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How To Talk To Customer & Make It Count

How To Talk To Customer & Make It Count

The slides for my LeanDrinks talk at CeBIT 2015. Some of the strategies and methods we use at iDoneThis to find out what to build.


Leif Singer

March 16, 2015


  1. Leif Singer leif.me | @LSinger & Make It Count How

    To Talk to Customers
  2. Hello! :) phd, computer science • collaboration research, interviews &

    surveys, software development consultant, currently product at iDoneThis.com • product strategy, customer development, user interviews, software development
  3. iDoneThis team collaboration: - log dones, goals, blockers - sync

    with team - async communication
  4. iDoneThis reminder • evening email: what did you get done?

    • reply to post.
  5. iDoneThis digest • morning email: what your team got done

  6. iDoneThis web UI • likes, comments, @mentions, tags, inline images,

    notifications, …
  7. iDoneThis integrations • Slack, Alfred, Teamwork, Breeze, … + 100s

    through Zapier • Salesforce, Google Calendar, HipChat, Trello, GitHub, Bitbucket, Evernote, Todoist, Toodledo, Instagram, Twitter, …
  8. iDoneThis started as side project 2011 AngelPad 2011 5 people

    • NYC, Milwaukee, Italy, Hannover 150k+ users
  9. friendly customers

  10. what should we work on? how should that thing work?

  11. goal? grow the company • reduce churn • increase growth

  12. always work on the most important thing

  13. 80% of the benefits … with 20% effort?

  14. Research Product Vision +

  15. “Let's build an API!”

  16. why an API? increase “stickiness" • reduce churn • easier

    to fit iDoneThis into existing workflows + tools • Rogers: compatibility
  17. capabilities / endpoints? /teams /teams/idt /teams/idt/dones /teams/idt/dones/12345 /teams/idt/dones/12345/likes /teams/idt/dones/12345/comments /teams/idt/tags/personal/dones/12345/likes/321

  18. “That looks like a lot of work.”

  19. What do people want?

  20. What do people want? OMG NO!

  21. What do people actually need?

  22. What do people actually need? (they don’t know!)

  23. instruments I’ve found useful - semi-structured interview - qualitative survey

    - quantitative survey / poll
  24. The Interview

  25. prepare - have a goal - easy scheduling - interview

    script • “semi-structured”: with a script, but follow interesting topics • aim for 20 minutes
  26. the script - confidentiality - what do you do? -

    how do you use our tool? • when? what do you do before / after? • what’s great? what’s annoying? - how do you currently cope with challenges? - ideal world?
  27. during the interview note demographics • company type, team size,

    team distribution take lots of notes • and / or record, but get consent let them do the talking • you listen
  28. after the interview write down key points • who? why?

    what? “James Q. from ACME Corp. manages 12 engineers who don't want to use iDoneThis because it's duplicate work for them. To help them adopt it James wants automatic posting of GitHub commit messages.”
  29. repeat notice patterns • remember demographics make connections • large

    teams: automatic posting from other services • smaller teams: desktop tool … until “saturation” • that moment when things don’t surprise you anymore for API: most people care only about posting and reading dones
  30. what about the endpoints? GET /teams GET /teams/idt GET |

    POST /dones GET | PUT | DELETE /dones/12345 … research saved a lot of work. most of the work went here required for selecting a team got for free from framework
  31. uh oh … hey, we have an API! but no

    integrations ... which ones should we build?
  32. The Qualitative Survey

  33. ask your visitors

  34. ask your visitors

  35. lots of unstructured data

  36. lots of unstructured data CODE IT!

  37. The Quantitative Survey

  38. None
  39. None
  40. insane growth; similarity to HipChat makes code more reusable

  41. hooray! :)

  42. how do people use iDoneThis?

  43. how do people use it? standup replacement async comm peripheral

    awareness managers: get feeling for activities, performance, blockers
  44. how do people use it? standup replacement async comm peripheral

    awareness managers: get feeling for activities, performance, blockers planned to filter digest for large teams removing people not core to them, but in interviews found: know what their core group / reports are doing, for them value lies in seeing what people at their periphery are doing!
  45. academic studies

  46. academic studies leif.me

  47. further reading Cindy Alvarez • “Lean Customer Development” Steve Portigal

    • “Interviewing Users” book • “Dollars to Donuts” podcast Dale Carnegie • “How to Win Friends & Influence People” How to Start a Startup • “How to Run a User Interview”
  48. Q&A reduce churn — increase growth build something people need

    figure out what that is • be genuinely interested in your users & show it • build rapport; smile • be grateful — they're gifting you their time • ask why? a lot • triangulate: interviews, surveys, analytics, … !