The Universal Goal


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15 responses to “What is Traction?”

  1. Hi, Ash. You share so much good information – I really appreciate it. Yes, this video was very helpful. Currently, I’m locating businesses to print and produce my product. I’m not producing too many up front (20, to start), but my biggest problem at the moment is: do I get a provisional patent first or try to sell some for “traction”. I’ve used your Lean Canvas – and perhaps I need to redo it. As my learning expands my view of things changes. But thank you for you willingness to help others.

  2. Depending on your industry, a patent may not provide the defensibility you hope it will.

    The problem with patents is you have to make them specific which requires
    1) understanding your solution
    2) giving away your secret sauce.

    A provisional patent does buy you time but you need to consider the next point too:

    3) When someone infringes on your patent, there is no patent police. You have to both detect infringement and enforce your right which usually requires deep pockets.

    I generally recommend embracing obscurity first and yes go for early traction i.e. test and refine your product in smaller batches (which is what it looks like you are doing). Then explore whether a patent or some other unfair advantage would be more effective.

  3. Hi, Ash. Great video – indeed helpful. We are currently doing our first
    BML loop and trying to bring our MVP to the table to get more reliable feedback
    on our idea. But how do we go from small expert interviews and focus groups to
    larger audiences to get a broader sense of whether people actually want this
    product? We are talking about a physical ‘new to the world’ product for the
    private household. Crowd funding sites like Kickstarter would have been a nice place to precent the product to the masses to validate and test if people are willing to buy our idea but then again you just don’t go down that road if your only there to test and validate if there is a need and a will to play the price. Can you give us a hint or two for our next step? Thanks for your time Ash!
    Jan, Denmark.

  4. Hey Ash – thanks for the video. Been thinking a lot about the nature of the process of delivering value since I launched a code school in Toronto and been operating for a year. The one thing that’s been on my mind with regards to my students has been helping them identify the right problems to work on for their personal projects and testing the critical assumptions early on. I wrote a little bit about it back in the summer of 2015 []. I’ve been told that I should pivot towards a crucial focus on elaborating the problem solving process through workshops. How would recommend that I roll these out (I read running lean and am aware that you did something similar with the canvas so I’d like to hear your thoughts)? Also, I was the leader for Lean Startup Machine in TO in 2014 so I’m debating what model is best. Would love your feedback. Cheers, Ian.

  5. HI, Im starting a fashion line and i have made all neccsary contacts, now whats left is funding, do i write a business plan for that or what, by doing that i dont know any investor…if i were to take a loan, i have no collateral

  6. Dan –

    Traction speaks louder than words.
    Before spending time writing a full-fledged plan or pitching investors, I’d start with demonstrating demand for your fashion line.

    1. Start by creating a Lean Canvas ( to get specific on your customers segments
    2. Get out of the building and start sharing your vision/offer with those customer segment.
    3. Measure what they do.

  7. Yes, I started my sharing free content first through my blog which was a great way to build an audience. That audience demanded more hands-on learning which turned into the workshops and bootcamps I now run.

    The more specific you can get on the goals and obstacles of your students, the better. I recommend the same path.

    1. Start with your students in code school
    2. Interview them around goals/Identify what’s keeping them from succeeding
    3. Then build a compelling offer and launch with a small cohort of students.
    4. Rinse, iterate, repeat.

  8. Hi Jan –

    First, it doesn’t take a lot of small scale testing to validate “potential demand” for an offer. If you can get specific on the unique distinguishing characteristics of your customers, you don’t need lots of customers to demonstrate repeatability.

    Next, you do want to stage rollout your product. I’d test the full offer (value proposition, demo, and price) in person first. If you can’t sell your product face-to-face, going online won’t be any different. This lets you build a compelling offer which you can then launch at larger scale. Whether that’s Kickstarter or somewhere else will be dependent on where your target early adopters (identified above) hang-out.

  9. Hi Ash,

    Thank you very much for the video! It was really helpful! I want to start a clothing line but I don’t really know where to start first. I am working on essentials such as getting a trademark, making a website, contacting fabric mills and getting my designs to life (making a sample for each design to upload to the website). How essential is it to write a business plan and what is the level of effectiveness to making a company run smoothly? Also, what are the best ways to get started (since I don’t have funding)?

    Thanks so much!

  10. i really enjoyed this video, I must have watched it at
    least 4 times just to grasp the the concept of traction and was to make sure that my business plan is a success. I am starting a clothing line and I want start with the trademark and patented my brand name and company name, can you please tell me of a cheap way to get the trademark out of the way?

  11. Hi Ash, I want to start home maid service business , how should I start my business. What should be my intials steps ?

  12. Hi Ash many thanks for the video – this is great information. Look for ward to knowing how I can display traction for my business which has a dual market place

  13. Hi Ash, Thanks for the great video. My product is a service, so applying the principles mentioned in your video gave me a ton of new insights and ideas!

  14. Hi Ash,a revision to what we have been learning for months now, these quick recaps gives clarity to our mind and process.
    I believe clarity is power the more clearer you are the more closer you get to your goal.

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