The Life of a Thought [.?!]
My Second Experiment [MilValChal]
Jambo! My name is Frederick Jason (you can connect with me on Twitter & LinkedIn). The folks who helped me run this experiment are fellow students at the University of Oregon. The most recent mentors to this project were John Sechrest, Adam Berk, Nathan Lillegard and Al Cochran. Thank you for your time and effort. A link to my hypothesis card on Trello is HERE. (Board Link: https://trello.com/b/rLMuxqah )
I am part of an experimental incubator that gives startups and entrepreneurs funding in exchange for testing and sharing lean startup hypotheses.
MY HYPOTHESIS AND EXPERIMENT
I thought about 85% of 30 of students would agree, “students (high school/undergrad, graduate and doctorate students) consumers, are particularly focused on higher test scores and jobs, but not their personal life accomplishments. I hypothesize that we can give and (soon sell online) a simple sticker — encouraging students to accomplish their dreams, today.” We actually had the chance to speak to 50 full-time students during our in-person interviews. To our delight, 96% of the students (48/50) we interviewed stated s/he would be interested in using a Stickercouragement campaign to help them accomplish a goal and/or dream.
We all have a certain magic about us; a magic which we should project and share. It ‘s quite often you or I come up with an idea (.). We commit to accomplishing it and before we know it our statement is turned up side down, lets call it “the question stage” (¿). We our goal is to create a social movement to help encourage students make it to the sweet spot, a place we like to call eXclamationland (!). Together its “the life of an idea”, .¿! (pronounced PeriodQuestionX).
We tested the hypothesis by going out to meet target customers, making them an offer to exchange their time and personal goals with us. In return we promised to deliver two .¿! Stickercouragements (one to keep & one to give), a .¿! t-shirt and private invite to our bet website.
The most surprising metric about this experiment was that virtually very student we spoke to expressed high interest in our concept. When we asked our 5o interviewees if they would consider sharing this with friend or family, 100% said yes.
Our interviews were so impactful that 12 of the students we interviewed followed up with us after our conversation to inquire when we were going to roll out our first stickers. We were not expecting this level on interest at all. We know that we should act on this immediately.
Before you we try to scale our experiment into a business, we did conduct a team assessment and industry research. We learned that our team’s “Big Why” for being committed to this experiment is because we enjoy building things and achieving our dreams. One of our assumptions was our idea was a first-to-market” concept. We learned that this variable was our less correct area of our hypothesis.
While our idea is an original idea, it is not the most novel concept. Our research is in its infancy and ongoing but we have learned the “viral sticker campaign” is a ‘thing’. It is a key Google search phrase and has pages of research on the concept, idea and best practices for execution.
We found deep inspiration in Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1980s SAMO street campaign.
In our findings, Protect Your Magic is a great benchmark for the potential for success of our experimental idea. Both of these street campaigns took on the world in very authentic ways and reached international acclaim and the art’s replication worldwide.
These messages spoke to the motivations of youth. In our conversations we learned that the top student areas of focus and accomplishment were:
ü Family and/or Friends (including Dating/Marriage)
ü Academic Studies (“School” and “Homework”)
ü Sports (Collegiate and Professional)
ü “Relaxing” (Time off from Work/School)
ü Interviews (Internships, Volunteer, Jobs)
ü Social Clubs (Group Classwork, Greekdom, Honor Societies)
Less than ¼ of the students we interviewed mentioned taking time for personal development, goal setting or reflection as high priority life areas.
We know “the secret to high performance isn’t rewards and punishments, but that unseen intrinsic drive — the drive to do things for their own sake. The drive to do things cause they matter.” In Dan Pink’s TedTalk he solves The Puzzle of Motivation. We are our own greatest motivation. We have to tap into our highest self to achieve greatness. (But a little encouragement never hurts.)
