How to Make a Value Prop Sprint Work
When Nuno Correia, Utrust’s co-founder and CSO, sits down to work, he often doesn’t sit down at all. Anyone who’s had a (remote) meeting with him is probably familiar with the shaky camera and panoramic views of the ceiling that come with his particular way of thinking. He paces, and we follow along as he talks, his mouth moving as fast as his feet. From the kitchen to the hallway to the living room to elsewhere in his apartment.
“We want to excel. We don’t just want to be in this market and compete with other companies on equal footing. We want a value proposition that is objectively better, that leaves no doubt in anyone’s minds” he says. “And we have such a tremendous team, with such gifted and creative individuals, that we thought we should leverage that hive mind to understand how.”
This is how Utrust’s Prop Value Sprint competition came to be. Every individual that works for Utrust was divided into teams. Martinho Aragão, head of product, was in charge of the roster. He didn’t want people with their usual teammates, and he didn’t want them with similarly talented individuals.
“We took this seriously. We brought everyone in. Leadership, product, sales, you name it. And then we mixed them all up, so we knew every team had people who participated in different aspects of the company. This is a reevaluation of our value proposition. It affects every single department, every single person, so they all must be involved.”
How we made it work
Martinho was in charge of the organization of the event, and one thing was very clear to him: he wanted to make it competitive. Not because of a potential prize, but because he knew from previous experiences that Utrusters are passionate individuals who like to go the extra mile. “People like putting ideas out there. It’s fun, we get it. But having to compete against each other? That just brings out the healthy pressure they need to deliver the best results”, he says. This is how Utrust is, and intends to always be against competitors: to be unique and deliver better.
It all started with a basic idea that came from Nuno and his strategic group:
“We already knew we wanted to do crypto settlements, so that was a given. We were focusing on fiat settlements early on because adoption rates were still low and merchants didn’t have the information or the appetite for doing crypto accounting. We knew that would change with time. More people are using this tech, it’s in the news more, people are learning about what it can do and they want it. That’s the easy part”, he says.
And then the bell rings.
“Sorry about that, it’s the mail.”
Working from home has its ups and downs. And so we travel with Nuno as he goes downstairs to get his package. His lucky wife has just gotten her order from Zara.
“The hard part”, he continues, without missing a beat, resuming his walk around the house, “is figuring out how to make merchants money instead of having them pay fees.”
Getting merchants paid for using Utrust
Utrust’s fees are already low. They are in fact up to 80% lower than the traditional payments industry. But Nuno wants to eliminate them. He wants to use the power of crypto and ride the wave of adoption to actually make merchants money as they use the service.
“I don’t know that I can tell you about the ideas that came out of the Value Prop Sprint, it’s all very hush hush for now, but what I can tell you is that these ideas are already in the strategy team’s hands, and I’m pretty sure some of them will move right into a product team’s hands soon enough”, Martinho says. “We do know it will have to do with leveraging the crypto investment tools to automatically provide more revenue for merchants.”
The teams had their briefing. They had their roster. So now it was time to get to work.
Sprinting into a solution
“We don’t want minions. We want evangelists. We want our whole team to be aligned and understand what it is we’re working for. Even if no usable ideas came out of this, the way we handled it guaranteed that the entire team knew exactly what the future is for this company and that alone is priceless”, Martinho says. He has a very different energy from Nuno. Where one is frantic and bubbling with creativity, the other is quiet and intense.
He attributed three tasks to every team:
- A sales pitch: They had to sell their new features and Utrust alongside it. Any feature that couldn’t be neatly explained in an elevator pitch and seamlessly integrated into Utrust’s value prop was no good.
- Changes in the product: Any suggestion needed to be technically feasible. It needed to integrate well into the product and the team should explain how.
- Comms plan: How do we explain it to the customer? This isn’t about merely technical improvements, it needs to be something merchants understand and appreciate.
So the teams spent a whole day doing this. We’ll let you in on a little secret: not a lot was done in terms of comms plans. Everyone was truly engaged, and they didn’t want to come to Nuno and Filipe with half-baked ideas.
Nuno and Filipe were the judges, and they knew exactly what they were looking for. “We made a point of keeping it serious. These things aren’t at their most useful if they’re just fun team-building exercises. Everyone knew what we were looking for, and they knew this was real”, says Nuno.
The judges were looking for three things in particular:
- Creativity: as we said, we aren’t looking to compete with other companies. We want to transcend them.
- Feasibility: we all want to see a Lambo on the moon, but not right now.
- Disruption: we are looking for impact.
Remember when Martinho said it was all hush hush? We spoke to him before we spoke to Nuno. In the meantime, he had already collected all the info, processed it, ran it through his team, and he had some awesome news for us.
Utrust already knows what is looking to implement in the next few months… and you will also know soon!
Building the future
“So this is what’s happening. We want to blow everyone out of the water”, says Nuno, finally settling down at his kitchen table. “Now we just have to sit down and build it.”
We can’t wait.
If you’re ready for the revolution, you should join us.