The Elusive Early Adopters

Keith Schacht| June 11th, 2013
Post to Twitter

It’s accepted wisdom in the startup space that you begin by testing your product on early adopters and over time you work to expand to the mainstream users in your market. But if you’re struggling to bridge this gap, maybe what you think are early adopters are actually just mainstream users in a small niche. The people who are using your product first may not be the beginning of a larger opportunity.

How do you tell the difference? I was curious about this myself and last week I had a chance to talk with Steve Blank. I asked him this question and he shared some insights that were clarifying to me. (This is what I took away from our conversation not Steve’s words.)

You start by talking to a random group of potential customers in your target market. A small number of them are willing to try your product and the rest of them have some reason for saying “No.”

You need to focus on the reason that some customers say “Yes” and some say “No.” What are the attributes which differentiate the adopters from the decliners?

Are these attributes temporary conditions which will cease to be relevant over time? Or are they attributes which will keep you relegated to a niche market.

For example, maybe your decliners like the value your product offers but want backwards compatibility, validation from other high profile customers in the space, SLAs, or time to get comfortable with the idea of change. Your adopters agree these extra details would be nice but they are willing to use your product without them. This is a classic case of early vs late adopters. The extra requirements of your late adopters will naturally be addressed as your product evolves while catering to your early adopters.

But if your decliners don’t feel like your product addresses a pain they have or are indifferent to the idea whereas your adopters are excited by it, something different is probably going on. Is it because your adopters use a technology that your decliners do not? Or your

. Whereas your adopters are excited about your product because of a unique workflow they have. This may well be a case of niche market. As you work hard to keep your adopters happy and further address their needs, it’s not getting you any closer to addressing the objection of your decliners.

Th

have some unique workflow

or other things which you’ll address over time but

Why Google Glass may be huge–People underestimate the cost of friction

Keith Schacht| May 9th, 2013

An entrepreneur’s guide to babies

Keith Schacht| December 9th, 2012
Post to Twitter

My wife and I are both entrepreneurs. Many times we’ve discussed going into business together but there would be too many chiefs and not enough indians so we know it wouldn’t work out. But 10 months ago we decided to launch our first joint venture, a baby. (Well, technically we decided 9 months before that.)

Neither of us accept the standard doctrine on baby raising; we both question everything. And over this last year we’ve figured out many hacks for keeping our little guy happy, both of us well rested, and our household functioning. Today I decided to document these so I don’t forget in case we decide to go through all this again. I’m only going to tell you the things you won’t hear other places.

While in the oven

  • Read The Panic-Free Pregnancy (link) – You will receive false information about risks to unborn babies. Caffeine, alcohol, lunch meets, fish. Read this book for the facts. Some of them are real risks but most of them are not. This book summarizes the actual studies that have been done and explains which risks are real.
  • Prepare for delivery – During the ~24 hours of delivery there was no continuous person who was with us and overseeing things. Even my wife’s OB wasn’t going to handle the delivery, whomever in their clinic happened to be on call when the time came is who would handle it. This makes for a frustrating process and is probably one of the advantages to bringing your own midwife or doula. We interviewed a couple doulas and didn’t like them. Instead, we found a friend-of-friend who is a labor and delivery nurse. We really liked her and make arrangements to call her day or night with questions. I called 3 times during the ~24 hours to update her and ask questions. Every ~5 hours there was a new nurse taking over so it was super helpful to have someone I trusted to call for a second opinion, especially since my wife was drugged up and not much help in making some of the decisions I had to.

The arrival

  • Watch The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD (link). Your baby will cry. You will not be able to calm it. You will start to go crazy. This DVD reveals several kung fu moves that work like magic.
  • Read Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old (link). Unlike every other baby book you come across which is 1000 pages long with no chance of you completing in your sleep deprived state, this book will take you just an hour to read. It is a step-by-step guide to getting your baby to sleep. You can’t start until week 5-7 (depends on birth weight) but week 10 our baby was sleeping 12 hours. Many a friend thanked us for this recommendation. You will read it multiple times and follow every step. It really works.
  • Practice the straight jacket swaddle (video) – A good swaddle can make the difference between a full nights rest or getting woken up. After many failed attempts I found this on YouTube. There is no getting out of this swaddle. Babies love it.

