The Product Person #37: Talking to Users

hi, Anthony here! Every week, I find articles and posts around the web about product development and how to build great products. Then I summarize and share them here.

Let’s get to it!

(Also, Happy New Year 🎉 )

The Basics

Three common mistakes you’re probably making when talking to users:

  1. You’re talking about your idea, and not their life.

  2. You’re talking about hypotheticals, and not specifics.

  3. You talk, but don’t listen.

The Mom Test is a great book about this.

Your aim is to extract useful data to improve your product and marketing. And that’s hard to do if you’re focused on what features you want to have, instead of understanding your customer better.

Also, questions like “If I build X, would you buy that?” aren’t helpful because it’s hypothetical. You want to focus on what’s currently happening and what they’ve tried in the past.

Useful Questions

Five useful questions you can ask in any user interview:

  1. What’s the hardest part about [doing this thing]?

  2. Tell me about the last time you encountered that problem…

  3. Why was that hard?

  4. What, if anything, have you done to try to solve this problem?

  5. What don’t you love about the solutions you’ve tried?

The aim is to gain context and clarity about

  • the person

  • the problem

  • when the problem is encountered

  • how often is the problem encountered

  • if they’re tried solving it

  • where current solutions are failing them

YC’s video on talking to users further breaks down how they suggest you approach user interviews at different stages: The Idea Stage, The Prototyping Stage, and The Launch Stage.

🔗 You can also find the full video here.

Some News

I made a New Years Resolution: to write everyday of 2021.

I started on Christmas Eve, and I’ve been going everyday since then on my personal blog. I’d love for you to follow along.

So far, I’ve written about Pixar’s Soul (love that movie!), productivity tips, and what I ate for breakfast.

New posts every day at :)

End Note

Thanks for enjoying The Product Person. I’d love it if you shared it with a friend or two. If this was shared to you, you can subscribe here.

❤️ Hit the heart button as well, it helps a lot.

Have a happy new year,

(P.S. Is there something I can help you with? Reach out to me via email or set a date)