Perseverance and Pivots S11 Ep17

Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. ~ Winston Churchill

Perseverance and Pivots

When we first come up with what we think is a great idea, we have a clear vision of how things are going to go. We see the idea being wildly successful. Then guess what? We get thrown a curve ball. Something totally unexpected that causes us to throw out our original plans.

What separates the innovators from the wannabes? Wannabes will use the curve ball as an excuse or a “sign” that they should stop working on that idea. Innovators will turn that curve ball into a bigger success than the idea they started with. Example: ODEO, the podcast directory, pivoted to becomeTwitter.

Guest: DP Venkatesh/founder of mPortal

This week, we learn from an innovator who jumped into a space way before anyone else and then stuck with it for 15 years. DP Venkatesh, is the founder of mPortal which was recently acquired by Broadsoft to become Broadsoft Design. DP was one of the early visionaries to see the role mobile apps was going to have in our lives and founded mPortal 15 years ago. He discuses the “can’t not do” idea that drove him,. the pivots and challenges along the way and in the process, shares three lessons learned through the experience of going from a raw idea and sticking with it for so long.

In addition to the websites above, you can find DP on Twitter and LinkedIn

Killer Question

Who is using my product in a way I never intended—and how?

Once a product has been sold, it’s pretty much out of your control. You may have an idea why people will buy it, and what they’ll do with it, but the most you can ever do is guess. Why are you assuming that you know what your customer actually likes and values about your product, and how they use it? Go out and find out yourself

Remember: Your objective is to sell your product. Their objective is to solve a problem.

So ask yourself …

  • What problems and needs are you looking to address? Are you so tightly focused on what you believe your customer’s problems and needs to be that you are missing out on potentially huge opportunities?
  • How could you identify existing customers and observe how they use your product?
  • Is there a way to give your potential customers an opportunity to play with and use your product without giving them specific parameters for how, when, and why they should use it? What do they come up with?

Exercise Your Creative Muscle

Just as you go to the gym to work out your physical muscles, we all need to exercise our creative muscle.

So your assignment this week: Get out of your office and go find 5 ways your customers are using your product or service in a way you never considered.

If you discover some interesting ways in which your customers are using your product, post them in the comments section. That way, you can inspire others to look beyond the obvious.

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