A little bit of flash mentoring

06 Jan 2015

I've had a wake up call: get on the phone and talk to people!

A few weeks back I attended a meetup in Nottingham. At this meetup were several talks by Nottingham-based tech entrepeneurs. One talk in-particular stood out, both for the interesting content and also because there were clear similarities between that business and OneMusicAPI.

The presenter had already built one API-based B2B product, which was highly successful, and was now building his second. I wondered whether the presenter could give me some advice in early stage customer acquisition strategies, as that is the area that I am currently struggling with for OneMusicAPI. So I fired off an email... and to my delight they agreed to chat.

And last night we did.

Overall we spoke for 45mins or so, and we were super focused. I started by outlining where I'd come from, with some success in B2C businesses, and how I was struggling to find new prospective customers in the B2B arena.

I started by outlining what OneMusicAPI offers over and above integrating with one of the databases OneMusicAPI aggregates. Instantly my "flash mentor" identified that the value proposition was not good enough. I might be offering incremental improvements in music metadata coverage and accuracy, and deferred benefits in lower maintenance and support costs, but this is not the 10x style improvement we need to deliver to tempt people away from "the default choice".

He gave a great insight that, as a niched product, I need to provide extraordinary amounts of value very specific to the niche I am targeting. This made me think instantly of how a number of music server manufacturers have emphasised the importance of classical music metadata... an area still under served.

He emphasised the need to talk to customers, to find out why they would use the API, to work out how to serve their own customers better, and make them more money. Of course, this is something I have practiced with bliss but behind the safety of a computer.

All stuff that I'm supposed to be doing of course.

I'm going to need to talk to people, face to face or on the telephone, cold calling if needs be. My flash mentor recommended The Mom Test as a great book to work out what questions I should be asking, to work out which was I should take OneMusicAPI.

So what are my actions?

  • Read "The Mom Test" (but careful to avoid analysis paralysis and research-creep!)
  • Review advice from Startups For the Rest of Us - maybe look into purchasing the Cold Calling ebook
  • Get on and start talking to customers and avoid procrastinating further!

I feel a new Trello board coming on...

Thanks to popofatticus who made the the image above available for sharing.
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