Equipment no one will think to buy you but you desperately need

  • The best bottles (link). Not only do these bottles eliminate tons of regular cleaning, these are better than any of those anti-colic bottles (Dr Browns or others you will undoubtedly be recommended). I spent too much time researching the colic bottles. All they do is eliminate air intake. Air comes from two places: bad suction at the nipple or air within the bottle. These bottles have huge freakin nipples, no problems with suction. And the bag liner eliminates all air. Buy these bottles and you’ll never need any other.
  • Sterilizer steamer bags (link) – You will go through a super-paranoid-I-must-sanitize-anything-that-comes-within-twelve-inches-of-my-baby phase. It will pass quickly. Soon you’ll be brushing dirt off the pacifier and slipping it right in junior’s mouth. But until the paranoia has passed these bags make sterilizing fast & easy.
  • Pacifier leash (link) – Buy 5-10 of these so you can tether pacifiers to everything. The carseat. The stroller. The baby bjorn. Your baby. Pacifiers are one of the greatest inventions ever and you always want to have one within reach.
  • Hazmat poopy diaper bags (link) – Poopy diapers stink. When on the go you will want to contain those suckers and these bags do the trick. Worth clipping to your diaper bag.

Random other tips

  • Colic means nothing. Your baby will have colic. This is not a condition, it is a set of symptoms. Specifically, it’s the symptom of your baby being healthy but still deciding to cry or displays symptoms of distress frequently. This defines every baby.
  • Crying. It is very easy to get worked up when your baby cries but changing your perspective can really help. As an adult, we only cry in very extreme circumstances when we are in real pain. For a baby, crying is their only method of communicating. If a baby is slightly cold, they let you know by screaming hysterically. If they don’t like the position of their leg, they let you know by screaming hysterically. If they are a tiny bit hungry, they let you know by screaming hysterically.
  • Dream feeding. You don’t have to wake your baby to feed it! This is called dream feeding. I can’t believe this isn’t mentioned in the baby instruction manual. We didn’t learn this until about 4 months but it was a life saver. There are times when you know your baby needs to eat but you don’t want to wake him. You don’t have to! Just slip the bottle (or breast) in his mouth and he will eat without waking. It’s magic.
  • More crying. When your baby finally gets mobile, it is okay to let him hit his head. He will try to pull himself up on things. Sometimes he will slip and he will fall. Don’t freak out when it happens and don’t go out of your way to prevent it. This is how they learn. It only took our guy a couple times of trying to pull himself up on something flimsy like a paper bag before he started testing how strong a support was before pulling up on it. Absent sharp objects, babies won’t do any real damage hitting their head from their own height.

Teaching That Sticks – A Review

Keith Schacht| November 18th, 2012

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die is an interesting book. Like most non-fiction published these days, there is an essay-worth of really good ideas in here that was unfortunately drawn out to the length of a book (I feel this way about most non-fiction I read these days). Something must be broken in the publishing industry that incentivizes this treatment.

Fortunately, for your sake, there *is* an essay version of this book that you can download here. It’s the author’s attempts to summarize their ideas and apply them for teaching.

Here is my summary of their summary. :)

If I have an idea or lesson I want to convey, the first step is to condense the entire subject matter into one retainable unit. Ideally this is done by identifying the fundamental principle behind everything I’m about to say, or if the subject matter does not have a true fundamental then come up with an acronym or analogy. These are three distinct ways of creating a single unit that the audience’s mind can hold and keep referencing back to.

e.g. Scientists determined that the earth is round because of observations they made that wouldn’t be possible if the earth was flat.
The entire subject matter of accounting is fundamentally like balancing a checkbook

After condensing, the next step is to come  up with concretes examples that will illustrate this fundamental. The more sensory-level examples that you can come up with the better, you want people to be able to literally experience the example first-hand, or at the very least be able to imagine it vividly. Furthermore, if you can come up with examples that illicit emotions those are the best.

