These are my notes from Lecture 16 of the Startup Class taught by Sam Altman. Emmett Shear, gave a talk on how to run a user interview.
My notes from the previous lectures are here.
- Started Kiko Calendar with Justin Kan
- Sold it on eBay
- Didn't talk to users and didn't know much about calendars
- Second start up was Justin.tv
- Where there own users in that case
- But they needed to broaden the context/audience of Justin.tv
- That's when they actually went out to talk to users
- Determined that broadcasters were the most important people
- Realized that users would follow the content and the broadcasters
- Its important to decide which users to talk to – need to find the target users
- Talked to both the viewers and the broadcasters
Conducting a user interview
- Lets work though an example of how to conduct a user interviews assuming the product is a ;ecture focused note taking app
- Step 1: Think about who the best users to talk to before you decide to build this out are (Think about the 3-5 types of people you would talk to, and think about which the most important type is)
- college students divided by major/are of study and studying style (take a lot of notes vs. not)
- IT administrators
- Parents of kids
- Step 2: Find them and talk to them
- Don't focus on talking about optimizing user flows in the early set of interviews
- Users think they know what they want but they often don't
- Step 3: Based on the insights you pull from an interview, think about the features you would want to build on top of/instead of the existing solutions
- E.g, Google docs but with smaller "sticky" notes
- Step 4: Once you have an idea, you want to actually go out and validate the idea. Again go out and talk to to users
- Advice for these interviews:
- Build out some version of hte product such as user flows/ a mockup and take it to users and see if they're excited about it
- Never ask if the "Is this feature actually good or not?" because everyone just responds saying its great.
- The money test works well: see if you can get them to give you their card.
- Advice for these interviews:
You get the horseless carriage effect where you're asked for a faster horse instead of asked to design the actual solution to the problem.
- Want to talk about how interviews helped us at Twitch
- Spoke to a lot of broadcasters from Justin.tv collecting 20+ pages of feedback.
- Saw some common themes, and detailed feature requests, but none of these features were so big that they stopped using the service.
- Then did some competitor user interviews speaking to people who weren't using the service but were on competitor broadcasting services.
- The features they listed were the "killer" features that resulted in them not using Justin.tv
- An even more important thing we did is talk to non-broadcasters, and see why they weren't using a service like ours.
- Talking to competitors users is normally only a short term win, but talking to non-users enables you to learn about how you can expand the size of the market.
- Need to learn about what features would be needed to get users who have never used your product to try it out if you want to expand your market
- Built broadcasting into Xbox and PS4 to make it easier to broadcast based on learnings from interviews with non-users.
- Learn about the main goals and build features that help users that meet those goals.
- Don't necessarily build features exactly the way users ask for it.
Tips for user interviews
- Don't show users your product: It puts things in their head. You want unfiltered views/opinions.
- Talk to who you need to talk to, not who is easily available.
- Don't compensate people for interviews – find the people that care enough about the problem that they are willing to talk about it
- Definitely try to do the interviews in person or using Skype rather than over email – enables you to get interactive feedback and learn a lot more.
- In terms of groups to focus on first, users using competing products is a good start, since you just need them to switch rather than create a new behavior in new users.