Like a Glove Podcast, Episode 5: Niche of a Niche of a Niche with Jennie Moser Like a Glove Podcast, Episode 5: Niche of a Niche of a Niche with Jennie Moser Like a Glove Podcast, Episode 5: Niche of a Niche of a Niche with Jennie Moser Like a Glove Podcast, Episode 5: Niche of a Niche of a Niche with Jennie Moser Like a Glove Podcast, Episode 5: Niche of a Niche of a Niche with Jennie Moser Like a Glove Podcast, Episode 5: Niche of a Niche of a Niche with Jennie Moser Like a Glove Podcast, Episode 5: Niche of a Niche of a Niche with Jennie Moser Like a Glove Podcast, Episode 5: Niche of a Niche of a Niche with Jennie Moser

Like a Glove Podcast, Episode 5: Niche of a Niche of a Niche with Jennie Moser

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Like A Glove Podcast, Episode 5: Niche of a Niche of a Niche w/ Jennie Moser

Pat:
Hi, my name is Pat East and welcome to Like a Glove, the start-up podcast about product-market fit. I’m also the Executive Director at The Mill, and today’s guest is Jennie Moser of…

Jennie:
Jennie Moser Design, formerly, and now Stagetime, a new venture.

Pat:
Excellent. So we’ll talk about both and we’ll also talk a little bit about your background leading up to that. How you started in Jennie Moser Design and Stagetime. Sound good?

Jennie:
Yeah, absolutely.

Pat:
So before we dive into product-market fit, let’s talk a little bit about your background. Before you started doing Stagetime, Jennie Moser Design, you were at Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

Jennie:
Yeah, I was in music school. I had done some light design work, is what I call it, and undergrad I had really wanted to be a part of the fashion magazine on campus and they were not going to need me to write, so I got asked to do layout and I was really bad at it. But then I had the Adobe Creative Suite, and so for my music friends who were struggling to execute even pieces like resumes, I said, “Well, fine, I can do it.” So fast forward, a friend of mine won a really big domestic voice competition for singers put on by the Metropolitan Opera and she was being profiled by the New York Times and her website was, truly no joke, the worst thing I’ve ever seen. She never lets me forget that I told her it looked like a bad Easter egg threw up on some HTML or something like that.

Pat:
Also liked lots of pastel colors, and-

Jennie:
Exactly. Light blue and light yellow. And then just a headshot, kind of three inches in the corner. It was bad. So I said, “Madison, send me all of your materials. I kind of want to try this.” And I knew I didn’t need one professionally, so I didn’t want to waste the time on myself. And I spent literally hundreds of hours playing with every CMS in the world and decided on what I liked and started it, scrapped it, started at, scrapped it, and eventually I knew it was better than what she had before, so we published it and then things got a little crazy right after that. Over the course of the next three months I fielded about a hundred requests for artist websites and that was two-and-a-half or three years ago, and since then I think I’ve fielded over 400 requests and I’ve built out 90 of those websites. So eventually that just turned itself into Jennie Moser Design. That’s about as-

Pat:
Yeah, that’s awesome.

Jennie:
… creative as I got.

Pat:
When you were at IU and you wanted to be a part of the fashion magazine on campus, you already had some design skills, but nothing that you were doing on a full-time basis. This was a side thing, a hobby, right?

Jennie:
Yeah, totally a hobby.

Pat:
So you’re all self-taught, or did you take any classes?

Jennie:
After we published that first site and I started gauging the interest, I got massive imposter syndrome. So I ended up taking a graphic design internship with an opera company, Opera Theater of Saint Louis, thinking that I was going to learn a ton of technical skills. As it turns out, I did not, it was just a great summer of practice, and it was great. I mean I was their sole in-house graphic designer, so I turned around every print and digital piece for the whole summer. I only made a couple of massive mistakes. So after that I felt like I was comfortable being a little bit more formal with pricing structure and expertise and that sort of thing. But really it was just repetition.

Pat:
Great. And so it was a lot of practice. No real formal training. You’re trying to get some of that via an internship, but it really didn’t hit the mark like you thought it would. So really, it was just you having enough gumption to do this and repeating over and over and over 90 times before you felt like you were really good at it.

