I attended the Toronto StartUp Weekend event a couple of weeks ago. The theme was Tech For Good. It was a great weekend and I was very impressed by Toronto’s own future entrepreneurs presenting their ideas for social entrepreneurship, environmental change and global issues.
It striked me, a lot of ideas, great ideas, were all about matchmaking, or perhaps more accurately, connecting. Here’s what I mean:
I always think about pain points as I go through life, and write them down, as ideas for a new business, product, service, or technology. Sometimes, it can be as trivial as:
“Why isn’t my car’s sun visor automated? Why do I have to manually turn the visor up and down to adjust for the light? I mean c’mon that’s way too much work! #PainPoint!”
Fine, I’m being a little (only a tad bit) melodramatic here. But more often than not, these pain points can be truly, well, a pain in your gluteus maximus muscles (and not in a good way!). And I think, for the most part, these pains arise as a result of lack of, slow or poor connectivity between people, products, services, or information. So next time you go #PaintPoint!!!, ask yourself, which of the below permutations the pain is stemming from, and how you could play matchmaker.
A Matchmaker’s Guide to Address Pain Points:
Step 1) Identify Pain: This step requires being mindful as you go through life, and erring on the side of being a little melodramatic to identify problems and challenge status quo, while at the same time being solution oriented and happy.
Step 2) Diagnose Pain: Play doctor to identify the etiology of pain. Ask yourself, which of the connections below (in bold) is either non-existent or is suffering.
Step 3) Treat Pain: Think of solutions that connect the categories outlined below (in bold), and what other smart people may have done to address the pain (some examples in italics).
People – People: online dating, social networks, telecommunication, meet-ups, conferences, etc. (e.g. Tinder, Twitter, FaceTime, Reddit’s AMA, shared office spaces, …)
People – Products: new products, packing existing products together, brick & mortar or online retail, shipping, marketing, etc. (e.g. malls, super markets, pop-up shops, Amazon, Polyvore, Netflix, MLS, Next Issue, Airbnb, 3D printers, Foodstory, …)
People – Services: new services, making existing services more accessible, e-concierge services, marketing, etc. (e.g. Wellx, Uber, Khan Academy, Craig’s List, Lux Cleaning , Shake, Creeds, Expedia, …)
People – Information: developing/connecting people to information about themselves, other people, products, or services, etc. (that thing called the World Wide Web, 23&Me, Yelp, Sleep Cycle, …)
Products – Products: getting products to talk to/work with each other through either a physical or wireless connection (e.g. thermostats, Square Reader, bluetooth keyboards, Apple TV, whatever Google will do with Nest, …)
Products – Services: mainly customer service I think (e.g. Apple’s Genius Bar, …)
Products – Information: products that make data collection and analytics easier (e.g. Fitbit, other sensors/wearables, …)
Service – Service: service/time-based barter economy (e.g. Centre for Social Innovation’s Timebank, …)
Service – Information: service driven by information or information collected as a by-product of service (e.g. crowdsourced power outage tools, analytics tools driven from mobile devices, …)
Information – Information: this is where big data comes from (e.g. ERP platforms, the cloud, …)
And these are just a few examples. Ultimately, the best way to get rid of pain points, is to develop/improve intra-inter connections amongst all the categories, in an integrated, seamless fashion. This is not a matchmaking game of 2.
That’s it for now, as my synapses aren’t really connecting effectively right now. #PainPoint!, need a Synapse Matchmaker (coffee? sleep?)!
Let me know what you think!