not sticky enough

When I think about things that are sticky, I generally do not have a pleasant association with those things. In fact, I tend to view them with some suspect. It could be a mysterious spot collecting fuzz on the kitchen counter or little kids’ hands. Seriously, little kids always have jam hands. It could be the case that there’s no jam in your house, but somehow little kids will find jam and they will put it on their hands and let it dry just a little bit for peak stick.

Anyway, I think we can all agree that in general “sticky” is not a great attribute for a product. (If you just thought “what about a sticky bun?” I’ll give you that one. I would also have accepted the classic child’s toy: a stick.)

With all that said, here’s the problem with my product: it’s not sticky enough.

So let’s back up a week. Last Wednesday was a “mentor idea review” for the startup accelerator program I’m doing. This is where I do a three minute pitch with a slide deck to a number of really smart people. If enough of them think it’s good, I get to continue with the program. If too many think it was not good enough, then I might be asked to drop out of the program.

The good news is: I passed the review. But I received overwhelming feedback that my product would not compel users to return; that they might use it once right before a general election and then not use it again. It wasn’t sticky enough.

It sums up to this: if I can get my product to be sticky, I have a business; if I can’t, then I don’t.

This was my problem to solve. Today, I think I took a large step towards solving it.

One piece of the solution is to have “flash votes” throughout the year. The votes are open for a limited timeframe, probably 24 hours. Ideally these votes will be commissioned by campaigns and organizations so users know that their input is truly being sought and not just released into the void. An example of a question is: “Your senator wants to know: should she vote in favor of the GOP tax plan?” Once a user has voted, they can see the current yes/no tally and can recruit friends who use the app (or invite new friends) to help sway the tally in their favor. Users will also earn points for participation and friend recruitment which will be ranked on a friend and regional leaderboard. After the vote closes, users may receive a message from the senator acknowledging the vote and explaining her actions (example: I voted against the GOP tax plan this evening). Users may also be asked to donate to the campaign if the senator voted the way the user wished.

I think this is all much easier to visualize when you have, well, a visual aide. So if you want to see the mockups I made this morning, reply to this email and I’ll send you the link.

And as always, I am happy to hear any feedback.

Thanks for following along,

Ben