Jennie:
Yup. Well, and it was perfect because it would’ve been really difficult to balance any other second job with a master’s in voice. So the fact that I could do this in my spare time, and then the network of people who needed the product were sitting in the room with me, was the perfect storm.

Pat:
In the network of people that needed this are your fellow classical singers, musicians, right?

Jennie:
Yup. Other opera singers going through the formal training side of the profession.

Pat:
But your niche in web design was the niche of a niche of a niche. It wasn’t just web design for musicians, wasn’t just web design for classical singers, it was opera singers, specifically.

Jennie:
Yup, that is correct.

Pat:
Once you had Jennie Moser Design and you’re building all these 90 websites, then you started building out templates for these folks. Right? So tell us a little bit about that.

Jennie:
Yeah. What happened was really quickly, the requests went from being friends and colleagues to people two or three years older than me that were finding success to kind of growing organically with my skillset, which was nice, to, all of a sudden, I think within 10ish websites, the requests were coming from people who were singing at the Met. These were no longer colleagues from IU. It was people who are 30 and 35 and making debuts at the Metropolitan Opera. So it was pretty indicative of how little there was for those people to seek out in terms of web design. So, yes, it was the niche of the niche with the opera singers.

Pat:
So the idea behind the templates was to satisfy this audience a little bit at scale, right? So it’s a combination of a service and a product at the same time.

Jennie:
Yeah, exactly. It was productized consulting in a way, because the information set that I was laying out, I mean, these artists can call it custom design until they’re blue in the face, but it was the exact same six pages down to the titles on the pages. I mean, you can only rename calendar versus schedule versus upcoming engagement-

Pat:
Right, right.

Jennie:
… so many times before I realized that there was pretty much no ROI on reinventing that wheel. The interesting thing was that after I had all these big singers at the Met, then my friends who were still my age, and, 23, finishing master’s at 24, finishing master’s, the scale of the custom work that I had grown into was no longer a good fit from a pricing or a scope of work standpoint for them. And I still wanted to do something for my friends and for the truly hundreds of singers that need that product in their modal years. So that was the idea behind the templates, was to take one of those big sites, distill it down, and put that into people’s hands for them to try to take on themselves.

Pat:
That kind of led to the social network Stagetime for classical musicians and that entire ecosystem, right?

Jennie:
Yeah, absolutely. It became apparent that that still wasn’t quite a solution. It put a little too much agency in the hands of people who aren’t supposed to be good at this. And that’s what I always said. It’s not all of a sudden the industry is putting this PR responsibility on your shoulders, if that’s what they call it. But no singer who’s standing on stage singing over an orchestra for six hours and evening and rehearsal, that also is equipped to turn around and manipulate a CMS system and write beautiful copy and make the whole thing look great from a design perspective. I mean, these are people who would sign their contracts and then turn around and say, “Let me know if you need anything to build a website.” And I was like, “Ugh.”

Pat:
Yes, you need everything. Please.

Jennie:
Every single thing. So it was still not really a solution. There was a partial solution and it worked to some extent, but it became again evident that it was at a higher cost and a lot more work and a lot more technical skill than how the rest of the world solves the problem. Because when I looked back at all of the analytics for all of the sites, they were being consumed exclusively by other industry professionals. It wasn’t fan bases, it was managers and casting directors and marketing professionals from Opera Company looking for a short bio. So, in that way, I realized it was just a professional tool and the only thing really keeping it from being a network was the fact that they weren’t actually-

Pat:
Actually connected.

Jennie:
… connected. Yeah.

Pat:
Got it. Got it. I love this progression from you being a student at Jacobs to doing some design for a friend, moving into website design specifically for this niche, moving into templates to try to broaden that, and then coming to the realization that “Hey, this still isn’t the right solution for these folks that are trying to connect with other professionals, and so let’s create this social network, a LinkedIn, for folks in this particular ecosystem.” I just absolutely love that entire progression and how you’ve made small pivots along the way to get where you are. That’s really impressive.

Jennie:
Thanks.

Pat:
So let’s dive into product-market fit now that we’ve gone over your background and understand that timeline. So what’s your definition of product-market fit?

