Great Products Require Iterative Improvement

People coming in from the outside, as well as employees, look at the process and say, “you know, if you would just get the story right—just write the script and get it right the first time, before you make the film—it will be much easier and cheaper to make.” And they’re absolutely right. It is, however, irrelevant because even if you’re really good, your first pass or guess at what the film should be will only get you to the B level. You can inexpensively make a B-level film. In fact, because the barriers to entry into this field now are quite low, you can get to B easily.
If you want to get to A, then you have to make changes in response to the problems revealed in your first attempt and then the second attempt, et cetera. Think of building a house. The cheapest way to build it is to draw up the plan for the house and then build to those plans. But if you’ve ever been through this process, then you know that as the building takes shape, you say, “what was I thinking? This doesn’t work at all.” Looking at plans is not the same thing as seeing them realized. Most people who have gone through this say you have to have some extra money because it’s going to cost more than you think. And the biggest reason it costs more than you think is that along the way, you realize something you didn’t know when you started.

-Ed Catmull, the President of Pixar

From McKinsey.

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What is your North Star Growth Metric?

My contrarian viewpoint is, if you’re a startup, you shouldn’t have a growth team. Startups should not have growth teams. The whole company should be the growth team. The CEO should be the head of growth. You need someone to set a North star for you about where the company wants to go, and that person needs to be the person leading the company, from my opinion, that’s what I’ve seen. Mark is a fantastic example of that. Back when Facebook started, a lot of people were putting out their registered user numbers. Right? You’d see you registered user numbers for MySpace, you’d see a registered user numbers for ___11:38, you’d see registered user numbers. Mark put out monthly active users, as the number both internally he held everyone to, and said we need everyone on Facebook, but that means everyone active on Facebook, not everyone signed up on Facebook, so monthly active people was the number internally, and it was also the number he published externally. It was the number he made the whole world hold Facebook to, as a number that we cared about. If you look at what Jan has done with WhatsApp I think that’s another great example. He always published sends numbers.

In order for you to reach your dream world vision for your product, you have to develop a North Star growth metric to give you a target to shoot for.  Read more here.

Bad Mother’s Day Product

So I’m on 1800flowers.com perusing for a Mother’s Day gift.  When I click on the ‘Recipient’ drop down box, there’s a whole list of names there (pre-saved with addresses and all) from the last 10 years.

So…why – why would such a site save this information? I’m not interested in stroll down “my unstable past” memory lane.  Maybe 1800flowers is try to keep me accountable and show me, “Do you see.. do you like this.  Do you want this list to be longer?  We’re certainly not proud of the business you’ve give us.  We feel sorry for you”

– Andrew S.

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AmEx Serve Disabled International ATM

Effective immediately:

We are writing to inform you of a change to the terms and conditions of your American Express Serve® Account: 
International ATM: 

Beginning January 6, 2016 you will no longer be able to withdraw money using your Serve Card at ATMs outside of the United States. 
You can still enjoy free ATM withdrawals when using an in-network MoneyPass® ATM nationwide. You can find one of the more than 24,000 MoneyPass ATMs using the link below. Withdrawals at non-MoneyPass ATMs have a $2.50 American Express Serve fee, and ATM operator fees may also apply

ATM of the Future

As an ATM customer, I want to get cash without a card using biometric and out of channel verification, so that getting cash is the ultimate convenience.

As a paranoid debit card holder, I want cash withdraws to be blocked if I’m not within 5 feet of the ATM, so that I don’t have to worry about theft.

As fraud prevention specialist, I want potential fraudsters to be shocked before they can cause trouble, so that I have a perfect save record.

As the federal reserve, I want individual ATMs to print money, so I don’t have to reign in quantitative easing.