How to build a startup story and develop a sticky product

You got sold a knife set, but you didn’t need it

Just as any amazing sales(wo)man would sell you a beautiful knife set for your kitchen. You probably didn’t need it, but I bet if you dissected why you purchased that set, it’s probably because he or she, convinced you that you had a problem.

  • Your current knife set doesn’t work (a first derivative issue)
  • It takes you too long to cut (a second derivative issue)
  • Your food is bad because you are not good at cutting (a third derivative issue)
  • You have relationship problems because your food is not good, because you cannot chop food properly (a fourth derivative issue)
  • This results in issues with your children, your husband, your spouse.
Photo of Ravi Kurani and Jarie Bolander on a Google Meet
  • Product market survey (which drives the 40% number…more below), and feeds roadmap items into…
  • Product led growth (PLG) as a methodology to build and sell sticky products
  • The story funnel, which allows you to package and build a narrative around features that are inspired by the product market survey
The three vertices of startup story telling and product development

The core model

Vertex 1: Product market fit survey

  • Rahul Vohra in his product-market fit survey basically tries to figure out how disappointed people are if the product is taken away from them.
  • He then asks what features would be necessary, and most importantly to describe who else would benefit from the product.
  • This does two things, (1) tells you who is interested in the product from a segmentation standpoint and (2) what is your core demographic, as defined by the user, which then allows you to segregate users. Which is brilliant, because you have the users defining who they think would best find value in the product.
  • [side note heres an amazing template from Dave Bailey on the strategy. We’ve actually implemented a few of these (will update soon)]
  • The magic number here is if 40% of folks would be DISSATISFIED with having your product taken away from them. A side note, amazingly we hit a 36% dissatisfied metric. I will definitely throw this as a metric to track into our OKRs for next quarter.

Vertex 2: Product led growth (PLG) development

Product led growth (as defined by, is a “business approach where customer acquisition, marketing and sales all revolve around the product itself

Source: ProdLed

Vertex 3: The Story Funnel

This part we’re still working on, but it will basically be a ‘story guide’ to how your entire team should talk about the product, what values it has to users, and why people should purchase it. It’s broken into 3 main chunks and helps you build a flywheel from Rahul’s P/M survey and PLG into a concise narrative that you can implement everywhere you have “assets” that people will see (be it a FB ad, to an email, to a Point of Purchase display).

Thank you!

Tonight was a bit of a cryptic post, but if you have any questions just email me- or comment on this post. I’m more than happy to help and walk through our thinking. I’ll be posting more on the topic shortly!



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