Product Market Fit:
Try something, measure it. If it works, do more of it.
Diane Bloodworth is a seasoned entrepreneur with a track record in both corporate America and startups. BeyondMVP caught up with her to learn about her latest startup and on being a woman in a male-dominated industry in more ways done one.
I actually had the idea for Competitive Sports Analysis back in the late 80s when I was in an MBA class at the University of Miami and I got put into a class on entrepreneurship and paired with the star running back for their national championship team. And at that time I was working at IBM and we were doing some things with expert systems and I said “wouldn’t it be great if we could predict the opponent strategy and develop a game plan based on those predictions” and when we presented the business plan the students laughed at us.
I think we were a little ahead of our time. But CSA allows me to combine my background in technology and business with sports.
What it Takes to Make the First Sale
Product / Market Fit
Yeah definitely. In fact, the way this worked was I tried several years ago to provide a game planning product to coaches and I don’t think I did that customer discovery in a methodical way.
After I had gone out and talked to some of them, I did realize that they probably weren’t going to buy into it at that time. So I did a pivot and went after fantasy sports where the consumer was very interested in data and analytics, as well as fantasy news, and keeping up with any changes within the world of fantasy sports. And now the coaching has come full circle. They’re now more technology and data focused and they’re interested as well.
For all the startups out there that are facing a similar challenge, what’s your advice to them? How do they recognize that they need to pivot?
Don’t Fall in Love with Your Product
It’s tough because you kind of fall in love with your product and you have to really be objective about what’s working and what’s not.
Test, Measure, Repeat
You have to also determine if it’s time to shift a little or shift a lot. And the ways that I learned to do that are in objective ways by measuring. Try something, measure it. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t work, then we need to rethink this.
We’re doing a little bit of a pivot with our fantasy side with the data. We’re really looking at innovative ways to use that data and it took me longer than it should have to really come to realization that I needed to do that. I wish I would have done it a year ago. That would be my advice to entrepreneurs.
Let Your Advisory Keep You Accountable
Really be objective and measure and get outside advisers to keep you honest, keep you accountable. My advisory board has done a good job of that and they help me stay focus on what’s really going to get us success at the end of the day.
Of course I’m in the predictive analytics business, so I think there’s a lot of opportunity there. Some of the really cool things we’re seeing is clips on players so that you can break down every single move that they make and do analysis on that. I think there’s a huge opportunity with what we can do with this data. We’re looking at doing some really innovative things, like I said the bit of a recruit, we might take a step further and say look at all the players and then match up the team against the opponent and really be able to identify strengths and weaknesses based on that.
We’re also doing something fun on the fantasy side right now which is a sports ticker, and we’re putting a ticker tape, like a stock ticker, into our restaurants and sports bar and we’re doing it with Big Sky here in Buckhead as our first pilot starting this week actually, where the fantasy sports GM can go in and get their data right there in the restaurant to help them with their draft or set their roster. We think this is a really innovative way for the restaurant to advertise their specials and communicate and engage their customers.