The middle way

Philip Morgan

Here are all the ways you could validate a specialization hypothesis:

  1. Blind pivot
    • You don't validate :)
    • You decide how you want to specialize and then you rock and roll!
  2. Guardrail-and-Go
    • Copy a competitor. If their specialization works for them, it's possible to make it work for you.
    • Or, choose from your head start or your heart and apply guardrails (market size, number of competitors, etc.)
  3. Deep market research
    • Reach saturation through market reserach interviews
    • The research might actually generate a new specialization hypothesis, as is done in innovation-focused research
    • Or, it might validate/invalidate your existing hypothesis
  4. Distribute a free gift of knowledge and ask for feedback from the market
    • This provides the best ratio of short timeline and amplitude of the signal. You can really FEEL it viscerally when someone responds with enthusiasm to your thinking. On the flip side, you can also really feel it when the market ignores your thinking.

By the way, a specialization hypothesis is simple. It's you saying to yourself: "I think if I specialize in $POTENTIAL-FOCUS, it will work out well for me."

In the specialization workshop that starts in mid-May, we'll combine approches #2 and #4 from the list above.

There's nothing wrong with a blind pivot from generalist to new specialization, but skipping validation altogether is risky.

Deep market research is a wonderful skill, but it's costly from the time, effort, and expertise-needed-to-do-it perspectives.

The middle ground is to generate a shortlist of options using the Guardrail-and-Go approach and then add in a "thin" validation layer by creating and distributing a free gift of knowledge to see if the market responds to your thinking.

If the market does respond to your thinking, you'll feel it. There will be no doubt that you're on to something.

The specialization workshop starting mid-May does everything possible to get you to this point of feeling traction in 8 weeks: