2 min read

Validated Learning IRL

I had to decide what to do with Quickapply this week.

I tried to use data to inform my decision. Six months ago, I would have logicked my way to the answer, not consulting the real world. But I’m more paranoid now, I try to derisk all my decisions.

For example, for an overseas programming jobs list I thought of starting, I chose the countries by messaging potential users what countries they’d like. Not by relying on my own intuition.

I’ve come a long way.

Back to the current decision. Three options, not mutually exclusive:

  • Relaunch Quickapply to full time SWEs
  • Relaunch Quickapply to interns for February
  • Relaunch Quickapply to interns for August (safest)

To see if Quickapply would be a fit for full time SWEs, I ran a small test. I messaged five full time friends and asked how many jobs they applied to in moving jobs. I heard 5-10, and 10-20, not 40+, like I was hearing from students. And I ran a user interview with a friend in which I heard, “I’m more picky now”.

I gather from this that Quickapply is less useful for the average full timer than the average student. Students are more likely to use Quickapply’s pay and spray approach, which makes sense.

To test if Quickapply would have demand for interns in February, I asked friends still in school to name people they knew still recruiting, and I got a positive response. It didn’t leave me confident, though.

But then I had a better idea. I had four customers that I wasn’t able to serve in January, and had to refund. I emailed them, asking if they’d want to preorder for a February launch at a discounted price, and drumroll please…

All four of them said yes!

This is a fantastic sign because they promised money, not just interest or even emails. Unprompted, they asked how can we pay. Two customers, unprompted, said “definitely interested” paired with exclamation points. A third customer asked to meet up and talk about product roadmap, LOL.

Great signs there are four people enthusiastic to buy in February.

Do you find this exciting? I do! I created value for these four people! I’m also operating at a super small scale right now, so four is hefty…

In conclusion

Here’s what I’m getting at. I’m practicing validated learning now! I’m paying attention to what users say and how they say it. I’m also paying attention to my own thoughts, and what assumptions are implicit in it.

I’m learning!