I’m looking for somebody who has a positive attitude and is confident enough to express their ideas. They’re confident enough to disagree with me, confident enough to say what they think and paint a picture of the future as they see it. But at the same time, they’re questioning whether there is some better solution and whether they’re right or not. It’s this balance between confidence and questioning. This represents a kind of curiosity, an open, child-like mind of being enthusiastic enough to talk about their ideas—and questioning them enough to build on that idea rather than think it’s all done.

Certain pursuits and activities lend themselves to reaching a state of flow. Csikszentmihalyi describes the common characters of these activities as including ‘a sense that one’s skills are adequate to cope with the challenges at hand, in a goal-directed, rule-bound action system that provides clear clues as to how well one is performing.’

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Pre-Validated Pain Points
I had a great chat with Teresa Torres about “high-level” pain. If you start with a top-down approach to finding pain it means you’re starting with the business’s purpose and key metrics. This approach typically involves “following the money” which has the bonus that you can easily pitch the ROI of your solution.
Let’s pretend your Customer Segment is B2B SaaS businesses. Starting top-down you can safely assume their purpose, other than changing the world, is to make money.  The way SaaS businesses make money is by generating quality leads, converting those leads into active users, fostering relationships and usage such that users become paying customers, and keeping those customers happy to avoid churn. These are high-level pain points and you know what? They are amazing. Why? Because you don’t need to validate them. What business wouldn’t want more qualified leads?

Use a pre-validated pain point and skip the pain validation step. Tweet this

Instead your focus can shift to: 1) proving you can impact one of those metrics, and 2) positioning your solution as being less painful and less risky than the current solution.

Pre-Validated Pain Points

I had a great chat with Teresa Torres about “high-level” pain. If you start with a top-down approach to finding pain it means you’re starting with the business’s purpose and key metrics. This approach typically involves “following the money” which has the bonus that you can easily pitch the ROI of your solution.

Let’s pretend your Customer Segment is B2B SaaS businesses. Starting top-down you can safely assume their purpose, other than changing the world, is to make money.  The way SaaS businesses make money is by generating quality leads, converting those leads into active users, fostering relationships and usage such that users become paying customers, and keeping those customers happy to avoid churn. These are high-level pain points and you know what? They are amazing. Why? Because you don’t need to validate them. What business wouldn’t want more qualified leads?

Use a pre-validated pain point and skip the pain validation step. Tweet this

Instead your focus can shift to: 1) proving you can impact one of those metrics, and 2) positioning your solution as being less painful and less risky than the current solution.

Is your product painful?
You want people to adopt your product because you know you can help them solve their pain point. So why aren’t they using it?
Today was delicious. I had just finished my third bowl of ice cream. I definitely wasn’t hungry, nor did I have any sort of craving, but I had two pints just sitting in the freezer, so I figured why not…
Then came a problem. As I tried to get at the ice cream, the scoop hit what felt like concrete. The ice cream was frozen solid; so I weighed my options. It was either going to take a bit of work to chip at it, or it was going to take a while waiting for it to thaw on the counter, so I put it back in the freezer.
Customer Development tells us to search for pain, then to find a solution to solve that pain for which people will pay. We look for pain because people will generally pay to get rid of it, or to avoid it in the first place. That is why we buy Advil when we have a headache, or AppleCare when we buy a new laptop.
But how do we measure pain? The answer is motivation. The more something hurts, the more effort or resources you’ll dedicate to make the hurt go away. Steve Blank talks about identifying early customers based on a pyramid of pain and Ryan Hoover has a good list of ways to test pain.
In the case of me getting another bowl of ice cream, the pain of getting it out of the container and into my bowl was greater than my motivation to eat it. This raises an important point. Pain, or motivation, exists not only within your customer, but also with using a product, or in our example, getting the ice cream into my bowl. Even if you’ve found a massive pain point, if the pain of actively adopting your product is too great, your customers will not use it. Just imagine if you needed a can opener to get into a pint of ice cream.

The moral of the story is, that the pain of adopting your product has to be perceived as less than the pain of the the problem you are solving. This means taking into account your customer’s current solution and switching costs. The greater that gap, the more likely it is that your product will be adopted.

Is your product painful?

You want people to adopt your product because you know you can help them solve their pain point. So why aren’t they using it?

Today was delicious. I had just finished my third bowl of ice cream. I definitely wasn’t hungry, nor did I have any sort of craving, but I had two pints just sitting in the freezer, so I figured why not…

Then came a problem. As I tried to get at the ice cream, the scoop hit what felt like concrete. The ice cream was frozen solid; so I weighed my options. It was either going to take a bit of work to chip at it, or it was going to take a while waiting for it to thaw on the counter, so I put it back in the freezer.

Customer Development tells us to search for pain, then to find a solution to solve that pain for which people will pay. We look for pain because people will generally pay to get rid of it, or to avoid it in the first place. That is why we buy Advil when we have a headache, or AppleCare when we buy a new laptop.

But how do we measure pain? The answer is motivation. The more something hurts, the more effort or resources you’ll dedicate to make the hurt go away. Steve Blank talks about identifying early customers based on a pyramid of pain and Ryan Hoover has a good list of ways to test pain.

In the case of me getting another bowl of ice cream, the pain of getting it out of the container and into my bowl was greater than my motivation to eat it. This raises an important point. Pain, or motivation, exists not only within your customer, but also with using a product, or in our example, getting the ice cream into my bowl. Even if you’ve found a massive pain point, if the pain of actively adopting your product is too great, your customers will not use it. Just imagine if you needed a can opener to get into a pint of ice cream.

The moral of the story is, that the pain of adopting your product has to be perceived as less than the pain of the the problem you are solving. This means taking into account your customer’s current solution and switching costs. The greater that gap, the more likely it is that your product will be adopted.