It has been a busy couple months, but issue #3 is overdue.
Topics this time around:
Unveiling Prefer, a new product and team that I’ve been working with for over a year.
Some things I am thinking about, from intuition to art to Alexa.
Run down of some recent posts.
Unveiling Prefer, A New Product & Team
As some of you know, i’ve been helping build a new product/team for over a year now. This week we launched “Prefer,” a new way for service professionals and clients to find each other via referrals and work together. It was designed to help surface the “small-world connections” within private networks of friends. The more time I spend with service professionals of all kinds (from babysitters, tutors, personal trainers, and yoga instructors, to dog walkers, chefs, and accountants…), the more I realize how much of their careers are at the mercy of circumstance. They are dependent on employers or other technologies that inhibit rather than enhance their relationships with clients.
Last week I spent 30 minutes with a manicurist in NYC, creating her “service menu” and helping her invite private clients to book her directly and refer her to their friends. She was so excited. She also seemed proud, as if she was taking the reigns on her own business for the first time.
For clients, the benefits of Prefer are quite simple: It helps you find the service professionals you need from people you know. It also removes the stress from scheduling, payment, etc…
Anyways, it is early days and there are still so many obstacles and puzzles the Prefer team must overcome. Just about the only positive signal that really matters in the early stage of a new business is the quality of team that is attracted to it. Promising! If you’re interested, read the story behind Prefer (link below), and get the app. I’ve also enclosed an article from Fast Company that profiles a few service professionals that have been using the product since we launched the beta test in NYC.
I am doubling-down on a project that has been on-again-off-again for about five years: chronicling the stories and insights from the messy middle of entrepreneurial journeys. You know, the years of ambiguity and working in anonymity (nobody understanding or caring about what you’re building), constantly refactoring or pivoting, and just trying to optimize whatever seems to work… If this really resonates and you have some hard-earned insights that you’re willing to share in a book, drop me a line - email@example.com - so I can follow up at some point during the research phase. I think there is too much focus on the starts and finishes, and not enough written or discussed about the middle journey that most entrepreneurs would rather forget.
Don’t be tricked by the volume of what you hear and how often you hear it. Nothing should resonate more loudly than your own intuition. Perhaps this helps us understand Donald Trump’s strategy as a candidate? It also helps us understand how technology may be amplifying messages that somehow override the intuition of some voters. And finally, it makes me wonder if/how education can better inform intuition. Regardless, in a world of social media amplification, volume is a factor that we seldom discuss.
Art Is Farmed. This analogy carries quite well, the more that I think about it. Art is farmed and your work is your art. You feed it every day. Your discipline keeps it alive. You can only harvest it when it’s ready. Nobody who consumes it realizes just how much work went into it. The “weather" is beyond your control, and impacts what you grow in surprising ways. You need to rotate your crops, otherwise the soil loses its nutrients. Every season is informed by the one before it, switch it up. And you’re never done…you just start all over again.
Alexa being hijacked by advertising. I am waiting for a TV ad to yell a command to every viewer’s Echo (Alexa) to buy a product. The viewer will need to confirm or cancel, but much less friction for anyone (especially children) to just say “yes.” Someone already tried it. Shady TV advertising sales tactic of a new era!
Say what you will about the new Macbook “Touch Bar,” but this purchase UX felt like the future…
In Case You Missed It...
Over the past few months, I’ve focused on questions around which you should engage first when launching a new product, the criticality of timing for investors and entrepreneurs, and the concept of “organizational debt” (and how to clear it!). Here are some of my latests posts on Medium:
some insights on technology, design, and making ideas happen. NOTE: Once you sign-up, you'll get a confirmation email (check your "Promotion" folder in Gmail if you don’t see it). Thanks and feedback welcome. -scott