The Pizza Analogy 🍕
The product you build is not what you sell. The value is.
Hello friends! 👋
Today I want to share a mindset principle that I have discussed a lot with early-stage founders with whom I have had conversations. The Pizza Analogy 🍕
Often when I ask someone to pitch their idea, nearly 99% of them focus on the product. “We are building a website / app / platform / marketplace that is simpler / faster / slicker / better / easier than competitor XYZ.”
However, when I ask, “Could you articulate the value you're delivering to your users or customers?”, the responses tend to be vague and disjointed.
The challenge many people (myself included) face is that when we conceive an idea, it's predominantly centered around an end product – a "thing" that can be built.
Perhaps you have seen this illustration with Mario before:
We must remember that "the thing" we create can be iterated on a thousand times over. Which is actually essential. But not in early-stage ideas. At least not for 90%+ of them. Identifying the core value we deliver is more crucial, and harder!
In the early stages of our ideas, we should focus on:
Delivering value by any means possible and validating if that is what our customer segment wants.
Establishing relationships with early adopters who accept the value you deliver.
Iterating on the "product" based on their feedback.
Your earliest adopters don't care how you deliver the value! So stop brainstorming about building more product and start thinking about how you can find evidence and establish that your idea has a right to exist.
So, how does pizza relate to this?
When you order a pizza 🍕, a value proposition is presented before you make a purchase:
Its delivery time
Perhaps a review
Once you buy the pizza, you expect that value to be delivered to your door resembling the picture, arrive warm, taste great, and be delivered within the promised time.
Do you care about the pizza-making process? Gas oven? Wood oven? Supersonic hyperbeam oven? Are you interested in the oven, dough, and cheese specs and brands? ♨️🔥
Do you care how the vendor delivers it to you? By scooter, bike, car, truck, plane, drone, or rocket? 🛴 🚴♂️ 🛺 🚛 ✈️ 🚀
The same principle applies to early-stage idea & product validation:
✅ Validate if people want the value you believe they want.
🏎 Build your MVP to determine this as quickly as possible. It doesn't necessarily require coding.
🔁 Optimizing the delivery of that value is an ongoing process, only occurring if enough people desire the value.
Another approach to understanding the value you want to deliver is to ask yourself: "What is the job-to-be-done?" What do your users or customers want to achieve?
This classic 5-minute lecture by Christen Christensen teaches you the value (or job-to-be-done) of a Milkshake 🥤
I hope you enjoyed this real first edition of Viable Ventures! If you have any questions or want feedback on something you are working on, just hit reply!
High five from the internet,
Bram Kanstein (@bramk)