Josh Pitzalis

July 12, 2022

Putting a content team together

Over the last week, I’ve been hiring writers and putting a content team together. So far I've been working on content by myself. On my best week, I was able to publish 2 posts in a week. That left zero time and attention for anything else. If content marketing is going to become our primary growth channel, I'll need help. I hired sever...
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July 6, 2022

Writing for your ideal customers is hard

I have this idea for a post I want to write, everything makes sense in my head, then I start writing and sound like a used car salesman. Part of the problem with content marketing is that it can be terribly stiff. When I write for work, my brain switches into business mode, and everything comes out awkward and sales-y. I wrote four blo...
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June 22, 2022

Looking back at Chirr App over the last year

Over this past year, my partner Sasha and I released four major features in Chirr App, our Twitter marketing tool for teams. We also introduced a free trial, invested in paid ads (on search and social), put together a 2-person direct sales team, and started an outreach program to build backlinks. None of it led to much growth. Team mor...
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February 3, 2022

Building 100 Backlinks

Hey there, My new year's resolution was to up my SEO game and build 100 backlinks to Chirr App. It's been a steep learning curve. I wrote a story about everything I've learned so far. Managed to get it featured as one of the first guest authors for Katlink's new founder stories section: https://katlinks.io/blog/building-100-backlinks I...
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December 16, 2021

Why do some Twitter threads blow up while others bomb?

There is nothing worse than pouring your soul into creating a Twitter thread that no one reads. You spend ages refining and editing your ideas. You organize all your images, find the best time to publish, and then nothing. This guy tweets about sniffing a slice of bread and gets 350+ retweets. What is the point? Why bother creating sub...
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December 9, 2021

How to be useful to the internet

Everyone tells founders to spend more time on their content marketing. But what exactly do you do with that time? One way to approach it is to take a long term view of how you can be useful to the internet. You want to start by finding 5-10 online communities for the kind of people who have the problem your product solves. Next, commit...
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December 2, 2021

I built it, now how do I get them to come?

Your product is finally ready. You're ready to start marketing and push your product out there. • You post a bunch of links in a few Facebook groups. • Maybe write a launch post for Reddit and Indie hackers. • You're thinking a big Product Hunt launch next. Once you get started, the horror sets in and you realize this whole "marketing"...
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November 23, 2021

What I've been up to

Hey there, Thank you for being part of my newsletter. I've started so many newsletters over the last few years and failed to maintain any of them. Every time I start a newsletter it's always been around a specific project. The common thread is that these projects are always about starting or growing small businesses and products. I'm h...
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July 17, 2021

A complete guide to doing customer interviews

Hey hey, 3 weeks ago I spent about 10 days writing a series of posts that covered everything I know around doing customer interviews. Then I completely forgot to send out the final link of everything tied together in a single. Here is a complete guide to doing customer interviews: https://www.joshpitzalis.com/customer-discovery I cover...
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June 29, 2021

How does customer research lead to real product improvements?

I've found customer research helps me improve product in three ways: It allows me to say no to stuff, it helps me map out the problem space, and it defines useful criteria for a solution. Saying no to stuff It's easy to get lost when you're building features. Grounding yourself in your user's perspective can let you know when you're ba...
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June 26, 2021

How do you organise interview data?

When I first read the Mom Test and started doing customer interviews, it became clear that I'd be accumulating lots of notes and recordings of interviews I didn't know what to do with. There were two of us doing interviews at the time. We would do a bunch of interviews and then share takeaways with each other. Whoever was doing the int...
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June 23, 2021

Finding people to speak to

You don’t need to speak to lots of people, nor do you need to speak to them all at once. Two or three people a week is more than enough to start with. Recent customer support wins are always a good place to start. You don’t need a complicated reason to reach out to people that have just had a great experience with customer support. Exp...
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June 22, 2021

How to do an interview

I can go long stretches without doing interviews. When I jump back into them I'm always a little rusty. I have a little game I play that helps me get into the groove. I score each conversation with a simple point system. 2 negative points and 2 plus points. Easy to remember while I’m listening. Then I score the recording afterward to s...
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June 21, 2021

Customer discovery questions

The only scripted question I ask is: “ Tell me about why you started using [our product]?” I do customer discovery work in the context of existing products and I only interviewing existing users. Traditionally, discovery work is done before you build a product. There's lots of great writing out there about that sort of discovery work. ...
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June 20, 2021

Speaking to people is critical to building badass products

Over the next week, I'll be writing about customer discovery and how I approach interviewing people to build better products. The goal is to clarify my thinking around the topic and improve my current discovery process. I’ll keep things short, 300 - 400 word posts. At the end of it , I’ll put all the best bits into one big post that yo...
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April 28, 2021

