Cool, you have an MVP. Now What?
As a follow up to our "Building Products with Empathy" post from June, we explore the not-so-sexy side of building products: working with testers, making gut decisions and crucial early iterations.
As we discussed (perhaps a bit too much) in last month's blog post, a few of us here at Relink are hatching up an experiment. As with any product journey, it has various stages, each asking for a different dose of IQ, EQ, and gut.
We started out with empathizing with the problem at hand (hat tip to Professor George Sampson for instilling this design thinking methodology), learned about the audience we are trying to reach and started scheming.
We made a small post on a recruiter-only Facebook group, and in no time got a whole bunch of people to agree to test (not actually test, there is a big difference). Around 70 people gave us their emails to become testers.
We then proceeded to start testing with this bunch. Out of those that signed up, just around 30% ended up giving downloading the Chrome extension and giving us feedback.
In terms of sample set size, it is miniscule. In terms of testing the market and user interest, it is meaningful. Since testing started, early feedback indicates both a strong theoretical interest in the Chrome extension, its features and value proposition, as well as a slight commercial one—granted the features work and function as promised.
This is where gut comes in: do we continue developing this user-facing product? What does our gut say? Endless scientific papers have been written about business and the role of gut in making decisions (our favourite are by Professor Saras Sarasvathy) and a good portion of them talk about the importance of gut in making rational business decisions. Based on the above-mentioned information, what would you do? We'd love to hear.
What are we doing?
Trying to solve a problem that is best explained in a Tweetstorm:
Let’s say you run a company with 1000 people. You are aiming to grow 15% and churning 15%
…to hit that target you need to hire 300 people per year
…on average, your HR department will have to look at 118 profiles per hire
That’s 35, 400 CVs that you will manually asses to decide if you want to start a process or not. Adding up to 177 CV’s a day
Advances in machine learning can help recruiters quantify how a person fits into a role, and the degree of that fit
Up until here we are good! We’ve built Marlowe API that does exactly that. It scores candidates to jobs and helps recruiters hire faster & smarter.
"This is where gut comes in: do we continue developing this user-facing product? What does our gut say?"
The only problem is that regular people can’t use an API (most don’t know what an API means)— so we build a simple tool that uses the API on their behalf and helps them hire faster and smarter.
The numbers, in all their glory (or lack thereof):
- Users installed: 64% of those who signed up ended up installing the app
- Users who gave feedback: 47% of installs gave feedback
- 30% of users that signed up ended up giving feedback
The process is still ongoing and we are still busy trying to make a commercial, product and enterprise case for the standalone product before either investing more resources into it or axing it completely. A few things we learned along the (short) journey:
Gotta kill your darlings
Quality not quantity of testers: 5 passionate testers are more valuable than 100 voyeurs
Use bare bones UI, that works. No color, no splash, no BS
Send out emails that are short, coherent and easy to understand
Assume the user is intelligent (because she is)
Have patience and a dose of luck
Just because you have 500,000 alpha or beta testers doesn’t mean that they all are interested. Real life gets in the way of product development, as does people’s busy schedule
Great projects, like great friendships that last, are gardens. When taken care of, they shift, they grow, slowly. They endure over time, gaining a personality and reflecting their environment. When something dies, the gardener prunes, replants and grows again.
Polish, sick PR and perfection aren't nearly as important as good light, good drainage and a passionate gardener.
Here we grow.