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Iteration — How to accelerate the Feedback Loop

As I was listening to an interview of DHH by Tim Ferriss, I was blown by consecutive insights generated. A sequence of mind opening wisdom on life and business.

One that particularly stroke me was on iteration. DHH was explaining how he discovered his passion for car racing and eventually finished Le Mans race second on the podium! An enviable achievement by many criteria!

But he had a secret weapon: Iteration.

He explained how racing was a highly iterative process. Learning happens at a fast pace because each new lap is an opportunity to improve. There are not many activities in life that allow such a high frequency of iteration.

In business, just like in racing, to him, the best way to accelerate learning is to accelerate the feedback loop.

And this is what this article is about…

So you are launching your web app. The prototype is ready. It’s time to hit that huge untapped market. Continuous improvement is your way to glory.

Q: How?
A: Build the quickest possible feedback loop.

Q: How?
. A1: Install onsite analytics (e.g. Mixpanel or Segment). Even if you can’t analyze the data yet, just make sure you log it for future use.
. A2: Observe users: Put them in front of your website (or App) and let them use it. More importantly shut-up and swallow your pride 🙂. Be warned, it’s a humbling process. If users are stuck and ask for help, you may help them. But because you will not be around for future users, make sure whatever confusion you notice is brushed aside by making the required changes.
. A3: Talk to users: Try to understand everything about them. Just like a profiler would. What are their current habits, problems, joys, alternative solutions, direct costs, opportunity costs…
. A4: Observe indirect feedback: Churn is one of them. The lowest your customer loyalty, the lowest the perceived value. On top, the sales process can give you a hint. If prospects spend an eternity closing the deal, it means they are fine without your solution.
. A5: Install a customer support solution that tracks your stats without overwhelming you with requests. helps you do exactly that. It allows making available to the public any resolved support ticket. Future users will find it on Google. You save precious support time you can convert to product improvement. And the app keeps track of which questions are most viewed.
. A6: Analyze statistics: As you may guess, finding the right KPIs is specific to each business. Yet, if they were five “universal” KPIs they would be 1. NPS, 2. churn, 3. revenue, 4. conversion funnel & 5. usage frequency.

Q: What else?
. A1: Use your own product. You need to know it upside down.
. A2: Once you have a few hundreds of users, split-test is your friend. Test landing pages conversion, emails, features, pricing…


Accelerating the feedback loop is about feeding your intuition with data.
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