Fire For Effect – A bit like Product Market Fit

In the interests of doing some A/B testing, I decided to send out this week’s dispatch midweek rather than on Sunday night (like the last two) to see what happens – and not mention dispatches in the title.

One of the most important things in a business is to get product market fit. Many entrepreneurs will be very familiar with the Steve Blank video all about this (or rather finding the repeatable and scalable business model).

Fire missions with the artillery are very similar to this (not that I am an artillery officer). In the days before precision munitions were used for everything, the first step in a fire mission was to get one artillery shell fired; when you saw it land, you could then adjust fire through observing what happened and then get the fire adjusted until you got it right where you wanted it. Then when you were happy, you then got a full fire mission (fire for effect) when all the artillery at your disposal fired in support of you. This is no different to business – try a few things and then when you’ve got it sorted, go in all guns blazing.

Throughout the Seedcamp process, this has very much been pushed hard – there are some great posts on this here and here. One of the big lessons has been that it should be possible to test things much more quickly and easily than you think (although there is only so much you can do before getting real people using your product or service). Getting to this point can be pretty hard though, and takes lots of experimentation. When we did a beta launch of our existing platform, we learnt a lot and made a bunch of changes; when it finally launched, we have been iterating/ tweaking/ optimising things ever since.

Over the last week or two, we’ve started working on developing our platform for other industries and a lot of the planning going on has been focused on this (both with product and sales pipeline). I guess our first ‘experiment’ is of course to confirm the hypothesis that our product solves similar problems in these other industries – we’ve done enough research to know there is a problem to solve that is almost identical (eg. Transport for London has estimated that up to 50% of construction deliveries have problems which is pretty ridiculous) – it is now just about getting users to agree!

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