All posts

Reflection and hypotheses

NB: This post has been republished from my defunkt newsletter. Enjoy 🙏

Hey there,

You may have missed issue four a couple of weeks ago, due to a technical hitch with TinyLetter. The subject line was replaced with “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears”. Fortunately, if you’re not up for trawling through your inbox for it (I understand, we’re all busy people), you can find it in the archives.

Now, onto the meat of this issue…

Recently, I’ve had a few conversations about a side project I shipped last year, which I’d like to share with you. That side project was Timo, a todo and time tracking application for creatives who have to fill out time sheets. Looking back, all the signs are promising. We launched a MVP which got some decent traction. Since shipping, we’ve had over 7000 people use the app, nearly 100,000 tracked events and continue to have users despite not tending to the application or the people using it. Sure, these are vanity metrics, but they go some way to suggesting it would be worth pursuing further. The interest exists. But it also leaves some big question marks: what’s the actual problem we’re solving? Would people pay for it? Is it possible to turn it into something more valuable for the people using it and it’s creators? These are the answers we need to find.

In essence, the first step is to define a hypothesis. The second is to define a method to test it. Let’s take the “would people pay for it?” question, and reframe it. The hypothesis becomes:

People will pay for Timo.

To test this, we could:

  1. Contact our current users and ask them if they would pay
  2. Setup a kickstarter and have people commit their money towards a new shiny version of Timo
  3. Find where our audience may hang out and offer them life time access in return for a nominal fee
  4. The list is endless, but to keep this short…

One of these may prove enough to find the answers we’re looking for, to inform our decision making. CEO & Founder of Jupiter, Helen Tran wrote about this in Note-taking and Accountability.

To decide whether it’s go time with Timo, or another opportunity, the real trick is figuring out what to test first. This, I believe, is where ideation and intuition plays a big part.

Take an idea you have, and turn it into as many hypotheses and null hypotheses as possible. Then, prioritise them by what you think will make or break the idea. Pick one or two from the top of the list, and focus all your efforts in creating a test to prove them. They’re now your guiding light.

I’m going to use this process imminently with Timo and some other less fleshed out ideas. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Richard