Songkick Product Discovery FOWA (Michelle You)

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How we do product discovery at Songkick. My talk at FOWA 2013.

Transcript of Songkick Product Discovery FOWA (Michelle You)



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  • Ian, Pete, and I started Songkick in 2007.Songkick makes sure you never miss concerts.You track all the artists you want to see live by, for example, scanning your Spotify playlists, and then whenever any of those bands announce a tour date in your city, we send you a concert alert.

  • 2nd-largest live music website after Ticketmaster 8 million fans per month using Songkick

    Were now the second-largest live music website in the world after Ticketmaster. Every month, over 8 million fans come to Songkick to find out when their favorite artists are coming to town. !Weve also been experimenting with a new platform were calling Detour, which enables fans to pledge in advance to buy tickets for an artist. They come to Detour, tell us which bands they want to see live and how much theyre willing to pay. They enter their credit card to reserve their ticket, but arent charged until the concert is confirmed. Since last year, weve been running a series of experiments to understand the potential in this platform. Weve confirmed 45 concerts that have been created as a result of fans pledging.





    My role at Songkick is to make sure were building the right things, and building them as quickly as possible. These things we make, whether apps, features, or entirely new products have to A) solve a real problem for the people who use them and B) achieve the companys goals, whether thats revenues, sign-ups, or whatever other metric is of vital importance to your business; and C) also be something we can feasibly build in a timely manner. This is typically what a product manager does, but even if you dont have someone with that title on your team, someone is taking on this responsibility, whether theyre your CTO, CEO, designer, or project manager. Someone is that glue.

  • Time is the enemy

    As a startup, youre constantly under extreme existential threat. Time is your enemy and your companys imminent death is always around the corner. You need to show growth, hit targets, get to that next benchmark of success as quickly as possible.!You dont have time to waste on building things no one wants or things that wont achieve your business goals. But you also arent God or Steve Jobs, so you cant assume you have perfect knowledge of what people want in the first place.!So you have to learn this as fast as possible. Thats what product discovery is.!So far so Lean Startup.!But how do you go about actually validating your hypotheses? How do you actually figure out what the right thing to build is? How do you do product discovery?




    First golden rule of product discovery: Speed and quantity of learning.

  • Tom Chi: Google X

    Assume your ideas have a 5% chance of success By the time you try 20

    things, you have a 64% chance of success.

    By the time you try 50 things, you have a 90% chance of success.

    Tom Chi of Google X gave an incredible, life-changing talk at a conference last year where he schooled the attendees, including me, on the simple mathematical reality of product discovery.!No matter how brilliant a product designer you are, the harsh truth is that maybe 5% of your ideas will succeed. If you assume that each idea you have has a 5% chance of success, by the time you try 20 things, your chance of success goes up to 64%, by the time you try 50 things, it goes up to 94%. So you need to try as many things as fast as possible. If you only get to idea #10 two years into your companys life with 2 months of runway left, youre shit out of luck. !So your #1 priority is to make sure youre learning as fast as possible. Its not just about a million A/B tests, its about learning what works, what doesnt and why your users are behaving the way they do.!That means youre looking for the cheapest, fastest way to get feedback on an idea, to validate an idea, to answer a question. To learn. Once youve learned and proven a hypothesis, you can be confident its worth investing time in building somethingthat what you build will actually be used, solve a problem, and help your business goals. !Thats the difference between product discovery vs. product delivery. Product discovery should be measured in hours and days, while product delivery is measured days and weeks.

  • Product trio Product manager Design lead Tech lead

    So let me talk you through how we do product discovery at Songkick. Lets first start with who is involved in product discovery, the dream team. At Songkick we have what we call a product triumvirate. I learned this from Marty Cagan of SVPG, one of the best product thinkers around.!The product triumvirate consists of your product manager, your design lead, and your tech lead. Together, they represent the 3 ingredients to product success: the business, the user, and the engineering to make it all possible. The three of them are the BFFs responsible for product discovery. They should be meeting and talking every day about product discovery. At Songkick, we block out an hour every day after stand-up to talk about what were learning and doing regarding product discovery. Having this regular time to catch up on what weve learned and what we want to learn next has been really important to keep things moving. Remember what I said about speed being everything? !The three of us meet every day to ask questions and figure out the fastest way to answer them. These questions form the foundation of our hypotheses.



    That leads me to the next golden rule of product discovery: frame the question.

  • Asking the right questions

    UI What do they see?

    Interaction How will people actually interact with it?

    Feature/project How will this help your product solve the problem?

    Product proposition How will your product solve the problem?

    Customer discovery What problem are you solving and for whom?

    I like to think about these questions in terms of levels of the product. Depending on which level youre exploring in, your questions will be different and will require different type of feedback and a different type of discovery. !At the bottom, deepest level of the productthe most important levelare your customers. Who are your customers? What do they have in common? And what is their biggest problem? How do they currently solve that problem?For example, at Songkick, we help fans go to more concerts. We promise that theyll never miss their favorite bands live. Our customer is the lapsed concertgoer who has a busy life and doesnt have time to put in the work of scouring listings and consuming music news. They maybe go to 2 concerts a year when they can be bothered, but ends up going to twice as many concerts after they sign up to Songkick. We learned early that our target customer isnt the avid concertgoer whos already going to 2 concerts a week because theyre already doing all the hard work to find out when concerts are happening. We cant help them as much.!Then, you have the product youve created or will create to solve the problem. Will it work? Will it help people? Is it doing a good job? How do you know? How do we solve the problem? We help fans track their favorite artists and then send concert alerts to them via email or push notification when new concerts are announced for those artists. We aggregate all the ticket options for the concert so they can quickly and easily buy tickets. !What features help fans do this? One example for us is an iTunes import to track artists from your iTunes library. This feature sits alongside other ways of getting your taste as quickly & easily as possible, such as importing your Facebook likes or artists in your Spotify playlists. Again, if you dont know how your product is solving a real problem, you wont know if your feature will be useful or not.!At the interaction level, we have the specific ways people need to interact with your product in order to perform successfully complete their actions. These are the screens, buttons, gestures, taps, flows they need to experience to achieve their goals.




    Frame the question first, then find the cheapest, fastest way to get answers to that question.Hint: its not always code and its not always A/B tests and its not always quantitative. !We start with the product triumvirate deciding on what questions we have and then as a trio, we come up with the fastest way to answer that question. !Remember what I said before about speed & quantity being everything? Theres usually a faster, cheaper way to get feedback, so keep digging.

  • Toolkit: quantitative and qualitative Analytics A/B tests Real-time behavior In-app feedback Surveys

    Mock-up and click tests Landing page tests Remote usability testing User research: in person

    and over Skype

    Here are various tools in our Toolkit of feedback, quantitative and qualitative- Analytics: to learn what people are doing right now with your product. We use Google Analytics and Mixpanel- Real-time user behavior: CrayzEgg, Ghostrec- Landing page tests: Unbounce- In-app feedback: Qualaroo and Olark- Survey tools: Qualaroo & Polldaddy- Mock-up and click tests: VerifyApp, FiveSecondTest- Remote usability testing: and WhatUsersDo- User research: in person and over Skype


    UI What do they see?

    Interaction How will people actually interact with it?

    Feature/project How will this help your product solve the problem?

    Product propos