At Six Degrees Of Data, the team and I have been struggling with a number of issues but always at or near the top of our list is ease-of-use. This is because what Bridger does is complex and difficult for many users to understand. We figure that explaining how we do semantic analysis is less important than making sure someone:
- Understands what we do and why
- It is as simple to use Bridger as it humanly possible.
If we can do this then we have a chance of building a user base, then a company and perhaps even a viable revenue stream. Dare to dream.
The scale of this challenge was bought home to me this morning when I received another Lean Startup newsletter by email. The topic was 'Rapid Iteration for Mobile App Development' by Sarah Milstein. Given the stage Bridger is at it sounded interesting so I read on.
The newsletter proved to be an interview with Mariya Yao, the founder and Creative Director at Xanadu. Mariya had some interesting things to say about customer engagement but I've got to be honest - some of what she says is a frightening.
Here's what she says about what's needed to succeed:
"There are two questions that I recommend startups use to differentiate between being liked versus being loved. First is the question Sean Ellis popularized, where you ask your users, "How disappointed would you be if you could no longer use our product?" and have them answer with either, "Very Disappointed," "Somewhat Disappointed," "Not Disappointed," or "I no longer use the product." Sean did research across hundreds of startups and discovered that companies that had fewer than 40% of their users answer "Very Disappointed" tended to struggle with building a successful and sustainable business.
The second question is known as the Net Promoter Score, where you ask your users, "On a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend us to your friends?" You mark those who answer 0-6 as Detractors, 9-10 as Promoters, and 7-8 as Neutral. Your Net Promoter score is the percent of Promoters minus your percentage of Detractors, which should be a number between -100 and +100. The world's most successful companies typically score around +50, and top performing tech companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon regularly score over +70."
Wow - that's quite a hurdle to jump.
Note - the Sean Ellis referred to in the quote is, I think, a long time blogger on the topic of startups and marketing. You can find his blog here. He says that he is taking a break from blogging but past entries are well worth reading.
So back to being scared.
Being an analyst at heart, I want to be able to measure the level of love and the net promoter score for my app. It is still early days for Bridger but if it is possible I want us to bake into the app a way of measuring these things.
As I read on, Mariya offers up a proxy I think we can use: "A popular metric for measuring retention in the mobile games industry is DAU / MAU, or daily active users divided by monthly active users".
If we can we will combine this with some direct market research of our users at the end of the next stage of development - a public beta of Bridger.
I'll let you know how we do in a few month's time.