Choose your customers. Choose your clients.

“This is a choice, a huge one in the life of the freelancer, the entrepreneur or anyone who seeks to engage with the marketplace.” – Seth Godin

Key concepts when working either as a client or at an agency.


Part 2 : Refining your vision, from mission statement to actionable intelligence

In Part 1, I introduced a set of “guiding questions” one can pose before embarking on a cycle of product development or as an aid to focus a project team on a specific goal. They’re useful questions to ask whenever one wants to challenge assumptions and shake the tree a bit to get at the truth of a given situation.

But sometimes one doesn’t have a clear solution in mind or one needs to overhaul an existing, underperforming product or service. Best to go back to basics to ground oneself by defining an overarching goal and supplement with some intelligence about how to achieve that goal.

Refining Our Vision 

  • What’s our vision?
    • E.g., our ultimate goal – the global leader in delivering amazing sport content anywhere, anytime
  • What’s our mission?
    • E.g., state broadly how we achieve the vision – e.g., “producing market-defining products to deliver our best of breed content to the world”
  • When will we know we’ve succeeded?
    • E.g., which metrics and KPIs will we use to measure progress toward our mission, fulfilling our vision? Increased subscription revenue? x% more page views or marketshare?
  • What will contribute to achieving our ambition ?
    • Core product or service
    • Who are our customers?
    • What “jobs to be done” do our customers want?
    • What makes us different from our competitors?

This technique works for commercial propositions as well as products and services – and prepares one for devising a concrete set of product requirements.

vision and mission development worksheet
A useful grid to help you refine your vision, supporting mission statement and to define specific products and “jobs to be done” to further your goals.

Continued in Part 3.

Part 2 : Refining your vision, from mission statement to actionable intelligence

Part 1 : So you want to build a successful and profitable web site, mobile or home devices app, service or platform?

Often when I tell newly met acquaintances how I make my living this statement/question arises – “I have an idea for an app (or website, etc) – tell me how do I make it?” Where to begin? Perhaps with a quick overview of my previous experience. Over the past 14 years I’ve made a wide array of products and services, monetised through advertising, subscription and mixed revenue models :

  • Streaming video portals
  • Screen savers
  • Advertising creatives
  • Flash-based games
  • Marketing microsites
  • Educational assessment
  • Breaking news, live video & video-on-demand sites and apps

Despite differences in scale and diversity, all of these products began by answering a series of “guiding questions”. These aren’t the classic “five whys”, but instead help lay the foundation for further development of your idea or proposition :

  • How would you describe this in 60 seconds?
  • What problem does it solve?
  • What is the service?
  • What is the opportunity?
  • Who are the competition?
  • What is our competitive advantage?
  • How will we monetise this?
  • What is required to deliver this?
  • What don’t we know and how will we find the answers?

If you’re able to quickly answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way toward making a commercially viable product or service.

This will be the first in a series of articles discussing how one conceives of, constructs, delivers and maintains a digital product. It’ll be a blend of commercial considerations, project management, product delivery and technical development.

Continued in Part 2, Part 3.

Part 1 : So you want to build a successful and profitable web site, mobile or home devices app, service or platform?

What it takes to be a consultant

As I prepare to launch a new phase of my career, I’m mindful of this thoughtful summary of precisely what it takes to be a great consultant by Matt Gemmell. Essential reading for anyone looking to up his/her game in business.

Today is my final working day with Perform and this paragraph sums up what I hope I’ve achieved over the past several years – and hope to do long into the future :

Being a consultant is about diplomacy. It’s about being a fact-finder for the client’s issues, and an interpreter for their wishes and business goals, and a translator between the domain of a difficulty, and the necessary steps to solve it. It’s also always about being an ambassador for the real stakeholders, which are usually the customers.

What it takes to be a consultant