Single Decisive Reason for CVP
Launch Countdown to 2:22 02.22.2022
Today we will talk about Single Decisive Reason. SDR is about finding a key reason to make a decision instead of adding a few okay reasons. Below, we will discuss this idea in the context of our core customer value proposition (CVP).
Make sure to follow our company page [in]/getAllspark and our founder @founderYonz. Furthermore, AllSpark is sponsoring W3B, a hacker community for people invested in building a better consumer internet (W3B Discord invite). We will continue to drop Easter eggs across our social and community channels so keep an eye out.
This is Part II of the Launch Countdown series, I will give daily updates (except Sunday) up until the planned launch on Tuesday at 2:22 02.22.2022. As usual, the format will be to kick off with a shameless plug for AllSpark, add some entrepreneurship content and close with a little bit of information on the product. Part I can be found below:
Single Decisive Reason
At some point in every founder’s journey, they have been asked “What is your core customer value proposition?” in some form or another. At AllSpark we have spent countless hours talking to potential customers trying to identify our core customer value proposition. For some, finding the core CVP may be easy advice to follow but we would wager that countless others have found this task challenging in the early stage.
The concept of Single Decisive Reason was introduced by Reid Hoffman in the famous HBR article Reid Hoffman’s Two Rules for Strategy Decisions where he states:
When there’s a complex list of pros and cons driving a potentially expensive action, seek a single decisive reason to go for it — not a blended reason
We see this decision-making framework at play in Rahul Vohra’s Single Decisive Reason: decision-making for fast-scaling startups post. For those that are not familiar with Rahul, he has phenomenal and tactical advice for entrepreneurship, a great example is the seminal Product Market Fit Factory Engine.
The concept boils down to making decisions based on a core reason instead of adding a bunch of simple ones together. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains in Antifragile, “giving myriad justifications for an action exposes inner uncertainty.”— in case you didn’t click the SDR link. This view is commonly held by most seasoned founders and investors.
“The general rule is one business model drives the business. It’s tempting to list multiple revenue streams because you’re trying to prove that you will be big. Yet when consumer internet companies do this, investors generally see a red flag.”
Lots of smart people co-sign on the concept of finding a core customer value proposition, so why is the message not getting through? Well, for starters, knowing and doing are very different. Hopefully, our AllSpark journey to deploy SDR to identify a core CVP may highlight some of the tensions from the receiving end of the table.
The main insight that we got from countless conversations was that there was very little common ground, even in similar customer groups. Over time we noticed some common themes around customer conversations where we were asked to define our core CVP:
There are too many things, just tell me which one to focus on
I don’t have time, can you TLDR it for me
I don’t understand what you are building
I don’t see the pain point
I am not interested but maybe if you give me your best proposition I may change my mind.
Some of the more forgiving insights were:
We were hitting the limits of communication without a prototype
It is challenging to get customers to “yearn for the sea”, focus on discussing products and pain points
Recognize the space, and benchmark to your peers. Ours is consumer software and we are trying to sell vegetables (products that are great for you but you don’t sit around craving them).
In our opinion, the takeaway here shouldn’t be that you fold shop and move on to the next idea (most fail fast pedagogy) but to be cognizant that you don’t have leading indicators of product-market fit. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” we have internalized the feedback and have worked to dampen the cost of continuing to follow a path where you have yet to find compelling signals. The approach we are taking is to follow a hyper capital efficient strategy and creatively marshal resources to deliver a delightful product. Furthermore, we have identified a few falsifiable assumptions that we will test in the market to avoid turning into a zombie company.
Great, tell me about AllSpark?
The core customer value proposition for AllSpark was elusive because we had three pain points we wanted to tackle: Identity, Automation, and Curation. Furthermore, they had to be interdependent for a seamless product experience (see bottom). We landed on “Streamline your internet experience!” and will leave it to the market to refine it through real-world experimentation.
Since our customer interview data was noisy and inconsistent we deployed SDR thinking to make this decision. Orienting our users for our vision of a user-centric, composable, and private consumer internet experience from day 1 was paramount. Time will tell if we will need to adjust. As the saying goes, “strong opinions loosely held.”
All pain points identified flowed from what we see as the account sprawl problem mentioned in the previous post and pictured below. We as users and builders experience the pain points caused by this status quo every day and it drives us to build AllSpark to put users back in control of their Internet experience.
AllSpark aims to tackle the three primary pain points: authentication (passwords), automation (update my home address everywhere), and a curated personal feed (I want something to surface important content that I would have missed) in a user-centric, composable, and privacy first manner. More on this on our next post… stay tuned!