Race to Saturn

See each user interaction as an experiment

On a prior call of the Founders Project, we discussed an important perspective to have when reaching out to users/customers: View the process as an experiment.

With each user interaction, you’re testing a certain type of approach and seeing what works and what does not. As a result, whatever the potential customer responds, you are moving forward, because with each interaction you’re learning something and continuing to hone your approach.

In other words, take away some of the fear and negative emotions that may crop up when a potential user conversation goes differently than you’d hoped. Whether their response is positive, negative, or “meh”, that conversation gives you a chance to get closer to your goals.

I’ve found that my reaction often follows a now predictable pattern in the case of potential users/customers who give me responses different than I had hoped:

  • Immediately after the interaction with the user (the end of the call, my reading the email reply, etc.), I often have a fairly emotional response of disappointment. A feeling of less momentum.
  • Within a few hours I begin to get the wiser perspective. I start getting that feeling that “I’ve learned something” - seeing how I can adjust moving forward and adding another data point to my understanding.
  • By the next day, I’ll often feel energized by that very interaction, excited to put my improved understanding into practice.

I’m hoping to speed up this cycle and decrease the disappointment that happens as a first reaction. But, either way, understanding that I often go through this cycle helps me get closer to that “experimental mindset”.

One other note: This doesn’t mean you should get overly intense analyzing every single negative interaction. That can be overkill. The better view is to not take any single or even several instances of rejection too seriously in terms of stopping you from moving forward. Accept that you’re getting better with each interaction.

I recall hearing a founder asking a smart startup adviser for advice. The founder noted he had cold emailed / cold called about 50 potential customers, and was disappointed to not have heard more positive responses. The startup adviser’s reply? Add a “0” to that number (i.e., not 50 but 500 cold emails / cold calls) before taking your response rate as any indication of a fundamental problem.

Get that experimental mindset. It can be the basis of the momentum you need.