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We’re blinded by our daily work. We see the trees, not the forest. We focus on an idea that we've had for a year, the familiarity of repetition undeservedly increasing its importance. We find it difficult to think past the last seven customer interviews or sales calls and while these are great for generating usable ideas, they only lead to small increments.
Extreme ideas can help you out of tiny thinking. Some ideas are so extreme that they border on nonsense, but the different perspectives can reveal distinctly new ideas.
If you were forced to increase your prices by 10x, what would you do to justify it?
If you had to earn your growth and brand from scratch, what would you do? We often become complacent with our marketing, or we never get around to having a truly compelling unique positioning statement.
If you were never allowed to provide tech support in any form, what would you have to change?
What would be the most fun thing to build? What feature do you think would be cool for customers to use? What technology would be fun to work on?
It has to be something that makes your product better, not random or unrelated.
If your biggest competitor copied every feature you have, how do you still win? Creating a bigger and more emotional distinction is a powerful way to win.
What if you had to have a new feature in just two weeks that would delight and surprise a fraction of your customer? Every bit of complexity has to be stripped out, the scope needs to be reduced to a minimum.
A 1000-page book can be summarized in a 40-page Cliff’s Notes. The key lessons of Cliff’s Notes can be summarized in a 1-page blog post. The main theme and one unique perspective of the book can be summarized in one sentence. If we trade things off, It can always be smaller.
What if you were forced to charge customers in a completely different manner? If you’re usage-based, you’re forced to charge a flat monthly rate; if monthly with tiers, you’re forced to measure and charge daily with some formula.
Business models force you into certain thinking structures about how to monetize the value that you create. Shaking up the business model shakes up the value/cost equation. Sometimes a different business model is actually better for everyone.
If you were not allowed to have a website, how would you still grow your business?
Your advocates are already using your product, the product is already a platform for growth. What if “in-product marketing” is more impactful on growth than any useful feature?
What if you don't have synchronous meetings ever again?
If you could never talk to your customers again, how would you figure out what to build?
What if it didn’t matter how unprofitable you were? How much value could you deliver if you thought of the product as an exercise in philanthropy?
It can be surprisingly difficult to convert money to real customer or business value, If there is a way, it might lead to a new pricing tier.
What if you could change anything, regardless of what anyone thinks?
What externality has the potential to kill the entire company?
Is there something you could do to mitigate the effects? Or something that pivots the company such that it is no longer a threat?
What if you could only ship one thing this year?
When you look back over years of a business, often the whole trajectory comes down to 1-2 big decisions per year.
Clinical molecular geneticist
How to come up with fresh transformative ideas
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