Jennie:
I guess, just, do they want what you’re making? Is it solving their problem? How comprehensively is it solving it without missing the mark and providing a bunch of things they never needed, which I was convinced is a six-page website. I think that’s no longer a product-market fit.

Pat:
So a six-page website maybe used to be a product-market fit, but now there’s enough demand in the market and folks wanting to connect to other professionals that you feel like the market’s starting to mature a little bit more and that’s no longer the right solution.

Jennie:
I think that those people would argue that it still is the solution sitting on the other side. I mean, when’s the last time you personally went through all six pages of a website? Probably it’s been awhile, unless you’re an avid online shopper. And beyond that, when’s the last time you went through six pages of content for one individual? I mean, I don’t care how much you love them, but I wouldn’t do that for Beyonce, so why would I expect an opera casting director to do it for me or for one of my clients? I just don’t think it happens, and the analytics tell me that.

Pat:
And so at what point did… Well, now you feel like you don’t have perfect product-market fit, but at one point did you feel like you had it for Jennie Moser Design. Was it… I mean you built out 90 websites so was it website number one or website number 90, where in that process?

Jennie:
No, it was fast. Website number one really was just a fun project for me to do in my spare time for a friend. And then I think the first, I would say, five or six requests after that I was just floored. I was like, “Wow, I can’t believe somebody maybe wants to pay me to do something that’s not singing.” I mean, really, that was my first sign of thinking, and then I would say requests like seven through a hundred, it stopped being flattering and became really evident that there was a huge supply and demand issue, because I was good, I was fine, obviously, but I wasn’t designing it at an artistic level that suggested that kind of interest. I think it was pure supply and demand.

Pat:
I mean, you build beautiful websites. I’ve seen them, but really you think, from your perspective, it was more… There was just a huge pull from the market, not just, “I build beautiful websites,” that was creating that pull.

Jennie:
No, it was a pull from the market, and I always say that this has been the most fascinating human experiment of all time, because I watched in this niche industry, people who are of the same age and the same competitive caliber start to try to level up next to each other. So if I built a site for a young baritone on the verge of a big professional debut, I would see two of his friends who are maybe also competitors who are in the same age group, the same kind of elite circle of singing, they would pretty immediately reach out. And I mean, I could watch it, I could watch them go from his website to my website to two hours later an email in my inbox.

Pat:
Oh, wow. Wow.

Jennie:
Yeah, it was fascinating.

Pat:
So there was a lot of demand, and that’s excellent. Once you started moving into the templates, did you feel like you had product-market fit for the templates that you built?

Jennie:
Yes, yes and no. I mean I sold enough that I felt like my time was covered and it was a fun experiment, but it became evident really quickly what was wrong, and kind of before I could fix that, Stagetime came about and I saw that as a way more comprehensive and cost-effective solution for singers than me ever going back and trying to relay out that product. So, that’s what I started pursuing.

Pat:
Really with the templates, it wasn’t that you said, “Hey, we’ve got product-market fit, or maybe we had it and lost it.” It was the problem of these musicians connecting to each other. We still haven’t solved it. It was just one more data point.

Jennie:
Yeah. It was that and it was the interest, interestingly, for the templates was really, really high, and I expected a really high return and it didn’t happen. And so, going back and evaluating why that was, was another indicator to me that Stagetime was a better fit. Clearly the price point and the level of agency I left them with was not a good fit because most of the questions I got were, “Wait, you mean I still have to fill it out?” “Well, yes, it’s a template.” But again, this is a group of people that is so uneducated in this sphere, and again, that’s not their job. We go to school and learn to sing, literally all day. It makes sense now to me, in retrospect, that putting even still that much agency into their hands doesn’t feel like a solution, even though in my eyes it was this brilliant offload.

Pat:
It’s a market of educated people, but they’re not educated about website design, about marketing. Right?

Jennie:
Exactly.

Pat:
And so they look at a template like, “Oh, it should be a website, but I still have to do work.” And they just didn’t understand that that’s why you get a template for the price you get a template.

