Hackernoon logoLooking for a New Smartphone Led Me to Create a Platform That Aims to Reverse the Product-Market Fit by@mar1n3r0

Looking for a New Smartphone Led Me to Create a Platform That Aims to Reverse the Product-Market Fit

Founder of VisioneerHub, Stateless Minds is offering consulting services to founders bootstrapping startups. The idea evolved into a collaborative platform for product ideation and concept testing. Concept testing focuses on the basic product idea, without the embellishments and puffery inherent in advertising. It is important not to confuse concept testing with advertising testing, brand testing and packaging testing, as is sometimes done. Concept testing is a process of using surveys to evaluate consumer acceptance of a new product idea prior to the introduction of a product to the market.
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Stateless Minds LLC

Founder of VisioneerHub, Stateless Minds is offering consulting services to founders bootstrapping startups.

Hard Landings

It was early 2020 when I had just left my job at a startup and was looking to renew my mobile contract and get a new smartphone.

So far I always opted for compact flagships or mid-rangers and was on the lookout for the next one. I was aware that the market is pushing for bigger and bigger devices which leaves me with little to no choice.

I couldn't find anything smaller than my previous handset but got even more curious about the topic. Are there any other people looking for compact devices? How many of us are there? How is it possible that we have hundreds of brands producing the same things and no one catering for any other needs, be it in terms of size, keyboard, or other characteristics? I have noticed quite a lot of discussions and polls on tech websites. The topic seemed hot and debated at the time.

I started asking myself deeper questions like how come market supply and demand - an otherwise unmistakable mechanism that has been driving our economy for hundreds of years - is not taking care of product diversity this time and it's not even on the news.

Eureka

Thorough research spanning over a period of a few months painted a bigger picture. It appeared that the market has reached a point of stagnation where profits are still tolerable in favor of maintaining the status quo while costs for innovation and corresponding business risks are high enough to prevent the move.

I asked myself what if the product-market fit was reversed and instead of producers deciding what to create it was users that dictate the decision making.

The Idea

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This thought was the beginning of VisioneerHub - a collaborative platform for product ideation and concept testing. A year later the idea evolved into 3 distinct roles that are interdependent.

The customer this time played a central role called 'paid tester' as I imagined it previously - the entity that has to validate the need for something to be produced and get paid for the feedback as well.

This took the shape of a "Would buy potential product" button and a prize mechanism for providing feedback. Next, I researched concept testing and its role in the product development cycle.

"Concept testing (to be distinguished from pre-test markets and test markets which may be used at a later stage of product development research)[1] is the process of using surveys (and sometimes qualitative methods) to evaluate consumer acceptance of a new product idea prior to the introduction of a product to the market.[2] It is important not to confuse concept testing with advertising testing, brand testing and packaging testing, as is sometimes done. Concept testing focuses on the basic product idea, without the embellishments and puffery inherent in advertising."

I said to myself - the dots are connecting. If I connect companies with their potential users and make it so that companies are interested to know what their future customers think of the idea before risking any money they might be way more attracted to use the technique widely making consumers part of the decision-making process and rewarding them for participation.

The Arsenal

Then I researched the instruments that can be used to achieve the goal.

"It is important that the instruments (questionnaires) to test the product have a high quality themselves. Otherwise, results from data gathered surveys may be biased by measurement error. That makes the design of the testing procedure more complex. Empirical tests provide insight into the quality of the questionnaire. This can be done by:

  • conducting cognitive interviewing. By asking a faction of potential-respondents about their interpretation of the questions and use of the questionnaire, a researcher can verify the viability of the cognitive interviewing.
  • carrying out a small pretest of the questionnaire, using a small subset of target respondents. Results can inform a researcher of errors such as missing questions, or logical and procedural errors.
  • estimating the measurement quality of the questions. This can be done for instance using test-retest,[3] quasi-simplex,[4] or mutlitrait-multimethod models.[5]
  • predicting the measurement quality of the question. This can be done using the software Survey Quality Predictor (SQP).[6]"

Surveys seemed a sane way forward. Companies can create them internally, attach a headline image to attract users, and upload them on the platform with rewards for completion -- concept testing campaigns were born on VisioneerHub.

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Putting it All Together

That kind of covered the relationship between companies and customers, but what about anyone else with an idea, I thought. Previously, I often found myself thinking about how a favorite product I use on a daily basis can be improved. Sometimes I had this sketched on a piece of paper or on my screen. I could only imagine how many users are doing the same.

These ideas could be very useful to companies I said to myself. Of course, they are not professional concepts but they are well worth something that a company can collect and use in their internal teams later on.

These observations lead to the creation of the designer role - any hobby or freelance designer could upload visual ideas with some explanation and sell them to companies.

Eventually, this idea resonated with the "Would buy potential product" button that can signal market demand in a very early stage and also serve as an indicator for the popularity of ideas among users. This also resulted in adding private messaging for companies and designers based on message tokens purchased internally.

Here we are one pandemic later, VisioneerHub has just launched and I am still looking for that compact smartphone.

Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concept_testing#:~:text=Concept%20testing%20(to%20be%20distinguished,a%20product%20to%20the%20market.

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