Bad Alternatives & Positioning

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3. Positioning & Analogs


To drill down into a customer’s mental model and arrive at how your product can easily and clearly fill a void in their mind and needs.
At times, it’s helpful to imagine an ideal world: What would the solution look like if there were no limits… then how can you best approximate it given real-world constraints?
“The best marketing is just telling the truth.” — Steve Jobs

Analogs: “<analog> for <e.g. finance>”

Analogs help you quickly build mental models for what you’re building & how you can explain it. Each of these analogs should cater to distinctly different personas, some niche and some mass market.
Look at the most compelling brands & experiences around you; which of those have parallels for what you could potentially do? Which personas do they cater to?
👉 Note: in our actual Venice doc, we have over 40 of these enumerated... let your imagination breathe. You don’t have to build these; just write them all down to give your future self & team ways to frame problems you’re solving for various people and needs.
💥 Explode the potential options, then contract down to a super-focused wedge.
Description in the customer's voice
Market Size
Backend for finance
I want to build amazing finance apps and experiences, fast! But... I want someone else to do the hard stuff for me so I can just focus on customer value & de-risking my startup
Segment for finance
I want to collate financial data from many disparate sources, transform it in some ways, and then pipe it into other products / higher level functions
There are no rows in this table

📍 Positioning: “If <e.g. finances> are...”

If there were a word cloud of the most common complaints about your focus area, what would the top words be? And how can you position yourselves as the exact opposite?
You don’t need to be & likely shouldn’t be all of these, but you should at least try to capture the most important ones following the 80/20 principle.
👉 If you have competitors you want to position against to fill a gap in their product or brand, just use the format of If <competitor name> is <bad> then <we> are <good>
If <finances> are <word> then <> is <opposite words>
Difficult: then Venice is easy | straightforward | intuitive
Disjointed: then Venice is unifying
Time-consuming: then Venice is time saver | intuitive | automated | hands off
Confusing: then Venice is clarifying | minimal | contextual
Complex: then Venice is minimal | simple | abstracted away
Planning: then Venice is automatic | generated | scripted
Struggle: then Venice is empowering | ease
Shame: then Venice is pride | achievement | happiness | camaraderie
Lonely: then Venice is communal | friendly
Stressful: then Venice is relaxing | reassuring
Overwhelming: then Venice is balancing | timely
Debt: then Venice is surplus | abundance
Despair: then Venice is recovery | scripted steps
Opaque: then Venice is insightful
Surprising | Unplanned: then Venice is planned | expected | modeled
Ugly: then Venice is art | visually appealing | stunning
Archaic: then Venice is refreshing | new
Goals: then Venice is coach
Darkness: then Venice is illuminating | bright spots
Unrealistic: then Venice is achievable
Unpredictable: then Venice is predictable | consistent | loyal
Work: then Venice is delegated | automated | abstracted away
Cold: then Venice is warm | welcoming
Conflict: then Venice is resolution
Arbitrary: then Venice is focused | signal
Insecurity: then Venice is security | stability
Budgeted: then Venice is liberating | carefree

🐒 Chaos Monkey

What are contrarian ways of thinking about the broad problems you’re solving? Where are latent supplies that could be utilized? Which marketplaces don’t (& maybe shouldn’t) exist today?
👉 Don’t limit yourself! Try to be so contrarian that you touch the very boundaries of the contrary. E.g. Uber was illegal in many places at first, yet they built something contrarian anyways.
These should feel cringe / bad! Maybe 1% of these will ever make the cut. Again, you don’t have to build these! It’s to let your imagination breathe & try to see all the possible problems and solutions before deciding on what you actually want to focus on.
If we utilized/incentivized a latent supply of amateur experts to help clarify other people’s finances, how could that work? (E.g. stay-at-home parents who manage their family’s finances & need extra cash are trained to do bookkeeping)
Rather than taking high interest loans from a bank, could regular people become lenders and “stake their capital” in the same way that crypto does to provide a float to lend from at a better interest rate? (e.g. utilize latent supply of liquid cash)
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