Jennie:
Right, it’s interesting because Stagetime, right now, technically, yes, it’s a B2C product, but it’s also not in that these are individuals who are functioning as their own businesses, and a lot of my friends actually become LLCs as singers just because there is so much to expense and it’s massive—

Pat:
So they’re incorporated as individuals, basically.

Jennie:
Mm-hmm [affirmative]. A lot of them are because of the travel and the expenses and the gig economy aspect. I mean, imagine if you had to go out and find a new job every few months and advertise to potential employers that you were getting employed so that they would employ you and you had to do it by creating your own website. Well, at what cost would you be willing to take that on, and how much work would you assume is your responsibility to do it? So that’s the process these people are going through.

Pat:
The process of finding a job for a normal person is, “Hey, I apply for a new job. I go to a job.org or maybe LinkedIn or get a referral every handful of years.” But for somebody in your industry, it’s really, you’re going to get a new gig every three to six months, maybe?

Jennie:
Every six to 10 weeks, I would say.

Pat:
Oh, six… Oh, so, even less than what I thought. Oh, wow.

Jennie:
Yeah. Yeah. And then that’s the big scheduling puzzle piece. Okay, are the two weeks off in between gigs worth the fact that the next gig is maybe higher paid and 10 weeks long? So how long can I afford to have those weeks off knowing what the quality of each gig is, or beyond that to get those gigs is a constant process, and we audition probably four or five times a month as opposed to that person using LinkedIn to apply two to five to 10 years apart at a time.

Pat:
So there’s a significant amount of work that goes into sustaining your income to be an opera singer.

Jennie:
Big time.

Pat:
The problem that Jennie Moser Design solved for these folks was, initially, you thought, “Hey, they just want a website.” But really, it was, “We want to connect with other professionals,” and that’s really what Stagetime does, but it’s more software-based than it is service-based.

Jennie:
Mm-hmm [affirmative]. Exactly.

Pat:
Tell us more about Stagetime. How did this company come about? What was the genesis of it?

Jennie:
I launched the templates and I was excited and other people were excited and I was at an event here at The Mill, the Hackathon during Mill week, kind of chatting about, okay, “I thought this was going to be great. It didn’t work. What do I do? Is it scalable? How scalable is it?” And somebody else who was in town for Mill week noticed there was a huge supply and demand issue and that the templates weren’t solving the problem as efficiently as perhaps they could. And so the idea of this social network or professional network for performing artists came about.

Pat:
And so somebody in HackThis—which is not a typical Hackathon where you’re trying to solve a problem by coding or programming—it’s really, you’re just trying to solve business problems, right? And so somebody else, as you’re describing this to them, really noticed, “Hey, maybe the templates aren’t solving the problem you thought they were.”

Jennie:
Yup, exactly.

Pat:
This person eventually became your cofounder, right? Or they led you to the cofounder.

Jennie:
Yes. Led me to my cofounder and it was like the wool was taken off over my eyes. I realized how much I had been in the weeds with each website. I mean, 40 to 80 hours of work at a time, it’s pretty difficult to zoom out and evaluate this from a global perspective until you have the 90 behind you and someone’s saying, “You realize that you’re the only thing connecting all of these sites, right?” And I noticed that this morning. Google Alerts came through for a client, because I always have those on because we manage a lot of social media for clients as well. And so, I will read these and say, “Oh, look, there are four of my clients on the list for the semi-finalists for the Glyndebourne Cup in the UK.”
And usually I’m the person who will toss them on an email and then say, “Hey, you guys are both great. I saw that you’re both singing at Glyndebourne. You also both have gigs together in 2022 that aren’t announced yet, but you’re going to be colleagues soon.” And so I was just in the habit of doing that naturally because it was all coming through my inbox, and so that was a light bulb for me where I was like, “Oh!”

Pat:
Wow, I didn’t realize that you were not just the one connecting them via websites, but you were literally doing that behind the scenes, and so you’re really that connective tissue for folks right now, but you’re trying to make Stagetime that connective tissue.

