The forth lecture is about building product, taking to users and growing. Adora Cheung gives the talk and I haven't liked that much. I think is because the style or the way they express things rather that the content itself, so lets get the main points of the talk but no going deep down on them. The discussions on HN are nothing compared with the other lectures.
Adora tells us how important is to have time to run your startup. She thinks is way better to have a lot of compressed time that helps you to really focus on your idea instead of having two hours here and there. Context switching is bad for your concentration as I've explained in another post.
She also believes that you need the feedback from people, so its a bad idea to not tell people what are you building and do it secretly instead until you release your product.
About the problem itself, you should be able to describe your problem (or the solution of it) in just one sentence. You also must think, is a problem that I just have, or more people have it. Can I create a solution for all of us? A way for finding a good solution to your problem is to find a way to immerse in the current industry and see how it works. You probably will notice how and what can be improved. Do things that don't scale. A lot of people say that to be able to disrupt in a market you need to be out of it; Adora says that working two or three months in a entry level job will give you precious information.
Once you know the market, find what will become your competition, try to read as much as you can about them, even quarterly financials if they are public. With this information you will be in the path of becoming an expert, and that's what you want if you are building a product.
And lastly, before you even create a product or before you put code down, you should really storyboard out the user experience of how you are going to solve the problem. And that is not just meaning the website itself, it also means how does the customer find out about you. It can be through an ad or word-of-mouth, and then they come to your site and they learn more about you. What does that text say and what are you communicating to them when they sign up for the project and when they purchase the service? What are they actually getting from your service or product? After they finish using the product or service do they leave a review or do they leave comments? You need to be able to go through that whole flow and visualize in your head what the perfect user experience is. And then put it down on paper and put it into code, and then start from there. So, you have all these ideas in your head, now you kind of know what the core customer base is that you want to go after, and you know everything about the industry, what do you do next? You start building your product. The common phrase that most people use today is," You should build a minimum viable product."
Once you have build the product is time to let your users to test it. You should be using your product. Your family, friends, co-workers should be using your product. And you can take feedback from them and improve your product.
When people was testing the product, seem to get bored about all the text of 'what is the company about'. Adora changed all the text for one-liner defining the mission and the benefits of using the product and things changed, users quickly 'got' what the company was about.
One thing about asking people opinion via surveys is that usually you receive the two opposite opinions, or pure love or pure hate. And nothing in between. What you should really do is to have a conversation with them and know their needs.
Also is really important to track the number of people that came the door today and the number that is coming back tomorrow and the next day; the retention of your users. Is really important to know why these people come back and improve the service and at the same time try to get in contact with the people that didn't like the service and try to fix the problem they found. This way you'll get a higher retention and happier costumers.
About the opinions, be aware of the honesty level; people near to you will lie if they are paying for your product and don't like it that much (for mom, your friends). Random people who is giving you money and is not happy will give you better and more honest feedback, though. Try to focus on them.
About growth, you have to focus on what is called 'the next step of growth'. If you have 10 users, focus growing up to 100. After that focus on 1000, etc... Try to scale at millions of users at once and you'll build things that won't be used, difficult to maintain and just for nothing.
Try to automate, but not too fast. Before automating, you should do the process a few hundreds of times yourself. Learn what works and what not, sharp the process and when you think is good enough, automate it. Not before. The point is that:
[...] temporary brokenness is much better than permanent paralysis [...] So do not worry about all of the edge cases when you are building something, just worry about the generic case of who your core user is going to be.
She has pivoted 13 times.
"Homejoy in its current concept was literally the 13th idea we fully built out and tried to execute on and tried to get customers for"
She point out that if you have developed a product and non of your users stick and you don't grow, you just have to move on. It happens that a lot of companies have been around 3 years without growing and suddently they become huge. To balance the 'give up fast' or 'be there forever' you can plan what kind of grouth you want to have and see how you are doing. First week? One user. Second week? Two users. And so forth. If you don't get the growth your were expecting, consider a pivot.