People want to be validated. If your product or service can do that for them, you can charge whatever price you feel like.

What services are good examples of validating people, and what do they validate?

Here’s an easy one.

Facebook validates that I’m popular and/or connected to other people – humans need connection and community.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks trigger the reward center in our brain whenever a post is “liked” or commented on.

Like this one for instance.

Known psychological system that has been well studied.

Neiman Marcus and other high-end retail establishments validate our need to feel special. A personalized shopping experience.

It is also why that little cheese store still exists, the out-of-the-way coffee shop that creates your cappuccino just the way you like makes you drive 20 minutes out of your way, and why that restaurant who remembers you the moment you walk in the door, all do a fantastic trade based on personal interaction.

On a larger scale, Uber makes you feel “like you’ve arrived” because you have a “personal driver” even if you have to share that driver with someone else once in a while. It also doesn’t hurt that Uber is a better taxi service than normal taxi servers.

Validation doesn’t come through from purely automated systems.

“Thanks for being a loyal customer. Here’s a 10% coupon if you will come back and buy something.”

Validation comes from another person – even if that other person uses an automated tool.

When I send out a connection request on LinkedIn, assuming I don’t accidentally send the default invite message, I always personalize the invite.

“Hey there , you popped up on my People You May Know feed and it looks like we have some people in common. I feel it might be mutually beneficial to connect. P.S. I won’t ever waste your time.”

Or some words to that effect.

When someone accepts my invite request, I thank them for it, with a similar polite message. When they celebrate a work anniversary, birthday or change jobs, LinkedIn lets me know.

Most people click “Like” or “Congratulate” which sends a stupid boring canned message. I have a swipe file of about 1,000 pithy and humourous greetings or well wishes I can send out to my connections. I validate their existence. I get a solid 24% response rate on every message sent.

People want to be acknowledged and they want to know it didn’t come from an automated system. People want their existence, their work, their worries, and their dreams validated.

You might not be able to validate all of those, and some of them are too big, but if you can tailor your service to get partway there, price is never a problem.

Gravitational Centers of Interest

You want to be in advertising? New York.

You want to be a film star? Hollywood.

You want to create a hot tech start-up? San Francisco.

Even with our push towards remote working, these gravitational centers of industry are still relevant today.

If you don’t want artificial roadblocks in your path, don’t move to B.F.E. and complain you cannot get a job/find talent/raise capital/become a star.

Proudly Prideful

When are you proud?

Are you proud to own and drive that car?

Are you proud to be the first to get that new phone amongst your peers?

Are you proud to experience that event by your favourite artist?

Build your product to entice people to feel proud when they interact with it and you have built loyalty and evangelism.

You have to make me feel pride, even if it’s misplaced.

The Rule Of Thirds As It Applies To Users

Rule Of Thirds

User accounts!

A good rule of thumb is the rule of thirds.

A third of your registered user accounts (that aren’t free) will be paid up. A third of your paid up accounts will be logged in at peak times. A third of your users will never log in for any one third of a time period you measure.

You can crunch actual data and come up with concrete results for your specific service, but when you are capacity planning without access to data or the data is too fuzzy, the rule of thirds is a great place to start.

The rule of thirds works on anything where you have paid accounts.

Poor Strategy

If you think you are going to entice the best engineers in San Francisco into working for you by spamming a Jobvite link where they can fill out a bunch of fields and upload their resume, you probably should rethink your hiring strategy.

Seriously rethink your hiring strategy.

Those engineers you are trying to woo will remember your company, and not in a good way.

Stealth Start-ups

Chatting with a group of entrepreneurs about when is the appropriate time to talk about your start-up when one of them mentions that I don’t talk much about my current project.

I respond “My start-up idea isn’t in stealth, I just don’t want to talk about it.”

Stealth in the start-up world has become a euphemism for non-existent or not yet half-baked. “Not talking about it” is still a valid way of saying “it’s not ready yet.”

You’re not “in stealth” if you are actually talking to everyone about your start-up.

Acquiring Minds Of Users

UA (User Acquisition) on mobile is broken.

The people that need UA broke it.

The market provided a broken solution to those demands. There are far better ways to maximize your spend than utilizing UA networks. But of course, UA networks are the easy option for people who are lousy at marketing, acquisition and retention, risk averse and want to do what everyone else is doing.