Lean ITP Class 5 Get, Keep Grow

Huge thanks to Albert Lee of All Tomorrows for sharing his approach to solving for the mental health/personal wellness need.

Albert’s background – architect > worked for Gehry > realized how long buildings take to build > MBA > ran IDEO NY > All Tomorrows.

All Tomorrows started as a company that was going to make multiple businesses using human centered design principals to solve for social impact. Their current structure: one company, one team, and investigating a platform approach. Their most famous app was developed w/ your Lean ITP co-instructor, Josh Knowles – Emojiary.

One of the team’s core insights: the target he is seeking that is in some level of emotional discomfort is deeply dissatisfied with the self help industry. They “turn the spines” of the self help section of their bookshelf because they are embarrassed by the titles, the language, and are seeking something that speaks to them.

My favorite Albert-Isms:

Value propositions are not products. They are value propositions. Test many to see if you are resonating with your target.

Zero mental calories: users should have to learn nothing when they use your app. Nothing.

Toothbrush test: can you find a reason why they would use your app 2x a day, to create those reasons to engage.

Trojan Horse it: you can’t always give people what you think they need, especially if you are meeting a need they are uncomfortable talking about. So find out what their discrete top level painpoint is, and create the front door that meets that need. You can solve for deeper emotional needs not at the value proposition level, but in the product design.

What was true at IDEO that does not hold true in a startup: human centered design is great for insights, but does not help you disrupt or understand business model dynamics. You need to get your MBA brain around that.

Suggested reading that came from our discussion:

Phin Barnes of First Round Capital (former Lean ITP Advisor) – Raise Money to Buy Data
The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm – prepping yourself for the onslaught of press you’ll get

— During spring break – you are refining your value propositions and customer segments. Each team needs to spend more work on the customer segment definition – we are still too broad, so any customer discovery is not going to give you repeatable patterns or signals. Go narrower! Call us if you need help. —

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