How do you create a product or service that becomes a bestseller? By developing it in a customer-oriented way. How do you do that? By listening closely to the customer. And by testing. And you test again. Our mentor at GoStartup School 2020 Rok Gulič told us a personal story about assumptions in entrepreneurship in a blog. Mistakes are bitter, of course, but you can learn something from everyone.

 Rok is the founder of the start-up Ollo Audio, which is trusted by the sound engineers of the teams Beyonce, Lady Gaga, U2, Jessie J, SIA, Rihanna, The Voice, Radiohead who use their studio headphones.

I have experienced quite an interesting lesson on UX in the past year. In short, with OLLO Audio we published measurements of our headphones’ frequency responses and were proud to be able to have such a degree of transparency. At first, consumers loved it. But then, after a few months and when we grew a bit beyond #boutique manufacturer, those measurements plots started to backfire on us.

Here’s my 2 cents on the matter.

As long as you can keep the small, boutique feel to your brand and brand experience you can get away with almost anything. The moment you reach (in our case about 2000 customers, could be different for you) X number of customers you can’t really serve them as you did and the feel of a small company disappears. That creates a lot less tolerance for your communication.

 

We assumed that a graph of measurements, that is dynamic and can be controlled by consumers, is a great thing. Perfectly displayed values for every fr point, adjusting x and y axes and comparisons with 2 clicks, will surely be appreciated.

As it turned out; the fact all data is there and that detailed report is just a click away, everybody started criticizing the Y scale to be misleading and that it’s our intention to hide things in small scale! Wow, how did we get from fully transparent measurements report that no other company ever published so open as we did, to being a fraud?!

Listening to customers is one of our core values and we’ll do something about this for sure. But the real lesson is – NEVER EVER ASSUME ANYTHING. TEST AND TEST AGAIN.

If you’re in a startup world, you have surely heard the expression: Assumption is the mother of all f*** u*s. So do yourself, your company and your clients a favor, test everything.

At OLLO we use a few techniques:

The AB testing

Thought experiments

Gathering feedback in an organized fashion

learning from others in the industry.

All these are great but the one most important is feedback! Listen and use all feedback to fuel your drive. Especially the negative stuff, there’s a ton of that as you grow and turn into “just another brand!”