After these two steps you’re ready to begin organization the presentation of the material. To start, you need to motivate the audience, this is best done by starting with a mystery. There are two kinds of mysteries that work. The first is a literal mystery, you start about something that happened but you leave the audience hanging as to how. The second is to highlight an existing gap or contradiction in someone’s knowledge. In both of these cases this setup hooks your audience because they want to know how the mystery is resolved, the mystery should be resolved by understanding the fundamental point you are trying to conveying.

Lastly, now that you’ve motivated your audience you’re ready to present all of the relevant details and examples that lead people to understanding your fundamental condensation of the material. Ideally, figure out a story or narrative that ties all these examples together and creates a causal sequence leading you from one point to the next. This could be an artificial story that you make up or it could be in herent in the subject matter.

I’ll do this now with an example. How do we know

Being intentional vs acting out of habit

Keith Schacht| November 18th, 2012

Have you ever observed that you can live through the same event with someone but afterwards you’re reflecting and the two of you experienced something totally different? What you choose to focus on determines the experience that you have.

You have a lot of work you need to get done. You sit down to eat dinner and quickly eat your food, you aren’t even tasting it because you’re mind is thinking about what you need to get done.

You ride the bus with someone each day and after a year of doing so you realize you hardly know anything about them. All your small talk about the weather, the day’s errands, the bus driver, and you never thought to get to know the real person.

Most of what you do in life you’re doing on autopilot. This is okay, it has to be this way; your attention is so limited that you would be unable to get much done if you were in capable of automatizing complex behaviors. It’s this ability to automatize which allows you to accomplish ever-increasingly advanced things.

However, the consequence of this ability to rely on autopilot, is that we cease to be intentional about our application of our conscious focus. After automatizing doing something well, it’s easy to simply rely on that automatization and let our attention mind wander in the process.

Another example. A lot of people spend too much time over-optimizing things. Your confronted with a situation that has a lot of options and you spend way to much time applying your conscious focus to evaluating each and every alternative but the situation doesn’t warrant it. Frankly, you would have been satisfied with any one of the options and you should have picked the first one and spent your time doing something else.

The most limited resource you have isn’t time, it’s your attention. Be careful what you apply your attention to. Apply it to those situations that you really care about, that are worth your attention. Don’t bother to apply it to those that don’t.

Know which situations you should be intentional about and which situations you should simply act out of habit. The ability to act out of habit is an ability which should not be abused.

FB lessons

Keith Schacht| November 18th, 2012

Collaboration with talented like minded person

The benefits of doing things at scale (and resource constrained) you optimize for what really matters

Marketing: what matters most is getting the messaging right

Articulate the range of PMs and what really matters. Engineers.

How to run a good meeting

Culture of the company. It’s the distillation and application over again

What matters: connecting with the people you work with

Pursuing happiness in your career

Keith Schacht| November 18th, 2012

Rationalizing inaction
Bias towards waiting too long

When you have an inkling there is something else you want and you can come to some concretization or some next step.

Fundamental discontents vs circumstantial discontents

An entrepreneur’s guide to babies

Keith Schacht| September 24th, 2012
Post to Twitter

My wife and I are both entrepreneurs. Many times we’ve discussed going into business together but there would be too many chiefs and not enough indians so we know it wouldn’t work out. But 10 months ago we decided to launch our first joint venture, a baby. (Well, technically we decided 9 months before that.)

Neither of us accept the standard doctrine on baby raising; we both question everything. And over this last year we’ve figured out many hacks for keeping our little guy happy, both of us well rested, and our household functioning. Today I decided to document these so I don’t forget in case we decide to go through all this again. I’m only going to tell you the things you won’t hear other places.

