Actionable Advice From Experience and Evidence

Reality is inconvenient at times, especially when it doesn’t conform to our assumptions and/or wishful/magical thinking. Instead of relying on assumptions/faith, this blog looks critically at context-relevant research, evidence, and experience as the basis for decision-making. This blog (and website) provides actionable advice, see this discussion for what it means for advice to be actionable. Implicit in our risk-management approach are questions about the validity and credibility of what we think we know, and reducing the risk that we are wrong.

We frequently and unapologetically quote Steve Blank who goads people to leave the office. Steve says “Build it and they will buy is not a strategy, it is a prayer,” “you cannot create a market or customer demand where there isn’t customer interest.” Steve has a point. There is a real risk of your office becoming an echo-chamber of your thoughts and assumptions. You need to leave the office and visit your prospective customers in their natural environment. You need to see them struggle for progress in their respective contexts.

If passion and ill-founded over-confidence are not sufficient, then what is? Use the scientific method to test all of your assumptions. Briefly, the method gets us to make explicit our assumptions and guesses (hypotheses). We then create and perform experiments to determine if our hypotheses have any validity. See the Build, Measure, Learn Loop below.

The explicit goal for traversing the Build, Measure, Learn Loop above is to gather the evidence required to unambiguously and with high confidence make a decision. The decision is to either launch (your solution), abandon, pivot, or repeat another cycle of the loop. Whether it was your preferred one or not, that decision will be an evidence-based outcome.

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Identifying a Job To Be Done

Summary It’s easy to pronounce that the first thing you need in business is a Job To Be Done, for which you will develop a solution. But just how do you go about finding a Job To Be Done? The following is a slightly adapted extract from the book Starting a Business With Facts, Not Faith, reproduced for your convenience. Identifying a Job To Be Done Customer Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) describe in the customers’ words what they are trying to accomplish. Identifying and satisfying customers’ JTBD can...

The 1 Thing You Need To Know For A Successful Business – Provide Value

Based on the fact that the purpose of business is to provide value, I set out on an internet quest to find the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) posted by businesses. I wanted to ensure I understood and am addressing the critical concerns and not merely what I find interesting and important. I’ll continue that frustrating quest another day. Instead of finding a core set of questions, I found all manner of irrelevant FAQ lists as well as descriptions on how to create the ultimate FAQ list....

Plagiarism Is Intellectual Theft

I want to briefly discuss plagiarism, “the representation of another author's language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions as one's original work.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagiarism, Wikipedia. Plagiarism intellectual theft. It is an act of misrepresentation, of representing capability, skills, and knowledge the perpetrator does not possess. Plagiarism is in short, lying, and that’s not even touching the issues of breaching copyrights. The document from which the following quote is...

Systems Thinking

Work in progress ... Systems thinking is the process of understanding how things, regarded as systems, influence one another within a whole.https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Systems_thinking Systems Thinking is a ??? of Systems Theory, which is the interdisciplinary study of systems. A system is a cohesive conglomeration of interrelated and interdependent parts which can be natural or human-made. Every system is bounded by space and time, influenced by its environment, defined by its structure and...

System

A system is a group of interacting or interrelated entities that form a unified whole.[1] A system is described by its spatial and temporal boundaries, surrounded and influenced by its environment, described by its structure and purpose and expressed in its functioning. Systems are the subjects of study of systems theory.Wikipedia. See also Systems Thinking.

Covid-19 Roadmap to Recovery

The report COVID-19 Roadmap to Recovery is a refreshing and valuable alternative to the seemingly endless advice proffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, with much of that advice having narrow focus and much of it providing little to no evidence in support of any recommendations. Thank you Kailash Awati (K) from Eight to Late (https://eight2late.wordpress.com/) for your latest post: Collaborative reasoning in the age of Covid. The reasons I think K’s post is of interest are: K seems like a top...

Covid-19 – Unprecedented?

I’m tired of hearing that what is happening regarding Covid-19 is “unprecedented”. Unprecedented (adjective) - Never done or known before. For example ‘the government took the unprecedented step of releasing confidential correspondence’ Oxford online dictionary. What exactly is unprecedented with Covid-19? The disease? The global spread into a pandemic? Our dependence on vulnerable global supply chains? Our pathetic level of essential supplies? Our much-needed and in some cases belated...

RHRT-3: The Situation Is Complex But Not Hopeless

Introduction We have moved well beyond business as usual into an alternate reality of business unusual. This may be the time to follow the “if life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” cliché or maybe if you prefer, make marmalade, lemon tarts, or lemon honey. Mmm, I like lemon honey. Anyway, if what you were doing recently isn’t working now, you need to seriously consider whether it is worth continuing on that journey, but this time with more enthusiasm and zeal. The admonitions that “you didn’t...

RHRT-2: Covid-19 Business Continuity Response

RHRT - Radical Honesty and Radical Transparency ... As the first step, find out if you are eligible for any government assistance. See COVID-19: Information for businesses. Apply for whatever you believe you are eligible for immediately. The sooner you apply, and assuming you and or your business qualify, the sooner the support will be delivered. Do this now. Don’t be shy. The point of the assistance is to keep, as far as is practical, people spending. If people keep spending, then the...

RHRT-1: Not All Businesses Can Be or Should Be Saved

RHRT - Radical Honesty and Radical Transparency ... I apologise if the title upsets you, but that’s the truth: If your business before Covid-19 (and there will be others) was not viable, then unless you pivot to some other Business Model that is viable, then your business is unlikely to survive.If your business before Covid-19 was marginal or viable, it may not be viable anymore, and you will likely need to pivot to some other Business Model that is viable. If you need to pivot or completely...