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Guide: How to make money on dating sites by developing a dating product
Guide: How to make money on dating sites by developing a dating product

Develop a niche dating site. How to find ways to make money on dating platforms ?

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Written by Yanar
Updated over a week ago

How to develop a niche dating platform (site and apps) that outperforms competitors and meets customer needs using JTBD? A product in business, or a good product in business—everyone talks about it, but no one really sees it, and no one knows how to handle it. Is this true? What is a product in the modern world, a world of technology, where artificial intelligence is about to push us aside, and big data will digitize us just more than completely? We talk about this today with my good acquaintance, serial entrepreneur Ivan Zames. In this interview, using examples from other niches, we will answer the questions:

  • How does the Jobs To Be Done framework help to break away from direct competition and increase value?

  • What is a goal graph?

  • What is disruptive innovation and how can it be found?

  • How to monetize a dating app ?

  • How to realize the earning potential of dating apps ?

  • How to make money on dating sites ?

  • How to monetize dating sites ?

  • How to earn money from dating websites ?

  • How to generate income from dating sites ?

  • How to generate revenue on dating websites ?

  • How to implement monetization strategies for dating sites ?

Develop a niche dating site

I'll share my experience with developing products and services, why I got into it, and what it means to me today. From 2006 to 2009, I had a web studio. We made custom websites, and that was the first money I ever earned. And we made websites. Part of me understood that what I was doing was nonsense. But I had this huge, unformed question: how should it be done correctly, what do people actually find interesting? In 2009-2010, I discovered a tool called usability.

For the first time, I started getting more or less adequate answers to the question, "How is it done correctly?" Okay, something about convenience. Okay, but what is convenience? How do you create it, how do you measure it?

But the main question, actually, is: convenience in the context of what? What should we make more convenient for the customer? And when I started working at Yandex, I was very interested in different products. I remember doing test assignments for Yandex Mail. I just looked at what emails came to me, what I did with the emails, and came up with three folders. Spam marketing emails, social networks, and everything else.

I didn't get hired at Yandex Mail. But my fascination with the product, when I was already managing the product at Yandex Images, led to a constant search. I was looking for ways to make the product more valuable. Apparently, this is my characteristic, thanks to which I am now doing what I do. In the background, I constantly saw a gaping hole in place of the answer to the question: what is a product, how to develop it, why are we doing this?

And to this gaping question, to the best of my ability, my exposure, and intellect, I tried to find an answer. Another important need for me is to share what I have understood. I constantly shared - I spoke at Yandex for employees, for colleagues. Then I started going to conferences. Then I was invited to the first stream to lecture for digital product managers.

I started lecturing about Customer Development, because it was an important part of the answer to the question of how to make a product. You have to ask the user - the user is the ultimate answer, the source of knowledge, the source of answers to the question of how to make a product.

I'll brag that, according to the listeners, I was the most valuable speaker in the digital product. I lectured, and over time, I accumulated a large number of cases.

I consulted many companies, then left the hire, developed my own products, consulted, did research. Over time, I formed a very beautiful and coherent picture of what a product is and how to develop it. It all was born out of dissatisfaction, out of frustration that I really didn't know how to make a product. I can now say that I have somewhat understood it over the last year. Before that, it was a very incomplete understanding.

The time we live in is very comfortable for those who want to deal with the product. Because these methodologies have matured, there is a significant degree of competition and, as a consequence, a need for businesses in people who know how to care about the product, create wow products.

How to monetize a dating app

Jobs To Be Done (JTBD)

Here are several steps and methodologies to help identify audience problems for the jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) approach:

1. Audience Research:

- User Interviews: Conduct in-depth interviews with current and potential users to understand their tasks and problems.

- Review Analysis: Examine reviews on social media, forum comments, and app store reviews to identify common themes and issues.

2. Creating User Personas:

- (If launching a local product) **Demographic Data:** Identify key audience characteristics such as age, gender, location, and socio-economic status.

- Goals and Motivations: Learn what drives your users and what tasks they aim to accomplish.

- Pains and Problems: Identify the main difficulties and frustrations users face.

3. Context Analysis:

- Customer Journey: Break down all stages of user interaction with the product or service to identify bottlenecks and pain points.

- Usage Context: Study the conditions and situations in which users interact with your product.

4. JTBD Methodology:

- Job Map: Create a job map that outlines all the steps users take to accomplish their tasks.

- Competitor Analysis: See how competitors solve the same tasks and identify opportunities for improvement.

5. Highlighting Key Tasks:

- Task Prioritization: Determine which tasks are most important to users and hold the most value.

- Problem Formulation: Articulate user problems in the format "the user wants to achieve [result], but faces [obstacle]."

6. Testing and Validation:

- Prototyping:** Develop prototypes of solutions and test them with real users.

- Feedback Collection: Regularly gather and analyze feedback to refine and improve solutions.

7. Continuous Improvement:

- Iterative Process:** Constantly update your understanding of user tasks and adjust the product to better meet their needs.

Implementing these steps will help you gain a deeper understanding of your audience's problems and develop solutions that truly align with their tasks and needs.

There is a methodology called Jobs To Be Done (JTBD). It has many authors and contributors. One of the notable ones is Clayton Christensen, author of "The Innovator’s Dilemma" and "Innovator’s Solution." He writes about disruptive innovation, radically different approaches to product creation and business models that can disrupt your business if you ignore such risks.

In his second book, he explains how to create detailed products. I encountered the JTBD methodology in 2019. I intuitively felt its power, but it was completely unclear how to apply it to my business challenge. I needed to launch a product from scratch. What to do?

There were very inspiring examples that our products compete not only with direct competitors but also with some non-obvious things. For example, expensive mattresses compete with drinking coffee, Zoom competes with offices and business trips. This sounds very powerful and inspiring, but what to do was unclear.

In 2012, I experienced a crisis. I thought I had learned product management, that it was simple - just find people’s "pains," fix them. But in the end, I just walked around the mall and thought: why do people buy all this? Why do people buy iPhones? Why do they buy handbags? Why coffee?

I realized that there are no "pains" behind purchases at shopping malls. We buy a new iPhone not because the old one works terribly. We buy a new handbag not because we are ashamed to carry the old one. I had a crisis – it turned out everything was more complicated, and there was no good answer. And I set about inventing technology from scratch. A year later, I realized that I was essentially reinventing Jobs To Be Done. I started studying it.

Over three years, I conducted a huge amount of research for a bunch of companies. I helped ten Yandex teams look for segments, find growth points, points of return growth, conversion growth. For a bunch of companies, I looked for segments for new products. And each time I experimented. What if we approach the task this way? Is there such an opportunity?

And in the end, what I understood about Jobs To Be Done. The people who created it are geniuses. They intuitively guessed that in everyone's mind, there exists a goal graph that the brain formulates to satisfy needs.

Everyone has a set of deep needs. Basic: sleep, food, shelter, rest, the need for physical safety, emotional safety. The need for contact, reliance on friends, reliance on the pack, deep emotional contact with a close one, intimate contact with a partner, love, status of dominance, needs for self-actualization, self-development, creativity. And some more complex spiritual needs.

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The peculiarity of these needs is that they are very deep, and people are overwhelmingly unaware of them. Different models of needs are not objective constructs that can be taken out, studied, and measured, but rather they are hypothetical models that presumably accurately describe the deep model of people's motivation. There are many such models, from the famous and controversial Maslow’s pyramid, because it is unclear how the hierarchy is built. There are also SCARF, Self Determination Theory, dozens.

In short, I took the most mentioned, cited models of needs, and derived unified ones. Then the most important realization happened - when I read about models of needs, I saw the phrase that the brain formulates goals in order to satisfy needs.

The brain formulates goals to satisfy needs

The thing about goals is that people tend to become aware of them. For example, the need for contact. There is a couple, a husband and wife, and the man has a need for contact, for attachment. This is a deep emotional, supportive contact, and this need is unconscious. To satisfy this need, the brain formulates the goal to "be a good husband."