While in the oven

  • Read The Panic-Free Pregnancy (link) – You will receive false information about risks to unborn babies. Caffeine, alcohol, lunch meets, fish. Read this book for the facts. Some of them are real risks but most of them are not. This book summarizes the actual studies that have been done and explains which risks are real.
  • Prepare for delivery – During the ~24 hours of delivery there was no continuous person who was with us and overseeing things. Even my wife’s OB wasn’t going to handle the delivery, whomever in their clinic happened to be on call when the time came is who would handle it. This makes for a frustrating process and is probably one of the advantages to bringing your own midwife or doula. We interviewed a couple doulas and didn’t like them. Instead, we found a friend-of-friend who is a labor and delivery nurse. We really liked her and make arrangements to call her day or night with questions. I called 3 times during the ~24 hours to update her and ask questions. Every ~5 hours there was a new nurse taking over so it was super helpful to have someone I trusted to call for a second opinion, especially since my wife was drugged up and not much help in making some of the decisions I had to.

The arrival

  • Watch The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD (link). Your baby will cry. You will not be able to calm it. You will start to go crazy. This DVD reveals several kung fu moves that work like magic.
  • Read Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old (link). Unlike every other baby book you come across which is 1000 pages long with no chance of you completing in your sleep deprived state, this book will take you just an hour to read. It is a step-by-step guide to getting your baby to sleep. You can’t start until week 5-7 (depends on birth weight) but week 10 our baby was sleeping 12 hours. Many a friend thanked us for this recommendation. You will read it multiple times and follow every step. It really works.
  • Practice the straight jacket swaddle (video) – A good swaddle can make the difference between a full nights rest or getting woken up. After many failed attempts I found this on YouTube. There is no getting out of this swaddle. Babies love it.

Equipment no one will think to buy you but you desperately need

  • The best bottles (link). Not only do these bottles eliminate tons of regular cleaning, these are better than any of those anti-colic bottles (Dr Browns or others you will undoubtedly be recommended). I spent too much time researching the colic bottles. All they do is eliminate air intake. Air comes from two places: bad suction at the nipple or air within the bottle. These bottles have huge freakin nipples, no problems with suction. And the bag liner eliminates all air. Buy these bottles and you’ll never need any other.
  • Sterilizer steamer bags (link) – You will go through a super-paranoid-I-must-sanitize-anything-that-comes-within-twelve-inches-of-my-baby phase. It will pass quickly. Soon you’ll be brushing dirt off the pacifier and slipping it right in junior’s mouth. But until the paranoia has passed these bags make sterilizing fast & easy.
  • Pacifier leash (link) – Buy 5-10 of these so you can tether pacifiers to everything. The carseat. The stroller. The baby bjorn. Your baby. Pacifiers are one of the greatest inventions ever and you always want to have one within reach.
  • Hazmat poopy diaper bags (link) – Poopy diapers stink. When on the go you will want to contain those suckers and these bags do the trick. Worth clipping to your diaper bag.

Random other tips

  • Colic means nothing. Your baby will have colic. This is not a condition, it is a set of symptoms. Specifically, it’s the symptom of your baby being healthy but still deciding to cry or displays symptoms of distress frequently. This defines every baby.
  • Crying. It is very easy to get worked up when your baby cries but changing your perspective can really help. As an adult, we only cry in very extreme circumstances when we are in real pain. For a baby, crying is their only method of communicating. If a baby is slightly cold, they let you know by screaming hysterically. If they don’t like the position of their leg, they let you know by screaming hysterically. If they are a tiny bit hungry, they let you know by screaming hysterically.
  • Dream feeding. You don’t have to wake your baby to feed it! This is called dream feeding. I can’t believe this isn’t mentioned in the baby instruction manual. We didn’t learn this until about 4 months but it was a life saver. There are times when you know your baby needs to eat but you don’t want to wake him. You don’t have to! Just slip the bottle (or breast) in his mouth and he will eat without waking. It’s magic.
  • More crying. When your baby finally gets mobile, it is okay to let him hit his head. e will try to pull him self on things. Sometimes he will slip and he will fall. Don’t freak out when it happens and don’t go out of your way to prevent it. This is how they learn. It only took our guy a couple times of trying to pull himself up on something flimsy like a paper bag before he started testing how strong a support was before pulling up on it. Absent sharp objects, babies won’t do any real damage hitting their head from their own height. They have to fall from a couple feet off the ground.

