Learn a few nuggets that can help you start or grow your own online business.
Spoke records every video interview and then allows you to highlight key areas in the transcript. Once done, share the videos with transcripts of just those highlights.
The benefit: uncover insights from user interviews. Which means User Research consultants can learn something here as well :).
- Founder: How to get valuable feedback from customers to discover product growth insights
- Marketer/Product: How to improve you user research to make or break your product's growth
- Creator: A way to add value to your coaching, consulting, or membership clients
Here are the main sections of this article:
- Uncovering Your Founder Code
- Finding Your Growth Idea
- How Spoke Gives You an Edge
- Launching on Product Hunt and AppSumo
Please add your feedback or questions through Twitter:
Uncovering Your Founder Code
What about Lazare's personality made him a successful entrepreneur?
As background: understand other founders' "codes" helps you to discover and leverage your own. To compete, your design (you as a product) may be the last competitive advantage you have.
Lazare's skill: Maximizer
People exceptionally talented in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence.
When this is part of your core DNA, you’re bring out the best in others. This “labor leverage” -- even if you have a small team -- compounds and accelerates growth.
In fact, it might be more critical because you have a small team.
So how did Lazare do it?
According to him, he was very nice. But then shared his own struggles to reach a very high bar.
Simple, but something to remember if you need to encourage your team to excel.
Finding Your Growth Idea
If you're running a business or thinking of starting one, what's the idea about the market from Lazare that can help you succeed?
Lazare and his other two co-founders initially started with a different idea than the current Spoke app.
The original idea before Spoke’s current form was to automatically create montages for video editors. But when COVID-19 hit, there were no opportunities. Video production had shut down.
What happened after the pandemic revealed an initial opportunity which has, since then, expanded its market size.
When Lazare and his co-founders shared the ability to make montages out of all the Zoom meetings from the “new normal,” the other participants eyes' "lit up." Something was there.
By doing further user research, they learned that the explosion of Zoom meetings created opportunity to improve the note taking experience.
While the initial market appeared broad and wide, honing in on those with a high pain juiced growth. In Spoke’s case, UX research and generating insights from research sessions had some acute pains: taking notes while focusing on users and then synthesizing those insights for clients.
But they didn’t reach this conclusion immediately. The groundwork was laid with Lazare’s previous life as a lawyer.
Initial insight from an unrelated background
Lazare already encountered a pain with note taking. So while his in law had nothing to do with user research, the seed was planted. He was already open to the problem, even though it was not the basis of the original product.
Automated montage + experience with the pain of note taking + a change in the world forcing more online meetings = a new opportunity.
This did not immediately lead to a large market. But it did enable a way to target paying customers while laying the ground for a much larger opportunity.
When they talked to a more generalized user who needs to take meeting notes, the product didn't meet that need and the pain wasn’t high. Customers were dissatisfied.
However, when they spoke to consultants whose primary service was conducting UX research or other forms of user research, the solution delivered value. For those researchers, their job-to-be-done was not just taking meeting notes, but generating insights based on a large number of research sessions.
For the UX researcher, being able to focus exclusively on the user without stopping to write down research notes created better empathy and focus. However, an existing alternative was just making a full recording of each meeting. This, also, could also have freed the researcher from taking any meeting notes. So hands-free recording, alone, was not a useful capability. But it not completely solve the problem.
Lazare discovered that being able to identify key points in the conversation after the meeting achieved two goals: researchers could focus on the interview without stopping to write down notes; and, afterwards, they could distill their own meeting notes directly from research sessions. Making those shareable with stakeholders further improved the collaboration between client and other team members.
The return-on-investment to the researcher is tangible, making for an easier sell: shaving hours of time in creating notes, searching for insights, and sharing with the team.
This niche set of users cared about the software such that they were willing to work with an imperfect product and invest in its development. This was signal of product-market fit.
My Take on the Market
To me, there are a couple of key benefits from Spoke that everyone, whether you're already an entrepreneur, you're wanting to make the plunge, or already working at a company and want to stand out, could gain.
