Discover more from Traction Thinking
New: 🚀 3-2-1 Traction — evidence, efficiency, and the double diamond
Also in this issue: what you signal through your use of equity, problematic mindsets, and a cheeky jab from Steve Blank.
Hey friend 👋
Welcome to another week — and, for those of us in the US, a short one at that!
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be productive. This is 3-2-1 Traction: 3 big ideas from me, 2 ideas from others, and 1 question to help you focus in your journey to find traction.
In honour of September 8th, live long and prosper 🖖.
3 ideas from me
Startups are about finding the most credible theory of hugeness.
One of the most common ways to measure credibility is with data from the market — most obviously, sales, of course.
But that's not the only form of market evidence:
Letters of intent
Email opt-ins / beta signups
They all count as evidence — but degrees of evidence. It’s a ladder, and the higher you are, the more risk you can accept and the more funding you can acquire.
Ergo, always aim to be as high up the ladder as you can.
They say early startups shouldn't be efficient. They're wrong!
With limited resources, time, money, people? Be most efficient, because you can’t afford to waste a damn thing.
But it’s a trap.
Say your job is to fold and stuff letters. The most efficient way is batch printing, folding, stuffing, sealing, addressing, stamping, then mailing. But what if you discover the letters don’t fit the envelopes after you’ve printed and folded? You just wasted time and money!
That’s the problem with efficiency. We think about trading work now (printing letters) for efficiency later (stuffing). That’s investing in efficiency, not being efficient. Extra work today for less tomorrow.
The most efficient start is ensuring you can fold and stuff one letter. For a startup, efficient today is getting data from the market fast and cheap.
Do things that don't scale because that’s the most efficient way to find traction.
Founders most commonly use equity to get around cashflow problems — they can’t hire competitively, so they offer equity.
That’s fine, but it misses the power of equity. How you allocate and leverage equity is a language.
a signal of what (and whom) you value;
the basis for a dispute resolution;
an expectation of contributions;
a manifestation of culture;
It’s more than a financial instrument — equity is a tool that must be wielded wisely.
2 ideas from others
I remind my students that cheating on customer discovery interviews is like cheating in your parachute packing class.
Like any experienced advertising agency, they didn’t immediately start working on a solution based on assumptions…
First, they did research to understand possible problems with Dove. Only after they found the right problem, they started working on a solution.
So they formulized this problem-solving process as the Double Diamond model: the first diamond is for finding the right thing to work on… and the second diamond is for doing the thing right.
First, you explore the possibilities without limiting yourself. Then you focus on execution.
Design thinking wasn’t always called “design thinking”.
1 question for you
As you start a new week, take a moment to audit your thinking. What in your mindset today may hinder your progress tomorrow?
Thanks for reading, my friend!
PS… If you’re enjoying 3-2-1 Traction, will you take 6 seconds and forward this issue to a friend? It goes a long way in helping me grow the newsletter (and helping more founders find traction).