Jennie:
Yeah, it wasn’t on purpose. It was just organic. That’s what made sense to me to say, “Oh, these two people are great. They are going to be working together,” or, “I know they’re running in the same circles,” but when you think about the number of touch points where you can lose someone from a unique website to another unique website, it makes sense that these people haven’t brushed digital elbows, I guess, in that way because you can do the weird, follow them on social media but not really know them, or send a message, or you can enter their unique URL, go through the formal process of submitting a message to their contact form not knowing if it’s going to them or their agent or somebody else. So it’s just a trickier.

Pat:
Really, the last handful of years, even before you formally created Stagetime and are working that as a company, you’ve really been working on product-market fit for Stagetime. You just didn’t officially realize it until you found your cofounder and you decided to do this.

Jennie:
And going through and creating the bones of the company and the product itself were, I’m not going to say easy, at all, because it was a ton of work, but I had every piece of material I needed and that was a really cool realization when somebody who was outside the industry was saying to me, “Oh, do you think you know a few people?” And I was like, “Oh, well, sure, let me make a list.” And it’s 275 people later that are personal connections and their minds are blown. But for me it’s just, when it comes down to it—

Pat:
This is what you’ve been doing.

Jennie:
…yeah, it’s two music degrees, an amazing network of clients, additional requests, friends of friends. They’re my people.

Pat:
What else have you done to find product-market fit for Stagetime? Has it just been, “Hey, the last two or three years of work have culminated in this?” Have you done additional customer interviews? Something else? You’re relying on analytics to help you find product-market fit? What’s that process look like now?

Jennie:
All of the above. I’ve done a lot of interviews, especially with clients and colleagues who I think would be using the product most. I’m trying to be careful not to listen to them too much because they don’t know what they don’t know. The first question I asked each of them in my very organized Google sheet are the same questions over and over and over again. I think I’ve interviewed 40ish people. My first question is, “How do you network?” And most of them either laughed or asked me what networking was.

Pat:
Oh, really? Wow.

Jennie:
Yeah. They don’t… We wouldn’t call it that in the industry. I think there aren’t tools to do it. It’s a lot of different things. But they laugh and they say, “What do you mean?” And I would say, “Well, connecting with other industry professionals to move personal and professional relationships forward in a way that’s mutually advantageous. I don’t know.” I was just reading the definition of networking.

Pat:
Right. Just getting it off from Wikipedia and repeating it to them.

Jennie:
Yeah. And so that made it evident how many, I guess, networking processes they were replicating manually. So sending emails and follow-ups and trying to figure it out. So my next organic question was, “Okay, how do you use social media for your profession?” And I’ve also been cataloging now for months screenshots of all the ways I see artists use social media for things that each platform was not actually built. So job announcements on Facebook because they don’t know where else to put it because that’s where their network is, which brings into question boundaries. So then you know that something you’re posting because you want your agent to see it, is also showing up next to someone’s Mary Kay advertisement and also your mom’s New York Times cooking recipes, and maybe that baby picture she posted last week.

Can you imagine if that’s what the feed on LinkedIn looked like? Every time you had to say, “Look, I got a promotion. Ew, that doesn’t feel good.” And that’s what they all said. And so it went from being, “Oh, social professional, let’s unite all these people,” to, I was hearing, very clearly, very repetitively, “I want boundaries. I want a place to exist professionally. I want more jobs. I want to connect to those people, and I don’t want to spam my friends and family with just saying another mall or a concert in Florida, again. Please hire me.”

Pat:
And because these folks are getting a new gig every handful of weeks, it does feel like you’re spamming a lot versus somebody not in this industry who gets a job every handful of years. You post it on Facebook, no big deal.

