Back in April 2020, we had the pleasure of interviewing Francesco Bovoli, the brilliant Product Thinker, at Bending Spoons. Bending Spoons is a multi-award-winning start-up with accolades such as Europe’s best places to work and Italy’s best place to work for women, for innovators, and overall.
Back then, Francesco was the CPO/CTO at Emoticast, a UK-based tech start-up whose apps generate GIFs with embedded music for mobile messaging. Francesco has wide experience at large organizations such as Accenture and has also spearheaded start-ups such as IdeaPlane and Import.io.
Not only was it a great chat but the interview also brought up certain incredible insights from Francesco.
We thought we’d revisit that interview and share a few (among several) important things Francesco told us.
So, here they are:
Split your users into buckets
Every start-up wants to grow as fast as possible. But it’s crucial to understand what exactly it means to grow. Once you know that, you can track user behaviour and get valuable insights.
But what if you need to run more than one experiment at once (which you most likely need to)?
Francesco credits his friend Ivailo Jordanov for a brilliant solution. Jordanov suggested dividing the entire user base into segments, assigning every user to a ‘bucket’.
Then, when running an experiment, assign the users from some buckets to experiment A, and the remaining buckets to experiment B, which gives you a couple of important results.
The first is that you can run a three-ways A/B/C test rather than a two-way A/B test. Second, it allows you to run several tests in parallel.
Ask your users why
So, you have the right product market fit, you know your product solves a burning problem for the users.
Yet, there are some features that the users simply don’t use or engage with.
Most often, business owners start to wonder or guess why users are behaving a certain way. Perhaps, there might be an obvious reason why they are not using certain features.
Based on that assumption, business owners might start to change or tweak or improve or even discard such a feature.
Francesco’s simple yet super-valuable advice? Just ask the users why they were not engaging.
It’s not rocket science but more often than not it’s the simple solutions that elude us, perhaps because we are too close to the product or we tend to rely on our thinking when the correct answer is just a question away.
Francesco’s solution: simple, effective, brilliant!
‘Disturb’ your users more often
Francesco knew they had developed a brilliant product. Yet, retention seemed to be a challenge.
It might have happened to you as well. You have an excellent product, it checks all the right boxes, users seem to love it.
Yet, they don’t seem to return to your app as often as you’d want them to.
Francesco found the answer to the problem while scrolling through user feedback.
A user had left a comment that said, “I just love your product. But I forgot that I had it. You guys should remind me more often.”
Francesco realised they weren’t sending any reminders to the users!
He acted on it immediately, sending out a simple message (something as simple as ‘Hey, we miss you. Please come back.)
Retention improved substantially. Almost overnight!
So, when we might be thinking we shouldn’t be ‘disturbing’ our users, who knows, maybe your users WANT to be ‘disturbed’!
Francesco Bovoli’s simple, yet keen observations solve some of the most important problems that business owners face. There are things we tend to overlook or take for granted and that’s where Francesco’s experience shines through. After all, the devil is in the details!
What are your thoughts on these three valuable nuggets of wisdom. Do you have any other such advice that you’d like to add to this list?
Mention in the comments below. We’d love to know your thoughts.