This is part of a maybe someday series on info product validation inspired by this post by PM.
First, know whether you’ve already decided
Last night we were watching season 2 of Fleabag on Amazon Prime. The protagonist’s father gives her a voucher to see a therapist (this is in the UK). She reluctantly goes. In her first session, she asks the therapist what she should do about this young Catholic priest she has feelings for.
The therapist, matter-a-factly, tells her that’s she’s already decided what she’s going to do. She knew the answer before she was willing to admit it to herself.
If you already know you want to do something, you won’t care about the results of the validation data that you collect. You can save yourself a lot of time validating an idea if you’ve already decided you’re going to go for it.
One-shot validation or lots of micro-validations?
This either-or question is the right one if you know you don’t have the resources to take it further than one-shot or the smaller steps of looking for little signposts you’re headed in the right direction that micro-validation provides.
GThe amount of validation should be proportional to the project size, risk, and opportunity costs.
If you are validating an idea where you’ll be leaving your job and investing $100k of your own money the answer is different than if you’re trying to decide what $50 ebook topic the highest percentage of your list would most likely buy.
The problem with micro-validations
With lots of micro-validations the risk is cognitive bias of hearing what you want to hear. If you’re human, this is a real concern.
you suffer from superiority illusion (AKA above-average effect, the idea that you think you’re better than the average person at, say, your job) then you are subject to the influence of that cognitive bias. If you suffer from the opposite (below-average effect or imposter syndrome), then you are subject to devaluing validation signals.
The problem with one-shot validation
With one-shot validation, the risk is you’re putting too much stock in an imperfect attempt.
Validating by… validating
AKA finding optimal conditions for your idea.
Let’s say you have your idea. You want to open a brewery.
You think, “people like breweries.”
There are a lot of breweries in Philadelphia. That’s a form of validation.
But its also a potential indicator of market saturation. People like breweries, but they might not need another one.
So you dig deeper. You find out that the most popular breweries have beer that people complain about but great ambiance.
You ask 50 people that go to breweries why they go to which ones and 50 people that don’t why they don’t.
You do a good job of surveying with non-priming questions.
Then you ask the follow up question: “what would make you more likely to go to a new brewery?”
Maybe its a multiple choice with an open ended option based on initial conversations you’ve had. (Our equivalent might be “what would make this digital product concept more useful to you?”)
Here you are validating by optimizing for conditions. To be continued… and we’ll talk about validating outside your list.