that it actually also does represent some of the different things and the urgency of some of the things. Okay, so there's a lot of stuff there. Agile training, stylescapes, style guide, UI design. These are all comorbid, as my therapist would say. They're all related, so this is probably one item, meaning one effort, with one resource or two. Release schedule, online tools. This one's super easy to deal with. This one's not. Messaging framework. At the end of this process, we can probably potentially do one. It's a 17 also, so it's a little lower. Quick way of testing, 19. It's high, and it is short-term. It's comorbid with this one. This one is an outlier. This is definitely one that, I do believe is important that that kind of weighs heavy. So I wouldn't say this is horrible. This is not that horrible. If it was really disparate things, and there's tech involved, but I know you guys got a lot of the tech handled. What we didn't address is mobile, 'cause this is what we're gonna do today, but some of these components, yeah, we didn't have to address application.
To do mobile right, we've gotta have a stylescape, style guide. I mean, these things--
We're gonna have to test, agile training is gonna help us get that iteration.
What marred, not marred, what switched this to being more like this was when I made the comment, and I went on my rant about designing the startup versus the product. If we would have kept to the product, this would have been prioritizing all the components of making, like the single button, the smart feed, all these things would have been efficiency for the user. So I just derailed this away from user to startup. Is that a bad or a good thing?
It's actually a good thing. It's a good thing because it's actually more valuable to them as a startup than if I would have maintained the whole thing like, is smart feed versus this feature better or worse? Actually, a quick way of testing which of those is better or worse, is more valuable than which one it is. 'Cause that's gonna change, things change a lot, variability changes. So, going back to the role of the designer, away from, and this is what I believe. So I'm not saying you guys need to do it this way, you can go straight into the feature set, just do it about features in terms of efficiency. I do believe that the role of the designer is not only as an advocate, but as a facilitator for the success of the business. You know, here's the worst thing I ran an agency for 11 years, and I took a lot of money from a lot of people to do startups, especially self-funded startups. When it's investors, I don't care. I mean, they know they're gonna lose their money. But when it's the people's money, and you know, that they're not gonna succeed, I mean, nine out of 10 startups fail, out of the 30, 40 startups I've worked on, only three are still around, at some point, I'm too empathetic. I can't take the weight. Some people are gonna say, (scoffs) they're a client, they're paying you. You're doing the work, that's it. No, I mean, if I don't believe and if I'm not willing to be an investor myself in the startup, I don't work on it. That's the that's where I got to after 10 years of doing startups, and that's what I believe today. So, your job as a designer is, are you there to design the interface, or are you there to ensure that the startup succeeds? If you're there just for the interface, I'm not, I won't do that. So, I don't know if that makes any sense to you guys.
That's getting us in our DNA, it's what we're trying to try to do.
Yeah, so either you're in it, or you're not.