Making the most of idealism, data, and user feedback

Aragon has always been a very idealist project. It's not an IoT juicer or an app to send Yo to your bros. It's a vision of how the world should be, it's a fight for freedom.

Because of that, Aragon teams cannot operate like traditional startups.

First, no user knows what they need from Aragon. Not even its makers know what it will be capable of! This technology is so new and unlocks so many possibilities, that it's just impossible to tell.

Second, the market for decentralized organizations is very nascent. That's why you cannot survey the industry and A/B test users. There are so few that the sample would be very skewed.

Third, I just don't believe in data-driven models to create great products. Great products challenge the status quo, great products succeed despite all odds.

I read this from Creative Selection:

Yes, it’s true that a team at Google couldn’t decide between two blues, so they’re testing 41 shades between each blue to see which one performs better

Meanwhile, in Apple-land:

Data-informed

If you have brilliant product people with taste, you don't need data to decide. You should let them decide. Give them data, it will help for sure.

But there's nothing like a person who feels a product as their baby. Data doesn't care, data doesn't have emotions. People do. Let people build products, and users will notice.

Vision-driven

Articulate a strong initial vision, and follow it everywhere.

Write it down to make sure you remember, and so others can challenge you if you derail.

Publish a manifesto and rank your values to stay accountable. It will help you and your community in making tough decisions.

Connect everything you do with your vision. If it doesn't contribute to your vision of the world, ditch it.

User-obsessed

The best way to be user-obsessed is to need your product and use it every day. In a nutshell, the best way to be user-obsessed is to become your own user.

But you also need the world to use your product. For that, come back to the vision. Identify your dream user in that ideal world. Picture her, build her story, give her a name. She will become the most important person in your entire journey.

But she may not be there from day one. Since your ideal user only exists in your ideal world, and that world is not there yet, she isn't there for you.

So you need to ask yourself: who are all the different user personas that will eventually take me to our ideal user?

Then build for them. Care about every detail, listen to what they have to say. Talk to them, even if it takes time. You will discover subtleties that raw data misses.

Summary

Gather data to inform your vision, write down your vision so it becomes your guide, and create a persona that will guide you throughout your entire journey.