4 weeks on user retention

Over the last 28 days, I wrote and shared everything I know about retaining users in software products. Here are all 28 posts, re-organised into useful themes. Shaping your core value proposition • #1 We there yet? • #2 People were solving the problem before you came along • #3 Easy to use and simple to remember • #4 Use case sweet spo...
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April 27, 2021

#28 Stackranking

Figuring out what to work on next is a complicated, multi-stakeholder problem that never goes away. Look online for how to prioritise stuff and you will run into frameworks RICE, ICE and PIE. The problem with these frameworks is that everything ends up being rated a medium. The great ideas were obvious to begin with, and everything els...
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April 26, 2021

#27 Measuring the impact of a product experiment

The broad strokes to running a product experiment are: 1. Identifying a customer and/or business problem 2. Coming up with a hypothesis for a solution 3. Building the changes under a feature flag 4. Running the experiment 5. Review the results of the test Step 5, reviewing the results, doesn't happen inside your feature flag manager. T...
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April 25, 2021

#26 Running your first product experiment

The problem with a lot of the content around A/B testing on the web is that it only covers landing pages and e-commerce websites. I want to be able to run A/B tests on the words inside the product experience. Tools that test landing pages, like Google Optimize, VWO and Optimizely are client-side tools. They work by placing a cookie in ...
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April 24, 2021

#25 How to find people to talk to

The only way I know how to understand how different users think about your product is to speak to them. You don’t need to speak to lots of people, nor do you need to speak to them all at once. Two or three people a week is all you need. Recent customer success wins are always a good place to start. You don’t need a complicated reason t...
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April 23, 2021

#24 Helping people think like superusers

When I begin working with a product my primary focus is understanding how the core value proposition translates to specific actions in the product. Then I map out all the steps that lead to people become habitual users. Once this initial phase of work is complete the next step is to figure out who the super users are. Superusers are th...
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April 22, 2021

#23 Break the journey to long term usage into smaller steps

If someone successfully uses your product once that doesn’t automatically turn them into a long term user. Behavioural data lets you reverse engineer how often people need to use your app to become long term users. You’ll need two things to do this: behavioural data and long term users. The definition of a long term user is fluid but 6...
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April 21, 2021

#22 Using analytics to improve onboarding

Thinking of your onboarding experience as a funnel and using analytics to measure the biggest drop-offs is a useful way to find opportunities for improvement. Building a funnel means going through your onboarding experience and identifying every touchpoint that you need to track. The first thing that happens when you do this is you rea...
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April 20, 2021

#21 An Ode To Hill Charts

In 2018 Basecamp came out with a new kind of to-do list called a hill chart. This is what they look like. Things on the left are being figured out, anything on the right means it's being done. Stuff on the far left is vague and need lots of figuring out while the far right is almost finished. Every time you do some work, you manually m...
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April 19, 2021

#20 An overall picture of your product

The reason I like retention curves is because they pack an incredible amount of information into one image. They tell you if a product has found fit straight out of the gate. When a retention curve draws to zero you have a leaky bucket. When your curve flattens out then you know your users have developed enough of a habit around your p...
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April 18, 2021

#19 Landing Page Fundamentals

A landing page helps people understand what your product does and why someone should care about it. People on the internet have been building landing pages for a while now and they have established a pattern that works. Don't deviate from this pattern unless you have a good reason to. Save the fancy stuff for the rest of your marketing...
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April 17, 2021

#18 Why Bother with Product Metrics?

Good data helps you make better decisions. You’re too close to your product to see things accurately. You need a clear way to see how people use things without relying on how you expect them to use things. Metrics are also useful for important conversations. Hard data is one way to escape a your-opinion-vs-theirs discussion. Product me...
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April 16, 2021

#17 Defining the boundary of the problem

I used to focus on solutions. "We're going to add a bookmarking feature”. Solutions get messy. The moment you show your solution to the team, it all begins to devolve. Why don't we add X? I don't think you should have Y. Do we really need Z? I’ve learned that the only reason I'm ever making something is to solve a problem. If the probl...
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April 15, 2021

#16 There’s an important difference between revenue and retention

Revenue retention is down to people paying for your product. User retention is about them using it. Revenue is too chunky a measure to do anything useful with. If you have monthly subscriptions, you’ll get one data point a month. Yearly contracts only make this worse. If people don’t use your product, they might still pay you. But only...
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April 14, 2021

#15 Thinking about retention from day one

A friend of mine is starting a business around personalised yoga instruction on Zoom. He called me up and asked if retention is something they should be thinking about this early in the game. My answer was YES. On the one hand, working on retention makes more sense when you have at least a year of behavioural data. Without data, it's h...
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