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With some image in mind. "Being a good husband" means being a supportive husband who brings money home, maintains safety, and gives flowers. That's the picture. The thing about goals is that the brain becomes aware of them because a person can ask themselves, "Why am I doing this?" and get the answer—I am doing this to be a good husband.

This means that product creators can come to this person and ask, "Why did you do that? Why did you buy flowers, give your whole paycheck to your wife?" "Well, I want to be a good husband." The goal is formed, and it is recognized by the person, it can be reached. This gives us the main unit—around which and for which we create product value.

We work with goals. Goals like "be a good husband," "record a podcast," "make money," are there for a reason. Next, a very important level—goals are structured into a graph. In the graph, there are higher-level goals and lower-level goals.

A goal graph for identifying what product your customer needs

How to make money on dating sites by developing a dating product

A graph is a set of goals and their interconnections. There are levels in the graph, with higher-level and lower-level goals. At the highest level are needs that people are unaware of, which we cannot access. There are also basic needs, which can and should be worked with, but in a slightly different way.

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So, at the highest level, there are goals close to needs. For example, "I want a comfortable life." Or "I want to be in very warm, supportive, and nurturing relationships," "I want a safe home," "I want to self-develop in ways that are important and valuable to me." These are the highest-level needs that a person is aware of and that are closely related to needs. The next level also consists of needs, but they are not recognized by the person. Digging there is possible, but in a different way.

This reveals a very important feature of Jobs To Be Done, which is critical to understanding how to create products. To achieve a goal, a person chooses, based on past experience and available knowledge, which external tools and actions he will use to achieve it.

Depending on the chosen solution, a lower-level goal graph is formed. For example, the goal is to have a convenient, safe, comfortable place to live that meets my interests and resources. A person chooses the solution for this goal to rent an apartment. When a person has chosen such a solution, custom sub-goals are formed for this "goal-solution" pair.

And the lower-level graph looks like this: when I don’t have such an apartment, I want to understand how to rent it. For example, while I am living with my parents or at a girlfriend’s. I want to understand how to rent it because I don’t know how to do it, I haven’t had that experience. Once I understand how to rent it, I want to understand how much I need to earn to start saving. Understand how I need to change my life so that I can afford it.

Then the person decided: I will change my life. The person changes, saves money, he wants to find an apartment. Looks at where he can afford an apartment, in which areas, with what kind of renovation. After that, he says, I want to find an apartment.

And here comes CIAN (a real estate buying and selling platform in Europe), a person browses apartments, then a realtor, contract, deposit, move in, bring in things. This is the sequence of goals. Knowing this sequence of goals, we can already make the first product decisions. Here we are, CIAN, and we help you find an apartment.

But we know that a person goes through these goals sequentially. Before looking for an apartment, there was a goal to understand, in which area, with what kind of renovation and size, I can afford an apartment. And before that, there was a goal to understand, in principle, what money and what I can afford.

Imagine that CIAN has a competitor Avito (a classifieds board in Europe) and they are fiercely competing. Competition becomes expensive. Attracting customers is expensive, retaining customers is expensive. Avito repeats everything CIAN does. CIAN repeats everything Avito does. The value proposition is not unique and does not allow for easy competition as before when Avito did not invest in this business unit.

How to exit competition while simultaneously increasing the value of your product?

And what can Cian do? Knowing the previous and subsequent goals of a person, we can incorporate them into the product. Firstly, this allows us to exit from competition, and secondly, to increase value. For example, newcomers who are not yet familiar with Cian or Avito, or are familiar but have not actively used it,

If Cian says: "I will help you choose a district, region, and comfort level, and you will figure out what you can afford," then Cian exits the competition with Avito. It takes with its product—calculators, examples, a wizard, a Telegram channel, with examples of what you can afford, what kind of apartments there are, what they typically cost, and how it happens. Somehow with its own media content.

