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May 9th 2011
Some facts about Pixable
•Initial idea March 2009: print your social photos •Took 4 months to launch first product •Pivoted to consuming your social photos •Raised $7M for VCs and angels •Team of 16 in NY, 6 in Argentina
1st Stage: Defining your product
Define your product before writing any code
1. Define the problem that originated the idea 2. Create your product based on user stories 3. Define your target demographic 4. Validate your user stories 5. List your competitors, why are you different? 6. Think of size of the market You have to be the best at something, #2 is not enough
Create your product around user stories
4 real-life examples with
• Inaki wants a cute present for his girlfriend, Ana • In Pixable he selects all the photos in which Ana and him are tagged (includes photos uploaded by various people) • He also wants to include comments left by Susan (“you look so cute”) or Ann (“it seems your are having fun”) in some photos • In the first page of the album, he includes Ana’s favorite quote (from FBs profile) • Inaki created the album in 4 minutes and Ana loves it
• Inaki, Borja, Teresa and Yoav spent a great month of January traveling in Argentina • Each of them uploaded different albums on FB • Inaki goes and selects all albums of the trip, including captions • Inaki also puts in the first page a timeline of the status updates (“I am relaxing by the pool”, “I am having a margarita”, “I am exhausted after climbing Fitz Roy”) • For the cover page, he uploads high quality pics • Yoav also wants the album because he is afraid that his friends either unfriend him or delete the photos • It is graduation time and Inaki wants to print all the photoalbums he created on Facebook during the year, before going back home and show them to his friends and family. He includes captions, tagged people, comments, etc
• Inaki’s birthday was last summer • 123 friends left messages on his wall • Two of his friends took pictures and uploaded albums on FB • Inaki created an album with all those pictures, with the first page full of the “happy birthday” wall messages, including name and profile picture of the person, and in the last page the list of people appearing in the albums (“tagged people”) with their profile picture next to their names
Pixable offers a creative way to print your FB content
Current photo album printing companies target different user experience or products/demographics providing an opportunity for Pixable
Level of direct competition
Target different demographics Standard self publishing Not using FB content Different user experience Target similar demographics with possibility to include FB content; similar products
Large printing companies or wide productline
New companies with few users , limited features, or low funding
Create first list of features: rank them in order of importance
Less features is always better: • Requires less time • Costs less money • Easier to maintain • Easier to know what works and what doesn’t.
“I think the best products in the world start out as features” Kevin Systrom, Founder of Instagram
Create the first set of wireframes focusing on your chosen features
• Simulate all the interactions before designing. • It’s not about making it pretty, it’s to see if users get it • Create the whole flow to understand the logic behind the product • Differentiate 1st vs. 2nd time experience • For 1st time users create a frictionless experience
Think about what will make users share and come back
•Why will users share or invite others to use your product? •Why will users come back to your site?
User’s attention span is incredibly low
Validate your wireframes
• The best software for this is a pen and a paper • Hear out your potential customers •Typical questions to ask: • What do you see here? • What do you think is the purpose of this page? • What would happen if you click here? • What do you think is missing? Important tips: • Don’t take into account every piece of advice •Get feedback from people you consider experts • The sooner you get advice the easier it is to change your product
Design after finishing your wireframes (UI)
• Simple is better •Don’t re-invent the wheel, think of how cars are designed • 4 Bs: Bling, Button, Blue Link, Box (text box) • For consumer products UI is extremely important, it’s also becoming more and more important in B2B products
2nd Stage: Building your product
1st prototype of your product: Team Formation
• Do you have a tech team or are you going to outsource? Outsourcing considerations: a) Proximity helps (at least similar time zone) b) Visit your team as often as possible c) Previous work experience is extremely important d) Negotiate not only the price of the 1st deliverable but also the price of having a team after the first deliverable e) Spend a lot of time giving feedback, document it properly.
1st prototype of your product: Organizing the 1st release
• It will always take more time and cost more than expected •Divide development in short phases • Have a release date from day 1, get the development team to define it. • Build vs. Buy: buying is usually the best (open source is usually free) • Launching quickly is key: competition never stops • Demo your product to users constantly • Think hard on what technology to use: PHP vs. Ruby, My SQL vs. Cassandra
3rd Stage: Going to market
Define the metrics that will make you successful
• Users • % users cine back • Avg. page views • # users that share • # shares per user • Revenue • Revenue per user • Loading time At the end every KPI is important, you have to chose the MOST important ones Get tracking in place from day 1! Defining goals is almost as hard as achieving them
Get your product out FAST!
• You should be embarrassed to show it to the public • Call it pre-alpha, make it invite only. • You can get users fast through marketing • Get qualitative feedback FAIL AS FAST AS POSSIBLE!
Usability tests are extremely important
Why do usability tests? •Helps you understand the performance of the product • Gets you unbiased opinions of your product • Understand the frustrations of the users • Understand the features that they love How to do them? In person: Craigslist ads Sites: Utest, usertesting.com…. How to conduct them? • Give the user clear instructions. • Avoid talking to users while conducting the tests •When finished the test ask them all the questions you want.
Collect quantitative and qualitative results
Current FUNNEL (paid customer) $0.17 • Impression (CPM)
1. Visitor lands on pixable.com (CPC) 2. Users (user logs in)
3. User creates album 76% (select photos and place them in album) 4. Customer: user pays 22%
Current conversion from Visitor to customer: 3.0%
•Validate your hypothesis • See what had exceeded your expectations vs. not • If you couldn’t hit any of your numbers, lower them • Forget about your vanity metrics • Identify your power users and your haters The important thing is to know what’s wrong and see if it improves with time
A/B test is the best way to improve your product
Simple definition: A direct comparison between two design alternatives. Everything in the system is unchanged except the item under test You can test: • Flows • Images • Texts A/B tests yield the most actionable results
Set weekly goals for your KPIs
• Choose 2-5 numbers make them visible • Make your whole team aligned with these goals • Celebrate with the team when you hit these goals • Discuss internally when you’re not hitting your numbers •Identify your power users and your haters • When something works don’t change it!!
Pivoting is not bad
Definition: a pivot is changing the main value proposition of your product Why pivot? • Main value proposition not working as desired • Stumbled into a bigger and more exciting problem You should pivot based on metrics and qualitative opinions
What feature to release next?
• Internal discussion with the team • Based on data collected from users (Surveys, usability tests) • Define the goal of the feature: this is going to increase % users coming back, increase the % of users that share, etc • Before creating the feature create a dummy button or run a fake ad
Things are working well?
• Foot in the gas in marketing • Focus on virality • Investing in scaling • Invest in performance
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