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Mailcloud's team ran through a 'premortem' exercise to surface and understand weaknesses in their product, marketing, business model, and processes.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    almost 6 years ago #

    Love the idea of "premortems". Not enough startups do it.

  • MB

    Malcolm Bell

    almost 6 years ago #

    Its amazing, we spent just 30 minutes and so many benefits and things became clear.

    • DL

      Dylan La Com

      almost 6 years ago #

      Super interesting Malcolm. Is there one thing that came out of the exercise that particularly surprised you?

  • MB

    Malcolm Bell

    almost 6 years ago #

    Hey Dylan, sure. Really it was the team's reaction and acceptance of responsibility and getting comfortable with the idea of failure for all of us. And also, how it would totally suck if we let these things happen. Clearly, everyone is now super focused on their responsibilities, commitment to each other and the business.

  • BR

    Bradley Robb

    almost 6 years ago #

    I love premorterms. I really like how you broke down your risks into Product, Market, Positioning, and Team.

    Did you find any friction with getting the team to imagine anything other than success?

    • MB

      Malcolm Bell

      almost 6 years ago #

      Thanks Bradley.

      Not at all. None of us liked the idea as we all take a pride in our work, but I wouldn't say friction.

      If I did have, I would remind them all what we is doing is hard and they'd have to read some spectacular failure stories!

  • GG

    Gab Goldenberg

    almost 6 years ago #

    You guys actually interviewed/did live usability tests with 1504 potential/actual clients?? What percentage interviews and what percent tests?

    • GG

      Gab Goldenberg

      almost 6 years ago #

      I mean, that would be an amazing achievement ... it just seems like so many people that it's hard to understand. How long was each session? Was one of your team present for each?

  • GG

    Gab Goldenberg

    almost 6 years ago #

    BTW, I wanted to comment here on your LinkedIn ads suck so badly. Granted you had a bad experience, but I think that
    a) You haven't optimized anything. Spend $500 then say they suck.
    b) Your analysis was pretty superficial or it was deeper but for competitive secret reasons, didn't get into details. If the former, I'd say you're hurting yourself, and if the latter, why bother blogging that "our targeting was on the mark but the ads suck?" Again, see point a...

  • MB

    Malcolm Bell

    almost 6 years ago #

    Thanks Gab, sure did. About 1k remote surveys via email and 500 in person usability tests. So far.

    • GG

      Gab Goldenberg

      almost 6 years ago #

      Oh, I see I read a bit quickly there - assuming the "in person" qualifier also applied to the surveys. Still - 500 live usability tests is remarkable.

      Did you do any problem interviews? Solution interviews? Curious how those went and how you recruited (not curious for a general guide, but curious how you guys did it, e.g. case study).

  • GG

    Gab Goldenberg

    almost 6 years ago #

    I also did something similar to this, based on Ash Maurya's Running Lean. I couldn't sleep, n decided to create a doc with all the nagging doubts about my matchmaking business. It's now a list of assumptions I'm testing. Already invalidated one assumption - puts me on safer ground not to try and solve that problem now!

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