Jennie:
And it doesn’t feel organic. I mean, I personally, I don’t know about anybody else, I hate sending follow-up emails. I don’t mind it and I do it, but that, “Hey, thanks for hearing me. I hope it was good,” really is essentially that message. When you’re reaching out manually, that’s a tricky process. How do you get that person’s email? Was it okay for you to get that person’s email? Are they a senior person? Is it considered good practice to be aggressive and advantageous, or are you going to rub somebody the wrong way, especially in the arts? And when those lines of communication are so fragmented, there is no standard, and so that means that sometimes the people who are most aggressive see the best return on investment, but sometimes also they piss somebody off. And maybe they don’t, and it results in a really nonlinear career advancement in a lot of cases, because someone will say, “The state of singing in the States, it’s gone downhill. Where are all the good singers?” They’re right here.
They’re just not being matched appropriately to jobs, and I think a lot of it is that nonlinear breakdown in communication. There’s no way to actually tell that narrative from, “Hey, here’s where I’m at in my training,” to, “This is the job I got. It denotes that I’m appropriate for this. I know these people. You can vet me.” That’s another big part of it because the job application process is replicated so frequently, people who are hiring really want to de-risk singers because they want to know that they’re going to get on stage and not embarrass the company, or that they’re going to do a good job because they’re hiring so many people a year. So how do you de-risk them? You call other people that you know, and again, processes that are replicated manually right now.

Pat:
And for these productions that you’re quite literally selling tickets to and the public is attending, when you hire somebody, you have to hit the nail on the head. You can’t really make a bad hire because if you do, you just have to finish out that particular production, right? You have to run it through to the end, and it just may not be successful.

Jennie:
Yup. It’s either not going to be successful or you’re going to shoulder the negative financial repercussions of saying, “Okay, I saw this person’s video. They sounded beautiful. They showed up completely unprepared. So we either have to pay a coach to get them through this entire role knowing that it still probably won’t be super successful. We have to fire them, which means we still have to pay out their contract, which can be really expensive per night. We have to find somebody else who’s all of a sudden available in two months, even though we booked the original person two to three years ago.” So, if you make a mistake, it is pretty risky. But on the flip side, for the singers, that means that if you don’t have some way to show people that you are not a risk, you are disproportionately damned, regardless of your skillset.

Pat:
So, Stagetime is a way to be able to replicate the process of references or referrals without actually having to know specific people in the industry. So if you’re trying to advance your career and you’re brand new, you’re by definition, if you’re new, you’re not going to know everybody. And Stagetime is a way to level the playing field a bit. Is that fair?

Jennie:
In a big way. That’s one extreme on the platform of somebody who’s brand new and doesn’t know anybody. But there are a lot of people, and I mean this is where these are my very individual, specific, honest pain points. I, on my resume, would have a list of notable teachers, coaches, directors, conductors that I’ve worked with. Those go at the bottom of a resume in columns and in lists. So the person who might sing my praises and might be the most prominent in the industry is at the bottom of that page. And I have to hope that, A) they remember what we worked on together, because even though we might’ve had a great working relationship, it could have been for a three week project.

I have to hope that the person reading my resume knows them and wants to call them, and has their contact info. As opposed to the vision for Stagetime: they can see, “Oh, look, our mutual collaborators are… It’s Kevin. Kevin’s great. Let me give him a quick call. Oh yeah. Jennie’s great. She’s hired.” And it can be that simple in the industry, but again, so many touch points lost right now.

Pat:
Gotcha. If this is a social network, most social networks like LinkedIn or Instagram or Facebook, they rely on advertising. Does Stagetime rely on advertising or is there going to be another way to be able to generate revenue?

Jennie:
Right now, no. So LinkedIn is a great comparison just to think about the actual function and the problem solved within the industry. But for these individuals, for not replacing a LinkedIn premium cost, we are replacing the cost of shouldering unique design. So it’s going to be a subscription model and we’re just looking at all the costs we’re mitigating and how long those costs are serving people currently, and then working backwards from there, breaking it down into, “Okay, if you commit to us for a month at this price point, even if you’re with us for 10 years, you’re going to come in under the value of custom web work.”

Pat:
The cost for custom web work are a web designer’s time, right? Wix or what? WordPress or something like that, the hosting platform, and then monthly maintenance, is that right?

Jennie:
Yup. So currently the upfront development and design or whatever for my clients can be anywhere from two to four to five K, depending upon the scope of work. From there, all of my clients pay pretty much a minimum of a hundred bucks a month to maintain that design, just because it was custom enough and they were unskilled enough that that was the solution. Then on top of that, they’re the ones shouldering the CMS itself, the cost of Wix or Squarespace, even if they’re not working with me. And then, of course, purchasing, registering and hosting that domain somewhere. So those costs add up pretty significantly month over month. And then when you factor in the upfront costs and when you think about the fact that we’re going to charge $30 a month for Stagetime to solve all the same problems as those custom websites, but they’re actually going to be essentially distributed for you, because right now if you outsource the website, you get it all done. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world and you can afford it, fine, but you still have to distribute it.

Pat:
Right. You still have to market it.

Jennie:
Yeah.

Pat:
Which they’re not marketers and they’re literally singing all day. So that’s not their skillset.

Jennie:
Yeah. And when they try it, it’s bad. And I think there are a lot of negative repercussions to that self-promotion. I mean, nobody really likes self-promoting. So, if we can solve all of those problems, then yes, I think $30 a month is viable and then incorporating a custom domain would be an upgrade option.

Pat:
Excellent. So my last question is, as you’re going through this process of building Stagetime, you’ve done a lot of customer interviews. What do you think is the single biggest thing additionally that you could do to make sure you have product-market fit or that you don’t have blind spots as you’re going into this? Not a new market, but it’s a new product for your existing market.

Jennie:
Yeah. Well, I think, with the idea of a social network or a professional network or any new venture, it’s really easy to get really excited and want to go down the feature or tool rabbit hole. And there have been a lot of different conversations that have felt like fantastic features or fantastic tools, but not the meat and bones of the product. So right now I’m reading a great book called Designing The Obvious and it’s too long to read. It’s about designing the obvious. So I’m trying to stay really focused on solving the problem that I’ve been solving, just on a larger scale, because, as fun as it would be down the road to have a job board or transactions or really specific references or vetting processes, right now these people are so desperate just to pick up a little bit of real estate on the internet and do so in a really beautiful way, that my main focus is solving just that problem to drive value to the network.
And then beyond that, great, we’ll listen to what they say and build things out from there. But I’m not going to waste my time trying to pin down those features knowing that they’re really desperate for this initial piece, and I’m going to make that as beautiful as possible.

Pat:
So that initial pull from the market you feel is so big that you really want to focus on solving that pain in spite of, here’s maybe some other things that we would like, but you feel like, “Hey, just make sure we solve this pain first and foremost,” is the right way to build the company versus, “Hey, let me just make sure I solve all their pains all at once.”

Jennie:
Yeah. And I will say the other big thing that I know I’m doing right off the bat is appealing to, sorry, their egos because I have seen every single time I do a website, when I take a singer’s headshot and I put their name in a beautiful font and I put it in the right color and I show them that first mockup of here’s your landing page, they lose it. They’re like, “You’re the designer of a generation.”

Pat:
You are wonderful. Thank you so much for making me look great.

Jennie:
Exactly. And I’m like, “Well, thank you. That’s a picture of you. I’m glad you like yourself.” So focusing on how to appeal to that sense of the artist, I think it’s also going to be really important. So looking at how much… For instance, if they go out and get head shots taken, those are going to cost anywhere from five or six hundred to two grand, dependent upon the scope of what they need them for and the photographer they work with, and the licensing rights and where they can put it, and that sort of thing. So they’re taking all of this media and giving them a place to put that investment in a way that makes them go from being a desperate singer to feeling like an artistic entity. I think that’s the biggest thing I can do to find product-market fit, is to make that experience feel that way to them.

Pat:
Excellent. That’s super smart. That does it for our interview today on Like a Glove, the start-up podcast about product-market fit. Jennie, thank you so much for being on. Where can we find you online if folks want to get in touch with you?

Jennie:
Right now, I would tell you to go to Stagetimearts.com that actually has some product mock-ups that I’m really excited about because again, it’s a really visual thing, so I can talk about it all day long, but seeing it makes a lot of sense. Other than that, jenniemoserdesign.com.

Pat:
Excellent. Thank you so much.

Jennie:
Thank you, Pat.

Pat:
Like a Glove is a production of The Mill of coworking and business incubator space in Bloomington, Indiana. Our mission is to launch and accelerate high potential companies, and our vision is to become the center of coworking and entrepreneurship in Indiana. You can learn more about The Mill at dimensionmill.org. Thanks for listening and be sure to check back every other Monday for new episodes.

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