Sunday, August 21, 2011

    It’s the Flow Stupid!

    In my last blog post I talked a little bit about SV legend Robert Scoble coming in and giving us feedback on the flow of Wednesdays’ group creation process. It was quite eye opening because I had never thought that there was thought behind something as basic as registering a group. This was a classic case of “devil in the details.”

    Creating a group is a fairly simple process. You go through the steps and filling out the who, what, where, when and how fields in succession. However, according to Scoble, the secret sauce in getting people to get through all your fields lies in which order you present these questions. As users are inherently lazy and have a tendency to stick with what they know, they need to coaxed through the entire process. The biggest competitor is not another company or service rather the back button and the thought of business as usual. At all costs the user must be prevented from going “F--- this I am just going to send an email like last time.”

    Scoble talked about “keeping the dream alive” and he gave us an example of a user's thought process setting up a lunch group. It went something along the lines of this:

    Ok so I want to start a lunch club. Well what are we going to meet about? I do love and startups and want to meet other entrepreneurs! *names group Startup Lovers* Then who would I invite? Hugh and Andy definitely have to come *adds their emails*. Oh I am always free on Wednesdays let’s do lunch at noon on the first of every month. I cannot wait till next week!

    By asking the who, what, when, why questions in the correct order, the dream of the lunch club is kept alive. The user is being walked through their desire and each step is not only logical but delightful as it helps the dream grow and brings it closer to life in the mind of the user.

    It was a pretty cool lesson to round off my first week. I am going to ask my friend who majors in Cognitive Science to explain more about this as it seems applicable to all kinds of things. There is sure to be an Anthropological angle to this as culture shapes people’s thought processes.

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