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Start with value, not features! by Bertus K

“When I say my goal is to make the world a better place, people say that's naive, but I think it IS actually possible. You don’t directly have to change everything around you, you only need to change people’s mindset and they will help you achieve it. If you want to create truly people-centred products, forget about the race to be the first, the fastest, the biggest, and start with wanting to create real genuine value for others. ” Meet Bertus, a Business-of-One specialising in product research and strategy.


Being an expert in research and user experience, Bertus can very easily pick up when we are ‘talking’ from a users perspective but not ‘doing’ and ‘solutioning’ from a user perspective - a necessity for any Creative Entrepreneur to master when building their business product/services. He goes on to talk about how user success also contains the seed for business success and that the understanding of a product’s role in shaping success for our users, is fundamental to business’ short and long term success.


Isn't it funny how often those who complain about the shortcomings of products/services fall into the very same trap of creating their own products/services with shortcomings. When we rush to get out our MVP (minimum viable product), an essential first step in order to expose our product/service to feedback and interactive improvements, Bertus reminds us not to jump the gun:

“Value is not built into a feature. Features are connected to create value. They connect in a certain order before value gets activated. We continue to increase value as we build”.

When we launch before we have an understanding of this, how do we expect our potential customers to see, let alone experience the value at all? Secondly, we need to really know the market we are playing in, as current market players have set user feature expectations and not knowing the value a feature facilitates, you end up offering the same lack of value your opposition does. “Users do not dream of UID (user interface design)” and it should not be the bi-weekly celebration of your product.


Bertus believes one of the many reasons for business failures occurs when they are testing the value they bring to their customers too late in the process when in actual fact, knowing your value is the starting point, and it is rooted in the customer/user - where THEY find value in your product/service. If you know your value, then UI testing becomes the validation for value understanding and experience.

UI is nothing more than a language that communicates your value; it is not the product.

He advises us on how cognisant as a founder, we need to be when we learn from those who have found success and when we innovate to find our own success. Too often we tend to copy the holy ones: Facebook, LinkedIn, Air BnB, Uber, Amazon. Why, if they are so successful and many others have copied them, are they not equally successful? Because we are not creating and effectively translating the value those companies brought to those they serve through their product/services, “we end up mimicking processes and behaviour out of context, without the understanding of the value created.


“I have always had an interest to not only do the work but to really understand the thinking behind it. The intention behind what we do. To actually make sure that we are capturing the value that we think we are collecting. To then follow through to see if you are actually making that difference, instead of just following some guidelines or processes from our industry of practice.”

Bertus is all too familiar with some mistakes we often make when caught up in a particular domain. He talks about the fixation with artefacts, tools and processes which do bring uniformity but when blindly followed can devalue one’s contribution towards real impact creation because there are always limitations. As Creative Entrepreneurs we need to interrogate what we are and aren't getting from the tools and processes we have ingrained into our domains.


Bertus stays inspired by connecting with others who resonate with his ambitions. He challenges his thinking by drawing from those outside his domain in his effort to better understand his practice through alternative perspectives. He in fact, continues to challenge ours too, and we thank him for that growth he ignites in ourselves. Thank you for the learnings on how best we can build value for our users, Bertus.



Get in touch to hear more and take your next step in building our your product/service value. email@dna.co.za

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