Pink reminds us “here’s the best part. We already know this. The science confirms what we know in our hearts. So, if we repair this mismatch between science and business, if we bring our motivation, notions of motivation into the 21st century, if we get past this lazy, dangerous, ideology of carrots and sticks, we can strengthen our businesses, — we can change the world.” This is his reference to the candle problem. A 1945 experiment by a psychologist named Karl Duncker. He created this experiment that is replicated and theorized in many experiments in behavioral science.
Our Stickercouragement is simply a beautiful reminder for students to live a motivated life that aligns personal and career aspirations.
During our interviews and follow up analysis, we decided to do come research into why students (might) like stickers. We read a lot of information about the human psyche and moving past fear to accomplish a task. But the greatest single thing we read was a conversation between three-year Persephone C. and her mother Alexandra P.:
AP: Why do you love stickers?
PC: Because I love them.
AP: What is your favorite thing about them?
PC: I love to [to] stick them everywhere.
AP: Where’s your favorite place to stick stickers?
PC: On pieces of paper. (Note: This is a lie.)
AP: What do you like about them?
PC: They’re soooo pretty. Can I have a chocolate?
AP: Not yet. You haven’t had dinner. What are your favorite kinds of stickers?
PC: Unicorns and stars!
AP: What do you like to do with them?
PC: Stick them on your eye because it’s funny!
AP: What were you thinking about when you covered the fridge in stickers?
PC: I wanted my birthday. (The stickers were of birthday cakes.) It was birthday decorations.
When I try to remember why I loved stickers as a kid, here’s what I come up with:
- Stickers are pretty and stimulating to look at.
- It’s an instant way of making something else pretty and stimulating to look at.
- The same reason I spend time looking through iPhone and desktop wallpapers, middle-schoolers decorate their lockers, and decorators put pointless nick-nacks on shelves.
- It’s fun to peel them off their sheets and put them elsewhere. Stickiness is a fun property for objects to have when one is a child.
Actually, I still love stickers. I’m searching for some more meaningful reason for this, but I can’t. I know there IS one, but I can’t figure out the words for it. One thing I’ve noticed a lot of women do, which is reflected in Pinterest, is cut pretty things out of magazines and save them. Stickers strike me as a beginning of this sort of urge.
This is conversation is exactly the feeling we want to package and share with students.
Stickers hold an exact passion that fuels both our childhood memories plus allows us to dream and accomplish new goals. We believe our Stickercouragement experiment can help students move past goal setting issues to discover their own definition of success. If we just start with stickers and a positive message, we can inspire an entire generation.
We will measure the success of our next experiment by the number of people who set, follow and accomplish an ideal and then send an email, Instagram and/or photo of them accomplishing the goal and our .¿! Stickercouragement. We will share each win with the world on our future website and social media.
This is experiment was very exciting. We learned a lot about people and their dreams, hopes and ambitions. The responses and feedback were very positive and supports our original hypothesis that “students (high school/undergrad, graduate and doctorate students) consumers are particularly focused on higher test scores and jobs, but not their personal life accomplishments. Students are interested in a “simple sticker — encouraging students to accomplish their dreams, today.”
Now that we have held the initial interviews, we’d like to move forward to execute our second portion of our experiment’s hypothesis. In order to accomplish this, we will need to order our initial run or stickers, finalize our design (logo) and messaging that accompanies our Stickers.
Our research shows that we will between 497 and 750 for complete the next phase of our experiment. With this funding, we will be about to launch our bet website, prep for e-commerce, order stickers, a sample t-shirt order and prepare to launch a national Kickstarter campaign. Funding our experiment, means that we would be able to change the lives of tomorrow’s leaders. If we can have just 75 students “test-accomplish” their goals and share their journey in using our Stickers, this experiment would be life changing. Our goal is to accomplish our first sticker give away by May 5 and then follow up with our digital reach and story sharing by July 4.
And here is the link to my Trello hypothesis card.
Thank you kindly for your time and reading our research. What do your think about our experiment? Would you like to sign up to receive our first set of stickers? Email me! I want to hear what you are working on.