The change in the world is as follows:
- Virtual conversations are the new norm of dense information exchange
- The one who best gathers and condenses customer information gains insights and mastery
- Discovering deep insights faster and with higher conviction is becoming more important
- Alignment in a remote environment creates influence
All businesses will need to understand their customers better. Whether you’re early in the ideation stage, scheduling meetings remotely has become accepted and easy. Do it, hit your 200+ interviews before you build anything!
But...the interviews alone do not unlock opportunity.
It’s synthesis. Pattern-matching.
But it takes two things to find the breakthrough insight. Breakthrough, by the way, doesn’t have to mean curing cancer. It could be a clear nugget that helps prioritize a message, or a go to market that gives you that additional edge.
The two things: memory (and implicit in that is the number of interviews); and compression.
To do so, you do need a way to capture everything so that you can easily and quickly condense.
This compression needs two steps.
The first is being able to quickly go back and find those key insights.
Being able to do so with both text and video/audio is key, especially if conducting a usability test.
The second is then reviewing those pruned excerpts and coming up with a synthesis.
There might be a more elaborate research method used by these dedicated UX research firms.
But in today's world, whether you are a founder, marketer, product manager, or creator, condensation and distillation of live conversations with real people is an essential edge.
If you are an organization of more than yourself, alignment => speed.
In a slower era, a founder, marketer, product manager, or even a client-facing person like a sales rep, would distill information and send them to other stakeholders. While the distillation part is still important, seeing and hearing in condensed form actual the key user takeaways builds deeper rapport with customers.
- Engineers move from the abstract to the human, creating a deeper empathy with the people and the problem.
- Marketers can tap into the emotion and actual language of users.
- Product and founders can uncover a deeper insight that can drive customer adoption and awareness.
How does Spoke give you an edge?
"Taking notes" seems like such a low-level, tactical activity. But as I think about it, and also reflect on David Perell's essay: "The Serendipity of Note-Taking," there's power in doing so well.
Founders are key insight machines.
There are many ways to identify those insights: through first principles, top-down analysis, customer interaction, or whatever.
Even if there's no big mega insight, and the goal is to just copy an existing product and make it better, the primary hat every founder should wear is is to be “Chief UX researcher.” Customers have so much choice and high expectations.
Compressing the time while increasing volume of insights from user research gives founders an edge.
Marketers / Product
Marketers need to create message that emotionally resonates with their end user.
Relying on one's own writing and memory for taking notes misses that emotional connection. Being able to pull key phrases or moments across problems or customers will give marketers and product people super powers.
In fact, the ability of the product manager to push back on opposition or misalignment best comes through a combination of distilled analysis with actual customer data (both quantitive and qualitative). The human element still matters.
Coaches or consultant that have a video session can, afterwards, provide a much shorter, distilled summary.
These short replays of past session help remind customers and students of the value. The alternative, needing to slog through a full hour or more of videos, almost feels like a burden.
UX / User Researchers (new)
Entrepreneurs and growth-oriented professionals all wear the User Researcher hat part-time. But that means the full-time user researcher doubly benefits by compressing time, increasing empathic focus, perfect recall, distillation in note taking.
Launching on Product Hunt and AppSumo
Spoke's launch on Product Hunt landed them 800 sign ups!
However, they didn't have a product ready.
Yes, this sort of became in vogue with Tim Ferris, and I wouldn’t recommend it in general because it can breach trust. According to Lazare, because he appeared genuine and authentic in the Product Hunt launch and subsequent communication, all was mostly forgiven.
If you can make it work and feel comfortable with it, it’s still a great way to identify interest. In Spoke’s case, it also did to some paying customers once they built and launched.
Lazare had great things to say about the AppSumo experience.
Before a product can launch on AppSumo, it is vetted by beta testers from the community.
This gives valuable feedback as part of the launch which is amazing for both the founder and the customers.
Check it out to learn how you can leverage Spoke to stand out, find customers, and grow your influence.
Do you want to improve your user research meetings to discover valuable insights that can help your business or product grow?
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