Week 5 of Creative Founder: Rigor & Silence
We’re out of our comfort zone, reaching out to strangers with ads specific to our target market.
It’s paying off. For the interviews we have so far, it’s been a pleasure to learn about their lives and find out what I don’t know. Several new topics have come up, including taxes, how akin our product is to the ultimate dating service, and the learning that our product can actually split into two different markets: one to match able-bodied folks with less able-bodied, and one that matches two less able-bodied folks with an in-home caregiver. This distinction became incredibly noticeable and important during the four interviews I either facilitated or took notes for. Our smallest accessible market must become even smaller, but how do we choose which one?
The beauty of research is that you really have no idea what’s going to happen.
You can prepare a ton, and you should, but each person is different, and sometimes they won’t do what you’ve asked them to do. Questions have to be very direct, especially with participatory design. Instead of, “How do you think the order of importance is working here?”, it seems that questions that force a mental reduction of options rather than a mental exploration of them tend to yield more directed results. If I ask, “How do you think the order of importance is working here?” I receive less specific feedback than if I ask “What do you think is the most important thing here?”
Make room for silence.
I’m still fascinated by the reading from Steve Portigal on the power of silence, especially the portion on the different kinds of silence in Japan. I think I see that here as well. In the past three interviews I’ve facilitated this week, I’ve been reminding myself of the power of silence, and paying much closer attention to how I punctuate my questions, careful of the dreaded “or…?”
How do you know when you’ve been validated?
Shortly after finishing an interview, our interviewee copied us on four separate emails she’d written to contacts in her network in advocacy of our idea. She’s even meeting us at an event on Tuesday to introduce us to local government employees facilitating a program strikingly similar to our product vision. I know actions are more valuable than words, and I suppose I consider emails actions — but at what point do you assume that parts of your value proposition have been validated? Which parts exactly, and what does that look like? No one’s agreement looks the same, so how do you know?
I suppose we’ll be finding that out in the coming weeks.
“I want you to know — that this is very important, what you’re doing.”
— Participant 1