The 36th Edition - On the Activation Metric [Deep Dive], Dumb but Successful Products and “Who’s Driving?”
Do you know when we hit peak Stoicism?
Hey, George here! 👋🏽 If you’re new, subscribe to get this newsletter every week 👇🏽
Stoicism as a topic hit its peak exactly around March-April 2020, when the COVID pandemic began. (source)
Read: The Activation Metric
Today, I want to help you triangulate the information on the activation metric.
I hope you enjoy this like I did!
Activation becomes super-important once you hit Product/Market Fit. Usually, that’s a sign to start scaling and pouring money into advertising and sales.
The growth/sales teams benefit from this knowledge the most. It enables sales to optimise the sales experience.
In Product-led Sales/Growth, activation is the leading metric for conversion, but it’s more actionable in the shorter term than conversion (which usually has a longer cycle, say 30 days).
(With conversion, you can run 1 experiment every 30 days. With the activation at ~ 10 days, you can run 3X experiments in the same time.)
Key things to remember when measuring:
It’s not about the onboarding funnel optimisation (you can really trick yourself there).
It is about defining the “aha moment”, but you need to carefully match the “aha moment” to the Job-to-be-done.
Don’t forget that it serves a higher God: conversion. If you find a metric that doesn’t correlate with conversion, it has no use.
To go deeper, read these 2 amazing articles:
Watch: Solve Problems Where Two Forces Intersect
In the 34th Edition, I wrote about “eigenquestions”.
They define the map for your product or business when they intersect. Many great products and businesses have been built at the intersection of finely tuned eigenquestions.
This silly video at first sounds very basic (“solve people’s problems" :eyeroll:). But it highlights something I’ve found fascinating when I studied Jobs-to-be-done from Bob Moesta’s work.
Great product innovation is found at the intersection of two vectors, two trade-offs.
Your kids want a pet, but you don’t want to get them a dog. Enter the Pet Rock.
I always had pain of carrying the CD’s everywhere. And I had the joy of music.
We can reframe it as “I loved listening to music, but I hated carrying CD’s everywhere.” Enter the iPod.
Granted, the iPod was a modern miracle of engineering (so a bit more complex than a Pet Rock), but the principle still applies.
Hope you enjoyed this.
All that talk of activation & product/market fit reminds me of the idea that startups and products are solution vectors looking for traction in an endless problem space. It all connects…
Technology is applied science. Science is the study of nature. Mathematics is the language of nature. Philosophy is the root of mathematics. All tightly interrelated.
Naval Ravikant (source)
I was also struck by how poetic this line from “Meditations” was.
In the human life time is but an instant, and the substance of it a flux, and the perception dull, and the composition of the whole body subject to putrefaction, and the soul a whirl, and fortune hard to divine, and fame a thing devoid of certainty. And, to say all in a word, everything that belongs to the body is a stream, and what belongs to the soul is a dream and vapor, and life is a warfare and a stranger's sojourn, and after- fame is oblivion.
Marcus Aurelius, philosopher (source)
Sales as Discovery: I’ve been reading “The Minimalist Entrepreneur” by Sahil Lavignia (the founder of Gumroad). One idea really changed my mind. I thought you should launch first to get a product out, then iterate. He says that you shouldn’t launch until you hit product/market fit. But how do you get people to talk to you then, if you haven’t launched? Most people only notice new things when those things have become popular. He suggests treating the sales process as an opportunity for discovery. Only when your community is humming and people are reporting that they’d really hate it if you closed the product down, then you launch. (source)
If You Are Offering a Service, Call It a Product: Great thought from James Altucher. He reflects on how originally, Oracle claimed they had a database. But once their customers bought, Oracle would send in a team of consultants to help “install” the database to fit customer needs. They really were a consulting company for the first couple of years. I realised this is the oldest trick in the product manager’s book: running a Concierge or Wizard of Oz test, duh! Brilliant. (source)
Who’s The Driver: We’ve been kicking off new initiatives in our team. Due to the nature & size of the team, we’ve had to resort to old project management tools like RACI matrices and such. Mentally, I use a 2-step process to decide on this:
Get the team to point out where we are on the picture of a double diamond (alignment);
Look at the photo below to see who’s driving & who’s navigating. (source)
How would you rate this week's newsletter? 🤔
If you found this newsletter valuable, consider sharing it with friends, or subscribing if you haven’t already.
Have a great week ahead & see you next week.