Lean Startup – How to Not Lose Your Hair

Tan Hat Toupees

I recently changed the language setting on my Facebook account to “Pirate”.  That might be why I like the Startup Metrics for Pirates – “AARRR!” by Dave McClure.  Its a real thing, evidently, and it stands for Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue (so is the Pirate language setting on Facebook a real thing, by the way).  

At a MeetUp group I went to last month we were practicing developing AARRR techniques for startup ideas.  First of course, we had to come up with a StartUp idea.  Easy!  First brainstorm a list of colors.  Then brainstorm a list of random nouns.  Then a list of random categories of people.  Then brainstorm a list of random problems that people might have.  Combine a color with a noun.  BOOM!  You’ve got your new company name (‘Tan Hats’).   Select a category of people randomly – ‘Bankers’.  BOOM again!  A problem to solve? ‘Baldness’.  BOOM!

Put all these together into a Value Proposition:  “Tan Hats helps aging, balding bankers to feel less inadequate by providing them with custom-fit Donald Trump toupees” BOOM!

Now construct the AARRR strategy for our MVP prototype:

  1. ACQUISITION – go to where the market is – high-end, custom tailor shops.  Attach a cut-out picture of Donald Trump’s hairstyle at head-height onto the changing room mirrors, so that our target audience (bankers being fit for a new suit) can see their reflection, with Donald’s hair. BOOM!
  2. ACTIVATION – on the order for the suit, have the tailor add a small opt-out clause, if the patron does NOT want to receive marketing information about toupees (by default they are opted in).  Also, collect their email address, of course.  BOOM!
  3. RETENTION – every month email out a marketing piece featuring pictures of Donald Trump, powerful people wearing Donald Trump toupees, and special offers.  BOOM!
  4. REFERRAL – engine of growth will be a side effect of product usage – people seeing their colleagues using our product.  BOOM!
  5. REVENUE – in order to gauge initial interest, before we invest in actually licensing and creating the toupees, we will sell the introductory offer that you see above – LinkedIn Profile pictures of you wearing one of our toupees.  BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

Paul Osborn

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