About Shimoshi NM
Means "useful" in Hebrew
Early-stage product development is not about speed or efficiency. Going slow here enables blistering speed, less waste, and higher valuation later.
Speed might get an idea to market fast, but ideas are a dime a dozen. An idea takes off in optimal conditions, the right environment for that idea executed in a certain way.
Don't rely on what sells. By that time you've burned through time and money and patience. A fail means a flop. Someone buying a thing does not tell you precisely what is, and is not, performing in your product and business model. You need to understand your optimal product outcomes.
What, exactly, should you create?
Who is the user and what is the use case?
What is the world like with your thing in it?
Can you explain all of this to your team, funders?
Why an Opportunity Coach?
What would you do if you knew an array of opportunities around your identified problem?
Now that VC and investment bank funds are more scarce, it's more imperative that entrepreneurs deeply understand their value proposition -- the fundamental and systemic problems their business addresses.
However, entrepreneurs have limited runways. Expert product development is yet another expense.
A seasoned generative product advisor can help you make the most of your runway. Know why a problem should be addressed at all -- in this way, at this time.
Know what user behaviors your product is tapping and the levers to influence. Know how you and your team are suited to execute this opportunity because you had your choice of solution options.
With a product advisor, explorations persuade you and your stakeholders that your product is beyond feasible, beyond viable, beyond desirable. It's adoptable. This exact opportunity belongs in reality now.
About Susan Wilhite
20+ years conducting trailblazing UX research in big tech (e.g., Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Intuit) working on user adoption requirements of emerging tech in stealth mode or skunkworks.
Formal Education Master's from UCLA, Bachelor's from UNM (The University of New Mexico). Both in Anthropology. Continuing education at Harvard, Stanford. EDAC in 2014.
Interests Ecologies and evolution, tool use, ethical & safe tech, dark data, speculative futures, circular economics, and built environments.
Susan pivoted to Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.
Above photo: Fresh off the Mountain View shuttle bus wearing a prototype Google-Levi's Jacquard denim jacket and likely listening to a podcast. Off to the dinner line and then the drive home by the sea.
So -- that's a lot of non-startups in your background. Why should I listen to you about startups?
Stealth and skunkworks in the big leagues are under the same pressures as independent entrepreneurs. They pitch internal supporters and conjure a thing on the cheap that will sell to internal stakeholders. There are NO guarantees and no safety nets - think of all the projects Google and Microsoft have killed in their infancy over the years.
Stealth ventures might have more established resources at the start. Still -- why should entrepreneurs ensconced within Big Tech have all the advantages?
Plus, I have been in a few early ventures. Some you might know of, some I still can't talk about.
I'm in the entrepreneur ecosystem myself. I see the differences between the brilliant idea versus the true understanding of problems and actionable solutions, how mistakes happen, how ego defeats good intention, when resilience beats raw persistence -- how the sausage is made.
Yup. Someone who thinks deeply about patterns and systems. How an element works or doesn't work in small and large, simple and complex, ecologies.
As a startup begins to develop marketing and sales, they're determined to prevent technical and user experience debts. I can save hours patching misdirections and having to assemble a customer support/success team. Make the right thing the right way, out of the box.
"There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after."
The Shimoshi Approach
Startups are experiments. Those experiments are more fun when a real product and business emerge, take flight and can maintain airspeed velocity with or without coconut in tow.
UX Research applies science and some art to gather real-world evidence for a potential product or service.
Sure there's market research that hints at who's likely to buy your thing. But what will it take for users to actually integrate product use into their daily lives? Will your product design inhibit or support your long-term business goals?
As a general principle, I believe in products that are so great that marketing is unnecessary. In other words, appropriate and desirable products that practically sell themselves.
Product benefits that are easy to find and recognize. The product truly contributes to the user's goals, desires. The product is a meaningful factor in the business model. It's not a lemon with a kickass sales force and extensive customer support to make it fly.
"Startups often underestimate the time required for experimentation, ultimately leading to their demise."
The Best Time to Scale Up, Harvard Business Review, March-April 2023
“I need to be a little more risk-averse.” Instead of his taking a company for its word, he added, “now, the product needs to make a lot of sense.”
"I don't expect fast growth.
I just don't want to fail because of
some small thing I didn't know."
Healthcare Startup CEO
Concept & Design | Jeff Bridges on The Coen Bros. | The Big Lebowski
"Every scene, it's so chock-full with great stuff. They write together, and I remember asking them, I said, 'How do you guys write and direct together?' I love my brother Bo but, God, I think that would be kind of a nightmare because we have these different opinions.' And I think they said something like, 'Well, we work it out when we're writing it, so when we are there shooting it, we've ironed out all our differences.'
They actually enjoy the process over the result. "We are never going to enjoy watching the movie," said Ethan Coen.
"If you want to do something horrible to people with technology, you must first inflict it on people without social power."
"What amuses me is the belief that making an interface simple to set up "as you like" for 9 bazillion unique configs is cheaper and easier than having 2 user researchers and 3 designers beat the sh*t out of every belief and assumption before dev starts on just the right thing."
Sophie Freiermuth, @wickedgeekie on Twitter