You contact the client earlier, before Avito even appears. If Avito hadn't thought of this before. That is, you attract a client where Avito is not present, establishing relationships, trust, obtaining email, phone, possibly a credit card. Then it is much easier for you to retain them, and the client has fewer questions about where else they might search for an apartment when they have already chosen the goal of "searching for an apartment."

You satisfy the client's goals that they have set for themselves. They were aware of this.

How can you further increase value? You know that after you look for an apartment, you visit them. And to visit an apartment, you need to go there. Spend time, arrange with an agent, realtor, call, meet, find the apartment, so there's a lot of hassle.

What can be done? There is a goal to view an apartment, and when the solution "I'll go myself" is chosen for this goal, you face sub-goals, which consume a lot of energy, time, resources, money. What can Cian do? We can achieve this goal for you, killing all these sub-goals for you, so they basically don't exist.

We record videos, we prioritize the listing of apartments with good ratings. We fill out checklists by which owners, potential renters check apartments. We record noise levels, open and closed windows, assess the adequacy of neighbors, whether there is parking, whether the pipes are leaking, and so on. And here your job is done - to understand how to assess the apartment without a lot of effort spent on achieving sub-goals with your previous version of the solution.

And when users of the new incarnation of Cian with video reports visit such an apartment page, they say.... "How convenient." How much simpler and more convenient it is. This simplicity, this convenience is nothing else but the killing of the goal, which with the previous version of your product or with a competing version of the product you were forced to achieve.

A customer will choose the product that accomplishes this goal using fewer resources.

People typically don't explicitly aim to save effort; rather, their goal might be something like "figure out which apartment to choose." Saving effort is our value proposition. It is the reason a customer will choose a product that achieves their goal with fewer resources spent.

  1. So, there is a goal graph. The goal graph stems from underlying needs. This is my first insight. The genius of Jobs To Be Done is that it doesn't invent anything new. It doesn't impose an artificial structure and claim that this is how people behave. Our brain stores information as a graph, a graph of concepts. It's a studied phenomenon; for instance, when you think about Cian, you have an associative set of links: apartments, founders, shareholders, business model, revenue. All these are connections with other nodes in the concept graph. The goal graph is a part of the concept graph, specifically about goals that serve internal needs. That's my first major insight.

  2. Secondly, how is this graph constructed? You have higher-order and lower-order goals. Lower-order goals derive from a specific solution chosen for a higher-order goal. Choosing a specific solution defines the lower-level goal graph. There are many details about what types of goals exist. There are frequent tasks, one-time tasks, sequential tasks, and viral tasks. A lot of interesting stuff. And my second main insight, which explains what to do, is that this graph primarily informs product creators—this is how it is. But fundamentally, it doesn't answer the question, what to do in business?

And the answer to the question came to me when I was reading books by Lisa Feldman Barrett. She's a scientist who has studied emotions for many years, and she wrote two amazing books. "How Emotions Are Made," highly recommended reading. It blows your mind and completely changes the picture of how the brain and emotions work. Her second book, "Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain," posits the following main thesis. The main task of the brain of any organism, including humans, is to manage the balance of resources, literally the broth. In it, you have fats, amino acids, salt, water, oxygen, neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine, cannabinoids, opioids, the whole broth of resources on which the organism operates.

And the brain manages this balance of resources by investing now, expecting a return on investment, resources in the future. That is, the brain acts like an investor. Often a crappy investor, but nonetheless.

What are these investments about? Here we encounter deep needs and goals. For example, we have the goal of arriving on time for a meeting. I was late today, and I needed to achieve the goal of arriving at the meeting and not being too late. To achieve this goal, Yandex Taxi (a taxi service in Europe) tells me, "Buddy, you can pay X rubles and arrive in 15 minutes, or you can pay plus 30% and arrive in 10 minutes because it will be a taxi with taxi license plates and it can use the bus lane."

