me and satoru iwata were chilling at target and bought some beef jerky

I’ve been having a ton of fun lately with ZipSchool.

We’re evolving fast in terms of our understanding of the product, problem, user.

We’re following the data and have numbers we can point to when making a majority of our decisions.

We’re focusing on growth.

And I think most importantly I’m having a lot of fun working with the team despite constantly being hit with problems haha. But, treating problems as learning opportunities has been pretty magical.

Startups can be pretty negative but it’s all about how you perceive it.

A flat growth rate looks terribly negative but perhaps it’s a sign that the thing we’re working on isn’t working. And, that’s positive. Because then, we can dig more into the why behind the flat growth curve in an attempt to fix it before we run out of runway.

Better to figure something like that out as early as possible ;).

I think this small mindset shift, where we focus on the why vs the output, has actually massively improved my clarity around what we’re building. It lets me get past all the dumb emotion of it all (emotion has its place ofc) and just focus on the facts + the why.

For example.

Event = We release mobile app

Output = Retention doesn’t flatline, W1 -> W2 is 10% and then then it keeps going down. We run experiments for another 4-weeks in an attempt to improve this. Nothing changes much.

Emotion = Pain.

Dig into why = Maybe the product isn’t solving an intense problem for the user? Maybe we’re driving the wrong type of users into the product? Maybe this problem just isn’t super frequent? What are the retained users who love the product saying? What are the churned users saying? What are the users who never even gave it a shot saying?

I think I’m pretty logical so digging into “why” feels a lot more productive than just feeling “pain” lol. It’s good to feel bad, it puts a fire under you. But, not good for that emotion to run your decisions. That leads to stupid decisions. You feel cornered and make a dumb move.

You can start your Monday meeting looking at the growth chart and being like “Yeah it’s flat that’s not good but let’s keep chugging tho woooooo” or you can start it by being like, “Hey, we were flat last week and after I did some digging as to why I’m thinking it may because of X, Y, Z and here’s data to prove it” (every “why” should be backed by a data point).

Keep it cool. Look at your data. Talk to your users (even if you only have 1). Go from there :)!

(BTW — this isn’t advice to others it’s just how I think about it. Take what you like!)

Song of the Week

One of my favorite songs of all time. I’ve been getting re-obsessed with it lately.

Highly recommend it if you like emo-rap :). And if you don’t? Well, give it a shot and let me know what you think!

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