An entrepreneur’s guide to babies

Keith Schacht| September 23rd, 2012
Post to Twitter

My wife and I are both entrepreneurs. Many times we’ve discussed going into business together but there would be too many chiefs and not enough indians so we know it wouldn’t work out. But 10 months ago we decided to launch our first joint venture, a baby. (Well, technically we decided 9 months before that.)

Neither of us accept the standard doctrine on baby raising; we both question everything. And over this last year we’ve figured out many hacks for keeping our little guy happy, both of us well rested, and our household functioning. Today I decided to document these so I don’t forget in case we decide to go through all this again. I’m only going to tell you the things you won’t hear other places.

While in the oven

  • Read The Panic-Free Pregnancy (link) – You will receive false information about risks to unborn babies. Caffeine, alcohol, lunch meets, fish. Read this book for the facts. Some of them are real risks but most of them are not. This book summarizes the actual studies that have been done and explains which risks are real.

The arrival

  • Watch The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD (link). Your baby will cry. You will not be able to calm it. You will start to go crazy. This DVD reveals several kung fu moves that work like magic.
  • Read Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old (link). Unlike every other baby book you come across which is 1000 pages long with no chance of you completing in your sleep deprived state, this book will take you just an hour to read. It is a step-by-step guide to getting your baby to sleep. You can’t start until week 5-7 (depends on birth weight) but week 10 our baby was sleeping 12 hours. Many a friend thanked us for this recommendation. You will read it multiple times and follow every step. It really works.

Equipment no one will think to buy you but you desperately need

  • The best bottles (link). Not only do these bottles eliminate tons of regular cleaning, these are better than any of those anti-colic bottles (Dr Browns or others you will undoubtedly be recommended). I spent too much time researching the colic bottles. All they do is eliminate air intake. Air comes from two places: bad suction at the nipple or air within the bottle. These bottles have huge freakin nipples, no problems with suction. And the bag liner eliminates all air. Buy these bottles and you’ll never need any other.
  • Sterilizer steamer bags (link) – You will go through a super-paranoid-I-must-sanitize-anything-that-comes-within-twelve-inches-of-my-baby phase. It will pass quickly. Soon you’ll be brushing dirt off the pacifier and slipping it right in junior’s mouth. But until the paranoia has passed these bags make sterilizing fast & easy.
  • Pacifier leash (link) – Buy 5-10 of these so you can tether pacifiers to everything. The carseat. The stroller. The baby bjorn. Your baby. Pacifiers are one of the greatest inventions ever and you always want to have one within reach.
  • Hazmat poopy diaper bags (link) – Poopy diapers stink. When on the go you will want to contain those suckers and these bags do the trick. Worth clipping to your diaper bag.

Random other tips

  • Colic means nothing. Your baby will have colic. This is not a condition, it is a set of symptoms. Specifically, it’s the symptom of your baby being healthy but still deciding to cry or displays symptoms of distress frequently. This defines every baby.
  • Crying. It is very easy to get worked up when your baby cries but changing your perspective can really help. As an adult, we only cry in very extreme circumstances when we are in real pain. For a baby, crying is their only method of communicating. If a baby is slightly cold, they let you know by screaming hysterically. If they don’t like the position of their leg, they let you know by screaming hysterically. If they are a tiny bit hungry, they let you know by screaming hysterically.
  • Dream feeding. You don’t have to wake your baby to feed it! This is called dream feeding. I can’t believe this isn’t mentioned in the baby instruction manual. We didn’t learn this until about 4 months but it was a life saver. There are times when you know your baby needs to eat but you don’t want to wake him. You don’t have to! Just slip the bottle (or breast) in his mouth and he will eat without waking. It’s magic.
  • More crying. When your baby finally gets mobile, it is okay to let him hit his head. e will try to pull him self on things. Sometimes he will slip and he will fall. Don’t freak out when it happens and don’t go out of your way to prevent it. This is how they learn. It only took our guy a couple times of trying to pull himself up on something flimsy like a paper bag before he started testing how strong a support was before pulling up on it. Absent sharp objects, babies won’t do any real damage hitting their head from their own height. They have to fall from a couple feet off the ground.

