📻 — Optimize for “Time to Value” for Products and Community

Reading Time: ~ 4 min.

Good morning yeniverse!

I shared, a bit more publicly (with a much larger audience) a big decision that I’ve made this year and I really appreciate the support and kind words! 🥰

Per usual, a few interesting links for creators, business and community builders:

  1. Birdcast. Detail looks neat. Small management system. Ethical hacking.
  2. Memes for sale. Adidas vs Puma. Online brandbook. 3D things.
  3. Winners. Koalendar. HTML via Google Sheets. Cut video fast.
  4. Decentralized (small) social network. Collab on website. Programmer?
  5. Finding unicorns. Netflix cosmos. Expensive game. Useloops.
  6. Social media management. Collab customer onboarding. n8 + community.
  7. 100 proj. Year 4 in review. This doesn’t surprise me. Managing Defi.
  8. Metaverse goes IPO. Bigger images. Russia meet Twitter.
  9. Fine without college. We aren’t ready. Let’s buy an audience.
  10. Get in, get out. What I think about NFTs. Still cool. Community-led growth.

Finally, I’ve been spending a little more time fixing up our open source handbook as well as a more public (hiring) profile on such places like Triplebyte; a neat place for technical talent. If you’re into

To infinity & community,

— john

Om Malik one of the godfathers of blogging, shared this the other day:

My friend and writer-turned-founder of Trucks VC has a simple concept he calls “time to value.” How long does it take for someone to start using a product and find value? It is a great way to evaluate products, and I use this approach all the time. Its short “time to value” is one reason why media people love Substack, the great white hope of media. 


I really like that metric and I shared a few larger thoughts with my team and the yeniverse as it relates to building product and creating value for a new community space:

"Time to value" is a really good metric! And, in many ways, this is an underlying perspective that we talk about all the time with our platform. The idea here is simple and instructive:

1. Minimize the amount of time required for a customer or community member to experience value.
2. Remove friction from seeing, receiving, understanding, interpreting value within the product and/or network.
3. Find ways for folks to experience value, FAST.

Here are a few high-level thoughts on ways that folks can “experience” value:

1. A response to an update / post in the yeniverse, especially a question. This could be a full text response (or media) or even a small emoji.
2. Identifying someone else they know in the larger yeniverse; this can oftentimes create a real sense of belonging, very quickly.
3. Using YEN on their own property, project, business, and/or community.

The point is this: Anything that gets in our way, both workflows / technology is a problem as we’re here to maximize speed for our community member and customer.

As I said before, a really good reminder for all of us.

As I’ve already shared, I’m looking to find a Product Manager-ish type this year and I’ve been connecting with folks who have worked for, worked with, hired, and even lead and been PMs! It’s a fun process and I love learning more about folks and how they think about building products and culture.

Facebook has a PM program and even a hiring / interview guide for folks:

The content therein was pretty useful! For instance, here’s what they look for:

  1. How you take an ambiguous idea and create a great product
  2. Your ability to empathize with the user
  3. Intentional design choices
  4. Prioritization to get things done

Even this overview of how they think through “framing” and “goal setting” a product might be useful as you think through building your own project and/or business and community:

Stage 1: Framing / Goal Setting

  • What is the product vision? Understand the product landscape (be sure to tie all
    of the next steps back to this original vision and idea).
  • What are the goals of your product and how will you measure success?


  • Who would use this product and why?
  • How would you segment these people?
  • Which segmentation should we start with for this product?
  • Who are your users and why?
  • What are their segments?
  • Why did you choose this audience?

Stage 2: Features / Solutions

  • How does the product function?
  • What are the user flows-onboarding?
  • Wireframing (avoid picking a segment and rushing to a solution without thinking it through from framing)?

Think of a hypothetical product:

  1. Who is the audience?
  2. What problem is this product solving?
  3. Why would people use it?
  4. What would you build as MVP?
  5. How would people use it?

I could imagine using the above process and workflow for navigating some early project, business, or community-centric products.

Bonus points for this “execution” section that could be used to refine your product or community’s value proposition or positioning / marketing copy:

  • What is the one-sentence mission / goal of a product or feature?
  • What metrics would you use to measure progress and success?
  • How do you qualify and define the specific metrics you’re proposing?
  • What metrics might you harm? How would you make a tradeoff?
  • How would you decide what to improve / build to achieve this goal?
  • How would you prioritize the different things you want to work on?

Finally, this section on qualifying leadership is a good high-level of things to look for when hiring someone — do they do some of the following or can you see evidence of these things?

  1. Taking ownership: How could you have prevented a failure in your past instead of blaming external factors? How do you resolve conflicts instead of avoiding or ignoring them? How have you taken on and solved a challenging situation, whether or not you were told it was your problem to solve?
  2. Being introspective: Are you aware of your weaknesses? Are you willing to learn and grow?
  3. Supporting people: Do you appreciate that people have different needs and motivations? Are you able to adjust leadership style to specific situations, collaborating, reconciling differences?
  4. Grit and scrappiness: Can you stick with something? Can you get something done with insufficient resources because you care?

All useful qualities, for sure. Thanks Facebook! Two words that I haven’t used in…

… a long time.

L(° O °L)


%d bloggers like this: