Validating product ideas, persuading people to buy, starting a podcast

Listen to… persuade people to buy, start your own podcast and learn how to validate product ideas…

Failing to validate

How to validate a product idea
36 mins

Derrick Reimer is co founder of Drip and now building StaticKit.

But in the gap between those two projects, he worked on a Slack alternative called Level. Which ended up failing after a year.

In this episode of The Product Business, Derrick looks back on how he failed to validate the product, despite thinking he was asking the right questions. And how he’s now validating his new product.

For the first 5 minutes, Derrick and host, Scott, talk about the current landscape for static websites. After that they get into the idea validation chat (so hold tight if you’re not technical).

3 lessons…

  • Two mistakes Derrick made in validating Level as new alternative to Slack:
    • Not going deep enough when people said they weren’t happy with Slack. They talk up the pain but nobody had actually tried to find an alternative. They weren’t actively trying to solve the problem. When it came down to it, they didn’t feel enough pain to go through a move to a new platform.
    • He also talked to people who didn’t have the ability / authority to make the shift from Slack to another platform. Their pain didn’t matter if they couldn’t make the change or force others in the org to change.
  • Build a product you’re going to use yourself. When you’re in it everyday you get insights that you can’t get from only building for others.
  • Luck plays a bigger part in business than people want to think. Having an idea, shipping it and being in the right place at the right time. Then iterating on feedback. This happens more often than structured validation. So ship fast and often to cut risk and increase chances of finding something that works.


How to start a podcast

Courtland Allen on growing downloads and community through storytelling
40 mins

This is episode 1 of a new podcast, Record Edit Podcast from producer Bradley Denham. In it he interviews Courtland Allen of Indie Hackers about the growth of his podcast.

I’ve included this episode because there’s a growing trend of starting a podcast as a new marketing channel, and Courtland is a good example of what you can achieve. He tells a good story – from never wanting to do a podcast, to it now being a very close second in driving sign ups to the Indie Hackers community.

3 lessons…

  • The main drivers of growth are quality of interview and consistency. Putting the podcast out episode after episode and doing the prep work for the interviews compounds over time. Fundamental rules of getting success with anything content based
  • If you’re anxious about doing interview style podcasts, remember the pressure is on the guest not you. You only have to show up and ask good questions. 
  • Before you start a podcast, know why you’re starting one. What’s the goal? It’s going to be hard to keep going when you’re only getting a handful of downloads at the start. You need some other motivator. Might also help to commit to a specific number of episodes and do them whatever – most people give up before episode 10.


Master of persuasion

Mastering the Art of Persuasion with Dr. Robert Cialdini
32 mins

Robert Cialdini is an expert on persuasion and is often quoted by marketers (especially with copywriting).

But, I believe he wrote his books, Influence and Pre-Suasion, as a warning of how marketers can get to us.

They seem to have picked them up as “how to” manuals.

Whatever the origins, if you’re trying to sell anything then you need to understand how to persuade people. And to use these techniques in your messaging.  

This short interview on Marketing Speak is a good intro to Cialdini’s work.

Please only use it for good. 😄

3 lessons…

  • Be aware of and use the 6 principles of persuasion:
    • Reciprocity – it’s hard not to reciprocate, even if we don’t want to.
    • Scarcity – makes us want it more and to act now
    • Authority – we listen to people who we perceive to have higher status 
    • Consistency – we stay consistent with our current belief and past actions. It’s hard to break out of existing patterns
    • Liking – we do business with people we like. Even if they’re not the best people. On the flip, we don’t do business with people we don’t like, even if they are the best.
    • Consensus or Social Proof – we’ll follow what others have done. Especially if they’re comparable to us.
  • People are more open to new things and to make changes at the beginning of the month compared to the end of the month. Same also applies to the beginning and end of a week. Plan product launches in line with that.
  • When you don’t have social proof for your product, show industry numbers. But not static numbers – show the trend of how things are changing. It’s an effective proxy to having testimonials.


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