An entrepreneur’s guide to babies

Keith Schacht| September 23rd, 2012
Post to Twitter

My wife and I are both entrepreneurs. Many times we’ve discussed going into business together but there would be too many chiefs and not enough indians so we know it wouldn’t work out. But 10 months ago we decided to launch our first joint venture, a baby. (Well, technically we decided 9 months before that.)

Neither of us accept the standard doctrine on baby raising; we both question everything. And over this last year we’ve figured out many hacks for keeping our little guy happy, both of us well rested, and our household functioning. Today I decided to document these so I don’t forget in case we are crazy and decide to go through all this again. I’m only going to tell you the things you won’t hear other places.

While in the oven

  • Read The Panic-Free Pregnancy (link) – You will receive false information about risks to unborn babies. Caffeine, alcohol, lunch meets, fish. Read this book for the facts. Some of them are real risks but most of them are not. This book summarizes the actual studies that have been done and explains which risks are real.

The arrival

  • Watch The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD (link). Your baby will cry. You will not be able to calm it. You will start to go crazy. This DVD reveals several kung fu moves that work like magic.
  • Read Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old (link). Unlike every other baby book you come across which is 1000 pages long with no chance of you completing in your sleep deprived state, this book will take you just an hour to read. It is a step-by-step guide to getting your baby to sleep. You can’t start until week 5-7 (depends on birth weight) but week 10 our baby was sleeping 12 hours. Many a friend thanked us for this recommendation. You will read it multiple times and follow every step. It really works.

Equipment no one will think to buy you but you desperately need

  • The best bottles (link). Not only do these bottles eliminate tons of regular cleaning, these are better than any of those anti-colic bottles (Dr Browns or others you will undoubtedly be recommended). I spent too much time researching the colic bottles. All they do is eliminate air intake. Air comes from two places: bad suction at the nipple or air within the bottle. These bottles have huge freakin nipples, no problems with suction. And the bag liner eliminates all air. Buy these bottles and you’ll never need any other.
  • Sterilizer steamer bags (link) – You will go through a super-paranoid-I-must-sanitize-anything-that-comes-within-twelve-inches-of-my-baby phase. It will pass quickly. Soon you’ll be brushing dirt off the pacifier and slipping it right in junior’s mouth. But until the paranoia has passed these bags make sterilizing fast & easy.
  • Pacifier leash (link) – Buy 5-10 of these so you can tether pacifiers to everything. The carseat. The stroller. The baby bjorn. Your baby. Pacifiers are one of the greatest inventions ever and you always want to have one within reach.
  • Hazmat poopy diaper bags (link) – Poopy diapers stink. When on the go you will want to contain those suckers and these bags do the trick. Worth clipping to your diaper bag.

Random other tips

  • Colic means nothing. Your baby will have colic. This is not a condition, it is a set of symptoms. Specifically, it’s the symptom of your baby being healthy but still deciding to cry or displays symptoms of distress frequently. This defines every baby.
  • Crying. It is very easy to get worked up when your baby cries but changing your perspective can really help. As an adult, we only cry in very extreme circumstances when we are in real pain. For a baby, crying is their only method of communicating. If a baby is slightly cold, they let you know by screaming hysterically. If they don’t like the position of their leg, they let you know by screaming hysterically. If they are a tiny bit hungry, they let you know by screaming hysterically.
  • Dream feeding. You don’t have to wake your baby to feed it! This is called dream feeding. I can’t believe this isn’t mentioned in the baby instruction manual. We didn’t learn this until about 4 months but it was a life saver. There are times when you know your baby needs to eat but you don’t want to wake him. You don’t have to! Just slip the bottle (or breast) in his mouth and he will eat without waking. It’s magic.
  • More crying. When your baby finally gets mobile, it is okay to let him hit his head. e will try to pull him self on things. Sometimes he will slip and he will fall. Don’t freak out when it happens and don’t go out of your way to prevent it. This is how they learn. It only took our guy a couple times of trying to pull himself up on something flimsy like a paper bag before he started testing how strong a support was before pulling up on it. Absent sharp objects, babies won’t do any real damage hitting their head from their own height. They have to fall from a couple feet off the ground.