Jan 27, 2023
Every time a new feature or product was proposed, Jeff Bezos decreed that the narrative should take the shape of a mock press release. The goal was to get employees to distill a pitch into its purest essence, to start from something the customer might see—the public announcement—and work backward. Bezos didn’t believe anyone could make a good decision about a feature or a product without knowing precisely how it would be communicated to the world—and what the hallowed customer would make of it. -Everything Store
We use the Amazon’s Working Backwards method. Working Backwards starts with a customer-centric Press Release and FAQ. Our addition is a a Landing Page and a low-fidelity MVP. Once the PR/FAQ is written we work backwards to define the tasks we need to accomplish to complete the product.
This document is not a set-and-forget. We will continuously update this document as we build the product. The goal is to first write the document before building the product to create clarity
The PR/FAQ process has the benefit of uncovering the following characteristics in a business:
- Simple. to Operate: A product should be simple to operate and once built should be easy to scale.
- Job to Be Done. Focus a product on performing a single task well for a single customer segment. Products don't need to be everything to everyone. If a product can be built for different customer segments make them into separate products.
Every product starts as a press release. A press release is a mission statement written from a customer standpoint. It forces the problem to be explained and addresses the goal of the mission from the point of view of the Customer First. We use this to then solve the rest of the problems of delivering to the customer, but a press release defines the first step of why the customer needs the product we are building and why we are the best people to build the product.
The template for a press release looks like the following:
[Product and who the customer is]
[City, State]–[Intended Launch Date]– [Intro paragraph]
[Quote by leader in your company]
[How the product/service works]
[Quote by a customer of the product/service]
To learn more, go to [URL].
A set of questions that are answered from a customer standpoint. The ones in * are ones we should answer. Some of these can just be copied directly onto the public website.
- What is ?
- What is the problem?
- Who has the problem?
- What are the costs associated with the problem?
- How do people currently solve this problem, and how do those solutions fall down?
- What has changed enabling a new solution?
- How does the new solution work?
- How do you know it’s better? (Quantitative, Qualitative)
Total Addressable Market
- How many consumers have this need or problem?
- How big is the need?
- For how many consumers is this problem big enough that they are willing to spend money to do something about it?
- If so, how much money would they be willing to spend?
- How many of these consumers have the characteristics/capabilities/constraints necessary to make us of the product?
- Who are the existing competitors?
- Who are example companies from similar industries?
Economics and P&L
- What are the per-unit economics of the service? That is, what is the expected gross profit and contribution profit per unit?
- What is the rationale for the price point you have chosen for the product?
- How much will we have to invest up front to build this product in terms of people, technology, inventory, warehouse space, and so on?
- Is it within our area of competence? How would we be able to deliver additional value?*
- What are the challenging product engineering problems we will need to solve?
- What are the challenging customer UI problems we will need to solve?
- What are the third-party dependencies we will need to solve?*
- How will we manage the risk of the up-front investment required?*
- Who is running this? Are they the right people for this project?
Our products are built around a single “Job to Be Done” for a specific niche. To fulfill this we keep our landing pages to a single page. Write the landing page along with the Press Release as it creates a public page that can be shown to potential customers and get their feedback. The product page should be created and emails collected using Google Ads before anything code is written. This helps gauge interest for the app while we are building the product.
- A clear pitch to the customer
- A smaller secondary pitch
- A click through action
- List three benefits to using the product
- Create a clear customer for the product
- Customer Logos
- List customer logos for people using the product
- Write a few blurbs from the customer or potential case studies
- List three benefits to using the product. How will it improve the customer’s life?
- Have three pricing tiers
- Add what is listed in the External FAQ below