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LOOPS

Building Products with Clarity & Confidence

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J has helped us deliver amazing value to our customers time and time again. His ability to take nebulous concepts and drill down until they become quality products is second to none.

ADAM FERRANDO — DELTA AIR LINES

Few have logged as many hours as J, thinking deeply about product design and the methodologies that lead to success. This book captures years of wisdom that's sure to set you on the right path.

AARRON WALTER — VP OF DESIGN EDUCATION AT INVISION

WHAT’S THIS ALL ABOUT?

You have to build things with limited time and a limited budget. How do you make the most of both? Not only that, how do you get confidence and clarity in what you’re going to build and how you’re going to build it? Whether you’re a startup founder or the head of a corporate product team, you need the right strategies and tools to give your team the best chances of building products and services that give you a competitive advantage.

Loops is the practical guide you need to get products out of your mind’s eye and into the real world. Seasoned product strategist and experience designer J Cornelius covers the processes, exercises, and methodologies used by some of the world’s fastest moving and most successful startups and corporate product teams to get out in front and stay there. This book will give you the tools you need to create products people love.

Table of Contents

9

Introduction

The new economy · Why human-centered design matters · A little customization goes a long way · There is no finish line with design · Fall in love with the problem, not the solution · Applying an old process in a new way · I want to help you get it right

Phase One: should we do it?
27

Human-Centered Business Design

Understanding humans and what they need, want, and value so you can build a product they will love · Analysis Paralysis · Making decisions based in fear · The Lizard Brain at work · Getting past the Lizard Brain · Fear and desire · Dangerous territory · Exchange Theory · Cognitive biases · Are you speaking to the right audience? · The sunk cost fallacy · An idea vs. a hunch · The solution is your destination · What can you be great at? · How to adapt to changing expectations

51

Step One: Research

The problem discovery process · The problem safari · The outdated tech review · The research framework · How to define roles and pain points · Empathy Maps · Interview recruitment strategies · Getting specific · The first round of interviews · Psychographics · Interviewing humans · Preparing for your interviews · Conducting the interview · Affinity mapping · The second round of interviews · Overcoming the Curve of Despair · Let’s talk about money · The Value Proposition Canvas · Features and benefits · How it all fits together

Phase Two: How do we do it?
101

Step Two: Prototyping

Creating simple paper and digital versions of your ideas to test with your market · Designing solutions · A note on creating new markets · Tools for prototyping · Idea generation · Creating something you can test · User journeys · Creating wireframes · Develop a paper prototype · Digital prototypes

129

Step Three: Testing

How to create a hypothesis, test it with your market, and interpret the results · A series of loops · Just release it! · The Hypothesis Grid · Know it like the back of your hand · Revisit and recruit test customers · Talk to the right people · How to request feedback on a prototype · How to deal with buying signals · Looking outside the market · Needs buyers and economic buyers · The perpetual validation loop ·

Phase Three: Let’s do it!
161

Step Four: Branding and Positioning

A brand is more than a logo · First impressions of your brand · How to develop your Brand Ethos · Naming your product / company · The Namestorm · The Soak · Creating brand standards: logos, colors, typography, and usage guidelines

199

Step Five: Building at Speed

You’re not building an MVP · The Minimum Delightful Product · As thin as possible · Proof of Concept · Getting to the next level · Design Operations · The Design System · enter atomic design · development operations · shipping with continuous integration and delivery · bringing it all together · but i’m not a technical person! · The power of an Advisory Council

235

Conclusions

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J Cornelius has been building digital products since 1996 and has helped countless startups and corporate product teams create products and services you probably use today.

He is the Founder and President of Nine Labs, a digital product strategy, design, and experience consultancy operating in Atlanta and New York City.

He speaks at conferences and leads workshops around the world, and serves on the Advisory Board of multiple venture capital groups, accelerator programs, and private companies.

A serial entrepreneur with multiple exits, J started his first business in high school and never looked back. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, three kids, and two dogs.

Learn more at jcornelius.com.

More Praise For Loops

Loops is a necessity for anyone who has to create and deliver a competitive, distinct experience. It is the playbook for using a toolset that is tried and trusted by all of today’s wildly successful brands.

GREG STOREY — DESIGN LEADER AT INVISION, USAA, AND IBM

J has a knack for explaining things in a way that just makes sense. This book clears up so much about the process of building products, and makes it easy for designers, developers, and business people to understand and apply.

LEE THOMAS — CEO OF PROJECT COST SOLUTIONS

This book clears up so much about the process of building products and makes it easy for designers, developers, and business people to understand and apply.

JINA ANNE — DESIGN SYSTEMS LEADER, FORMERLY SALESFORCE, AMAZON, GITHUB, APPLE

Loops shows you how to ask the right question, dig into the core of the challenge, and drive towards results-based solutions.

ROBIN BIENFAIT — CEO OF EMNOVATE, FORMER GLOBAL CHIEF ENTERPRISE INNOVATION OFFICER AT SAMSUNG, CIO AT BLACKBERRY

The concepts in this book can be applied to any type of product or business idea. It’s a clear and concise way to make sense of the chaos in your head and build something people will actually buy.

BEN BAXTER — STRATEGIC PRODUCT DIRECTOR, GOOGLE

Every time I open Loops—randomly to some page—what I read is sharp, relevant, and interesting.

JAMIE MARTIN — FOUNDER & PRINCIPAL, PARTNERS MARKETING GROUP

J is a fantastic writer and is full of practical advice. He cuts through the clutter and provides useful, actionable information in a relatable way. 5 stars across the board.

DANIEL ROBERTS — FOUNDER, FRIENDLY HUMAN

Loops is a great resource for anyone developing a digital product, app, or even website. It's like a more people-focused version of The Lean Startup. Cornelius gives a well-rounded look at product development, more than just "create an MVP and repeat." Sure, he goes into brainstorming, creating a prototype, and testing, but he also covers the human element and branding & positioning. Overall, this is a great book that will really get you thinking about the usability and design of your product.

BRANDON ELEY — FOUNDER, 2BIGFEET.COM

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The Loops approach is a common-sense way to save time, money, and heartbreak when bringing an idea to market.

HANS UTZ — FOUNDER OF LIGHTENGALE HEALTH, FORMER DEPUTY COO FOR CITY OF ATLANTA
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