Edition 2 - 7/2/2020

The one about customer interviews and Facebook ads

Welcome to another edition of the Product newsletter. Firstly, thank you for being a reader and subscribing to the newsletter. I'm flattered and still a little in disbelief with how positive the reception has been.

I have chosen to dedicate this edition to a concept which is basic enough to the point that everyone has heard of it, BUT where I rarely see perfect execution:

User interviews

We are all aware how important it is to talk to users as we iterate and improve our products into something users will love. However, we seldomly get it right...Why is that? In general, the advice "Just talk to your customers" is well intentioned but not enough. What is the right way to interview? What are the right questions? Why do my customers lie all the time?

Bad customer conversations are worse than no conversation: They can give you false positives that lead you to commit to the wrong features and potentially waste time and money. These false positives usually occur when we make our idea the center of the conversation and endlessly try to validate it with the customer's opinion. No good. Chances are the customer will try to be polite and will unintentionally lie.

It is your job as the product guy or gal to cut through the politeness and understand the problem so well that it will allow you to design the best solution. 

Making good conversation:

The best conversations are the ones that the give us hard facts about our customers' lives and challenges. Bad conversations are elevator pitches in disguise, where we center the conversation around our idea instead of our user's lives.


Good conversation: When was the last time you ran outdoors or on a treadmill? What was it like?  Did you run into any problems? How did you solve them?

Bad conversation: Would you use an app that encourages you to exercise? Would you pay for something like that? Do you think it is a good idea?

Key lesson:

The user cannot lie to us because we never even mentioned our idea. We only asked her about her life and made follow up questions to catch inconsistencies. Asking the customer "How did you solve the problem?" lets you catch him in the act to see how big of a problem it really was.

Naturally, I have learned a lot about interviewing users by actually getting out of the building and talking to them, but if you would like to take your interviewing skills to the next level there is one book I recommend to everyone: The Mom test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you.

ūü§ď Interesting articles and links:

Good Experiment, Bad Experiment by Fareed Mosavat, former Director of Product at Slack.

Nice read, with some very good points about what directing experiments towards a clear product strategy. Clear and straight to the point.

Amazon Accidentally Sent Out Their Email Template

Entertaining read on how the tech giant structures email copy to increase conversion.

Facebook Advertising Decoded in 15 Minutes (18 min read)

How to structure your ads so that they'll play well with Facebook's machine learning system. Guaranteed to impact your next ad campaign.

Product Development Team Self Assessment

Neat spreadsheet to help assess how competent your product team is at analytics, iterating and delivering.

Guy puts 99 smartphones on a cart and walks down the street. Google Maps thinks it's a traffic jam and routes traffic.