Product Thinking
Testing Your Ideas with David Bland
December 1, 2021
David Bland is the founder of Precoil, a company that helps organizations find product market fit through assessing risk and experimentation, and the co-author of Testing Business Ideas. David joins Melissa Perri on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast to talk about how to identify your assumptions, experimenting within slower feedback cycles, the importance of aligned confidence, and how product leaders have to continuously walk the walk when it comes to experimentation and de-risk.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and David talk about in this episode: David talks about his professional background and how he first got started in the field of business testing. [1:49] David’s framework that uses themes from design thinking to define risk and identify assumptions. Experiment in the areas where there is the least amount of evidence. [3:32] Many product teams put too much emphasis on feasibility but they also need to focus on desirability. Talk to customers to figure out if they want the product itself; if they are, figure out cost and revenue. [4:46] David advises product managers to start with the business model and understand it; that will inform the plan for how the business is going to make money and how the product is going to impact their business. [6:44] "What are the leading indicators that would predict that someone's going to renew? You should be able to start thinking through what are these touchpoints that would lead to somebody renewing, and how do we remove the friction from that?” David tells Melissa. [8:28] The biggest hurdle to experimentation is time. If you don't have time, you are going to take the easy route. The goal is not to run experiments. The goal is to de-risk what you're working on to make better investment decisions. [13:11] If a company is in a check-the-box mentality, it's not in the right condition to learn experimentation. You need to think about how you're de-risking, and changing your mindset and approach to processes within your organizations. David talks about the way he's designed his training programs to help companies with this problem. [16:55] Repetition is key as product leader. Don't stop talking about the way you want your teams to run because you think they no longer need to hear it. "It's part of your job as leaders to keep repeating this, and showing it, and enabling it and creating a culture and environment where people can work this way," David says. [19:38] David talks about experimenting around product strategy from a higher level, what types of experiments he's seen at that level and what experiments he advises product leaders to run. [20:38] One of the main problems with experimentation is that companies often fall into the realm of testing on their customers as opposed to testing with their customers. It should be about co-creation instead. [32:36] If you focus on customer value, you don't always have to have a finished product. It can be a service. Once you're fulfilling a need for that customer, or solving a problem that's valuable to a customer, or performing a service, you can start charge for that service. [35:30] David talks about companies that have been doing experimentation well. [38:00] Resources David Bland | LinkedIn | Twitter Precoil
David Bland is the founder of Precoil, a company that helps organizations find product market fit through assessing risk and experimentation, and the co-author of Testing Business Ideas. David joins Melissa Perri on this week’s Product Thinking Podcast to talk about how to identify your assumptions, experimenting within slower feedback cycles, the importance of aligned confidence, and how product leaders have to continuously walk the walk when it comes to experimentation and de-risk.  Here are some key points you’ll hear Melissa and David talk about in this episode: David talks about his professional background and how he first got started in the field of business testing. [1:49] David’s framework that uses themes from design thinking to define risk and identify assumptions. Experiment in the areas where there is the least amount of evidence. [3:32] Many product teams put too much emphasis on feasibility but they also need to focus on desirability. Talk to customers to figure out if they want the product itself; if they are, figure out cost and revenue. [4:46] David advises product managers to start with the business model and understand it; that will inform the plan for how the business is going to make money and how the product is going to impact their business. [6:44] "What are the leading indicators that would predict that someone's going to renew? You should be able to start thinking through what are these touchpoints that would lead to somebody renewing, and how do we remove the friction from that?” David tells Melissa. [8:28] The biggest hurdle to experimentation is time. If you don't have time, you are going to take the easy route. The goal is not to run experiments. The goal is to de-risk what you're working on to make better investment decisions. [13:11] If a company is in a check-the-box mentality, it's not in the right condition to learn experimentation. You need to think about how you're de-risking, and changing your mindset and approach to processes within your organizations. David talks about the way he's designed his training programs to help companies with this problem. [16:55] Repetition is key as product leader. Don't stop talking about the way you want your teams to run because you think they no longer need to hear it. "It's part of your job as leaders to keep repeating this, and showing it, and enabling it and creating a culture and environment where people can work this way," David says. [19:38] David talks about experimenting around product strategy from a higher level, what types of experiments he's seen at that level and what experiments he advises product leaders to run. [20:38] One of the main problems with experimentation is that companies often fall into the realm of testing on their customers as opposed to testing with their customers. It should be about co-creation instead. [32:36] If you focus on customer value, you don't always have to have a finished product. It can be a service. Once you're fulfilling a need for that customer, or solving a problem that's valuable to a customer, or performing a service, you can start charge for that service. [35:30] David talks about companies that have been doing experimentation well. [38:00] Resources David Bland | LinkedIn | Twitter Precoil

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