How to increase demand (APC metric) and average ticket size (AVP metric)

And for me, these extra 30 percent of money provide significantly more benefits. Because arriving on time is important to me, and I will lose fewer resources if I arrive on time. That is, what Yandex Taxi does. This can be remembered by the evolution of the product. Previously, we only had cars without numbers to use the bus lane, and you paid conditionally euros and got there in 15 minutes. But we thought that there are situations, that is, goals, in which money is less important to you, and arriving on time is more important. And you're willing to pay a little more to get significantly more benefits.

So, what did Yandex Taxi come up with? They're like: we see a goal we can achieve for you more efficiently compared to how we solved it for you before, and compared to how competitors solve it.

Or, for example, what does a "Black Friday" discount do? You wanted to buy a computer. You get benefits from the computer - image, portability, status, and so on. So, it costs 150 thousand rubles, but with the discount, it costs 120 thousand rubles. Why is this interesting? Because at this moment, for the brain, it's about achieving goals - status, portability, image, performance. The benefit is the same, but the cost is less.

And this is the basic vector of the brain's interest. The main thing that the brain does is it invests resources. And we, the people who create products, we learn the structure of our customers' goals, segments, and find such goals, such groups of goals, that we can achieve more efficiently for the customer compared to our previous version, compared to competitors.

At this moment, we gain the attention and interest of customers, potential or current, who can achieve their goals more efficiently with us, not with a competing solution.

Another example - the era when gas stations had only gasoline and diesel. No cafes, coffee, toilets, and so on. You just arrive. There's a toilet, but it's stinky and in the field, and you really don't want to use it. Why add a toilet? Because you have a goal to relieve yourself, and you're competing - there's a way to achieve this goal, but it's very unpleasant. You'll get the benefit, but it will be unpleasant, you'll be overcoming disgust.

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A good clean toilet - more benefits and significantly fewer investments because you don't need to look for one, go into the field, overcome disgust. You'll also wash your hands, look in the mirror. And if there's a mother-child room, it's a super toilet. Then a cafe.

People, consciously or unconsciously, reasoned in this way: let's reduce the volume of investments, efforts, and negative emotions that a person experiences in order for them to be more loyal.

Customer perspective - I want to achieve important goals for myself. As soon as there is an option to achieve goals more efficiently, these options become more interesting to me compared to previous methods and alternative options.

A clean toilet at a gas station is more interesting than an unpleasant toilet in the field. Then we'll add a cafe. People on a trip have a goal to be fed, to stay alert, and to rest. Until there were super gas stations, people fulfilled this goal themselves, making sandwiches, taking apples, making a thermos with tea and coffee.

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What do gas stations say? They say, we know you have such a goal, you can achieve it with us while your car is refueling. Tasty, sweet, fresh coffee. Yes, it costs money, but the quality is higher than you would do yourself.

This offer for the brains of people who are traveling. Oh, cool, I don't need to bother. Yes, I'll pay money, but it's a great solution for me. And now we've added cafes.

So, our gas station has transformed from just a fuel function into a super app. You have a cafe, a toilet, snacks, oil, and electric car charging. Here you have a separate segment, they have a separate goal. And for long-haul truckers, fluids, drains, and so on, you have a separate segment.

The brain's interest in more effectively achieving goals is the optimization vector that works on the goal graph of all our segments. Knowing this optimization vector adds a business perspective.

How can a business build a product under this framework?

Initially, a business does not know the goal graph. For example, we have an entrepreneur who says: I will make a network of super-filling stations, better than what currently exists. And he begins to conduct qualitative research, studying this goal graph. He explores the current solutions used to achieve these goals.

Knowing the goal graph, he can apply a set of mechanics. I have identified these mechanics over the last four years; currently, I see 30 mechanics, and I've already named four to you. Exiting a previous job is a mechanic. Eliminating a job is a mechanic. Adding a job, adding to the goal execution, like adding a toilet or a cafe, is another mechanic.

Knowing these mechanics, you can create business value. What is business value? It is people's attention and their readiness to achieve this goal with you, possibly at a higher price. More often than before. More often than competitors. And all this is based on the brain's vector: "I am interested in achieving my goals more effectively."

