Product Memo Template
Note: The Google Doc version of this document is at this link
What market-level shifts are you betting on for the mid/long term? For example, when Drew Houston launched Dropbox—they made tailwind assumptions that storage prices would drop, browser performance would improve, the number of devices would increase, and internet speeds would accelerate. Every assumption became true by 10x.
What exactly is the problem being solved?
In contrast to a “30,000 foot view” — what is the proposed solution for this problem at a “10 foot view”? Do you have a whiteboard sketch of the product? Do you have a mockup/screenshot? What are some of the "hooks" that will draw people in? What are some killer features?
Who Has This Problem?
Who are your ideal first customer profiles? What specifically are their problems? How are you going to solve it?
Customer 1… 2… 3...
“Jobs To Be Done” Value Proposition
People don’t simply buy products or services, they ‘hire’ them to make progress in specific workflows. We call this progress the ‘job’ they are trying to get done, and understanding this helps innovators more accurately develop product solutions that align with specific jobs that potential customers are already trying to accomplish—and more importantly—how a startup’s product innovation improves those jobs (i.e. gets them done better, faster, cheaper, etc).
Pulling from your customer profiles above, please make a table that outlines a few highlights of jobs that your potential customers are trying to do. Please describe the current process of accomplishing those jobs today, and then please help us understand how your product intends to significantly improve that process.
|CUSTOMER SEGMENT||JOB THEY’RE TRYING TO DO||EXISTING PROCESS(ES) TO DO THAT JOB||YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION|
|e.g. “Office Worker”||Needs to get to work daily||Currently has to drive a car (costs money), drive themselves (can’t multitask), find parking (annoying and costs money), maintain the car (gas / oil change / insurance costs money), and… this costs… etc. Can also take the bus—which requires walking to/waiting at stop, riding with dozens of other people (not COVID friendly), etc...||Uber gives everyone a private driver for a fraction of the cost of owning a car, and which includes a whole host of additional benefits including.. which saves.. etc.|
Evidence of Demand
What supporting evidence do we have that this problem needs to be solved? Why does the world need this now? What has changed? Try to find real data!
How many people have this problem? How much is it worth to solve it for them? What are some possible business/revenue models for charging them?
What are the key roles that you will need on the founding team? Who would be some ideal people for those roles? Why would this be the right team? For the people you currently have, what are their competitive edges?
How can AI Make This 10x Better?
What are the ways that AI will unlock value and create differentiation?
Execution Plan for the Next 90 Days
What next steps need to be taken to validate the deal breakers above over the next 90 days? What's the plan to do this? What resources do you need?
Support From AI2
What support will you need from AI2 in the next 90 days? What other elements of support will you need that you do not currently have?
Risks & Mitigation
At the beginning of any startup, there are usually a handful of risks that need to be investigated in order to determine whether a new effort will ultimately survive. The key work effort in this 90-day execution plan is to come up with mitigation strategies for these risks. What are the key risk factors for your startup? What are some mitigation strategies that you might employ?
Some examples include:
- Technical Risk — the “A.I.” won’t really be ready for another five years
- Regulatory Risk — Might need FDA approval (medical products), or need to register as a new bank
- Complexity Risk — the startup is trying to do way too much at once
- Go-To-Market Risk — the startup will have a hard time reaching potential customers
- Competition Risk — there are existing companies that are much better positioned to capitalize on this
- Domain Expertise Risk — entrepreneurs are going into manufacturing when they know very little about it
- Team Risk — the startup is missing a key person (e.g. a manufacturing domain expert) on the team
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