These are four things: connection with deep needs, the goal graph of our segments, the brain's interest vector in more effectively achieving goals, and the business perspective on what we can do to solve business tasks and to stand out from the competition.

What is disruptive innovation?

Disruptive innovation is a concept introduced by Clayton Christensen in his book "The Innovator's Dilemma." It describes a process by which a new product or service enters a market at a lower level, and eventually displaces established competitors by providing a more affordable, accessible, or convenient alternative.

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Examples of disruptive innovation

  • Zoom: Zoom initially competed with Skype for low-level tasks like quick calls with colleagues. However, when the pandemic forced people to work remotely, Zoom was able to leapfrog Skype by providing a more suitable solution for high-level tasks like client meetings and team collaboration.

  • Shopify: Shopify disrupted the traditional web hosting industry by providing an easy-to-use platform for businesses to create and manage online stores. This eliminated the need for businesses to have technical expertise in setting up and maintaining their own servers.

  • Grocery delivery services: Grocery delivery services like Instacart and Amazon Fresh have disrupted the traditional grocery shopping experience by providing a convenient way for people to order groceries online and have them delivered to their homes. This has saved people time and effort, and has made it easier for people to shop for groceries, especially those who are busy or have limited mobility.

Key characteristics of disruptive innovation

  • Focus on low-end customers: Disruptive innovations typically start by targeting customers who are underserved by existing products or services. These customers may be price-sensitive, or they may have different needs than the mainstream market.

  • Simple and affordable products: Disruptive innovations are often simpler and more affordable than existing products. This makes them more accessible to a wider range of customers.

  • Improvement over time: Disruptive innovations often improve over time, becoming more powerful and versatile. This eventually allows them to move upmarket and challenge established competitors.

Implications for businesses

Disruptive innovation can pose a significant threat to established businesses. If a company fails to recognize and respond to disruptive trends, it may find itself losing market share and eventually being displaced from the market altogether.

To avoid being disrupted, businesses need to be aware of the potential for disruptive innovation in their industry. They should also invest in research and development to create new products and services that can meet the evolving needs of their customers.

Segmentation of your product market through goal graph tasks

My next big insight is what can be done from this huge goal graph by looking not at a specific person but at segments. We have many different ones.

For example, you are a developer and you make money by selling real estate. You don't want to take out a mortgage, but without someone managing the process of getting a mortgage with you, you don't get a lead.

What strategic opportunities does this open up? First, you can find out what segments are in the market. I segment by goals. A goal is a complete description.

For example, when we are a young couple, we have a newborn baby, the baby is 6 months old and he has started crawling. And when he started crawling, it got very crowded in the apartment, where we live in a one-room apartment. Until he started crawling, there was enough space, now there is not enough space. We have maternity capital, and we want to move to more comfortable housing for us, ideally to our own. This is the description of the goals by which people are segmented.

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You learn what segments are on the market. You learn, for example, that there is such a segment. For business reasons, for example, because it is easier for you to compete for this segment, you say: we are fighting for this segment.

That is, first, knowing about the segments on the market, by goals, and then choosing which segment you compete for, opens up to you, firstly, the choice of this segment is already a strategic decision. Secondly, you can say: we have found three segments. For example, people who buy apartments as investors, they reinvest money from the sale of an apartment or from rent for a down payment over and over again, and, as investors, acquire apartments.

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You can find several segments by knowing the goal graph of each of the segments. You can make a decision about which segment to compete for more effectively. Why are investors very interesting to developers? Because a person has bought an apartment from you once, and he continues to buy second, third, fourth, fifth time in your ecosystem.

Why are young couples interesting? Because it is a very clear and specific segment. It is quite easy to find them. You have clear criteria - a child. You can find people who live in their one-room apartment and have a child. It's not very difficult to target them.

And then, when you have chosen each segment, you know the goal graph of each segment, and you see the sequence of goals they go through. You can go to the previous work, leaving the competition. For example, all developers compete for the work, for the goal of selling you an apartment, but there are a lot more goals behind the goal of buying an apartment. Take out a mortgage, choose where in which area, in which apartment, with what standard of living we live, save up for a down payment.

And so, for example, what the developer "Samolet" (real estate developer in Europe) is doing brilliantly now, they say, we are competing not for "selling you an apartment," but for "saving up for a down payment." And this is the product "Izhivika" (Izhivi ka - a derivative name from several words).

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This product was created through "going to the previous work" in the goal graph of the segments of real estate buyers. That is, this specific product was accepted as a specific strategic decision based on the goal graph.

As a rule, buying real estate is the largest purchase in life, and behind this purchase is a real desire to radically transform the quality of life. From there we came to the conclusion that we are actually engaged in the quality of life, and not selling square meters, and then this theme began to develop. Improving the quality of life is nothing more than doing important things for you more effectively.

"Nothing new сan be created, everything Is very bad, there's a lot of competition"

Some entrepreneurs say: "Oh, everything has already been done, nothing new can be created, everything is very bad, there's a lot of competition, it's impossible to move the giants, it's all pointless."

I am convinced that this is not the case, simply because we have a huge number of needs that are very poorly met.

For example, how did Uber come about? In the past, you could get from point A to point B either by public transport, which is quite a hassle and not very comfortable, or by your own car.

Or you could hitchhike or catch a taxi. But you have very high risks - you never know who you'll get, you won't be able to haggle, you'll be ripped off on the price, and they'll smoke in the car. It's unpleasant, and it's not a very good solution. What did Uber do? They saw that there was a subset of people who hired expensive cars with their own driver.

And Uber said, let's simplify this. And then, through a sequence of hypotheses, they came to the idea of simplifying not the ownership of an expensive car with a driver, but the way for everyone to get from point A to point B.

And it's important, after testing yourself in the premium niche, to go for democratization, active democratization - what is that? It means that all people had the goal of getting from point A to point B in comfort, without doing anything at all, without knowing how to drive a car. And this goal woke up, this work woke up, it was asleep.

But it woke up because there was a cheap enough, high-quality solution - Uber, Yandex Taxi. Clayton Christensen talks about this - that simplifying the product awakens this work for a huge number of people.

Everything I've described is my big theory, which I've been developing and trying to classify for the past four years. It is, in my opinion, already stable, and there are no major problems, but there may be some nuances.

I have a training course where I talk about this methodology and teach people to think in these terms and solve business problems using this methodology.

I run these courses every year. It is one of the most popular trainings among product managers in Europe. Over 8,000 people have already attended. Yandex, Avito and Tinkoff (a bank in Europe) constantly send dozens of employees to my courses. And for each person who comes, each person has a business task.

My training has two main parts: the foundation and the algorithms. The foundation is what we just talked about. There are needs, a graph, goals, there are segments, there is a business perspective. The algorithm you choose, value creation mechanisms, mechanisms for getting out of competition, solving basic tasks, such as how to attract customers more effectively, how to retain customers more effectively.

And the second part, where I give algorithms on how to actually solve each creative business task using this tool. During the training, I ask each person to solve a business task using this tool.

The person says: I have a task, I need to understand why customers are flowing to competitors. How to retain them? Or we are not winning sales against strong competitors. How to win sales? And for each person I design research based on the common foundation and common algorithms. Each person learns to solve all these tasks independently using the algorithms that I give.

I try to put a lot of stuff out there for free. Last week I posted a big free lecture with 5% of the training material, it's on my website. I'm writing a book, it will be open, about this theory.

Some of the content will only be available to those who have taken the training. But, nevertheless, I already have a lot of material available for free. Everything is on the training website and on the book website.

I started doing this in 2019 because all the books I read didn't answer the question of how to find and choose a segment. And I am developing this methodology precisely because I do not know of any book or course that answers these questions.

I recommend reading Clayton Christensen's books "The Innovator's Dilemma" and "The Innovator's Solution" for a basic understanding of Jobs To Be Done. There are also a few other essential books on Jobs to be Done, such as "Intercom on Jobs to be Done" by Alan Klement, "When Coffee and Kale Compete" by Alan Klement, and The Jobs to be Done Playbook.

If a friend comes to me and asks, "Van, what should I read about Jobs To Be Done?", I tell them that reading these books will inspire them, but they won't understand what to do. On my training course, they will not only be inspired but also learn what to do.

There is another perspective on shattering the illusion of hallucinations. I often have entrepreneurs come to my training courses. I have an expensive tariff with coaching, and I get to talk to a lot of entrepreneurs there.

A very typical situation is when an entrepreneur comes up with a very beautiful and inspiring idea. I design a research project, the entrepreneur starts conducting interviews, and they very quickly learn the reality of the situation. There is an idea, a solution for some goal that the entrepreneur assumed people have. But it is not at all certain that it: a) exists, b) sounds the way it does, c) is important, and d) makes business sense to invest one's life energy, investments, and team in competing for this goal.

And very quickly, in 90% of cases, the following happens. The entrepreneur learns what segments exist, how their goal graphs are structured, and they say: "Damn, I realized that I need to redesign my resources and technologies in this way, and I will earn much more money.** And I have already sold to these people, because while you are conducting The Jobs to be Done interviews, you very quickly understand what to sell to each specific client.

Andrew Gor came to me two streams ago. He had a technology: a badge through which an assistant listens to the dialogue between a salesperson and a customer and gives feedback on what can be improved. And he found a completely different segment, and in a different country - in the Emirates. He has already made several sales.

The biggest value is that the entrepreneur very quickly learns how it all works. The process of shattering illusions and giving up one's hallucinations happens naturally, not painfully, as if it were coming from another person outside. I have a case where my researcher worked with a startup for the German market.** The founders had the hypothesis that German entrepreneurs need Excel on steroids to manage corporate finances. This is a top manager from a European bank. They invested a lot of money in making such a thing.

The researcher from the company comes and says: I don't really believe people need this. She starts to proactively conduct interviews with German entrepreneurs herself, and very quickly learns that yes, of course, there is a goal to manage finances, but Excel is a great solution.** Everything is perfect. It's very, very cheap, everything is great. And even more - I'm not the one who does this, my CFO-accountant does, and I'm just a user. And she found a much more burning pain point - to get a loan.** It takes 2 years to get a loan in Germany. And she comes to the founder after a couple of weeks and says: guys, I saw here that no one needs financial accounting, but corporate loans are a big pain point.** She shared that the founders thought about firing her.** Because you have a beautiful picture, you have investors, you have a concept, products, and what if employees come to you and say - we're doing bullshit. But she spent six months conducting proactive interviews and simply loading information, making video clips.** In six months, her employers' heads had changed.

There is great value in coming to the interviews yourself and learning what is really happening to people, rather than delegating it to someone else. When another person influences you, you are in a defensive position, and cognitive biases keep you in your often false picture of the world.

The best founders never fully give up customer communication to someone else

According to the guys from Y Combinator, the world's most successful and famous startup accelerator, the best founders never fully hand over customer communication to someone else. Even if you're already a super-big CEO, you still make time to talk to your customers.

If an entrepreneur doesn't know what market segments are there, what goal graphs look like, where competitors are going, with what resources, where we're going... This is a strategic choice.

As Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, who sadly passed away, said: "Our success is the main reason why we must constantly change, why we must constantly be dissatisfied with our current success."

The founder is the one who has the political will and the ability to implement a strategic decision and demand from their teams, not to miss out on great business opportunities simply because we don't look at it from that perspective. And that's what we all basically do. We all fight.

I am convinced that absolutely all product solutions are simplified to one type of solution. This is what segment, what work, what goal we are fighting for, and why we are convinced that it is worth doing it for. Our business, by investing resources in fighting for this particular goal, will receive the maximum return on investment compared to all possible alternatives.

I hope this is helpful!

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