Jack Dorsey: The Power of User Narratives | Summary and Q&A

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February 15, 2011
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Stanford eCorner
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Jack Dorsey: The Power of User Narratives

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Summary

In this video, the speaker discusses the importance of storytelling and user narratives in building a relevant and successful product. By putting oneself in the shoes of the users and writing a story from their perspective, the entire process of prioritization, product design, and coordination becomes much smoother. The speaker emphasizes the need for a cohesive and epic story that solves a big problem, while highlighting the efforts of Twitter and Square in driving towards this goal.

Questions & Answers

Q: How has becoming a better storyteller helped the speaker?

Becoming a better storyteller has been instrumental in the speaker's journey. It has helped them in building a relevant product and understanding the needs of the users from their perspective. By writing user narratives and creating a story that resonates with various stakeholders in the organization, prioritization, product design, and coordination become much more natural and effective.

Q: What is the significance of user narratives in building a successful product?

User narratives play a crucial role in building a successful product. They provide a detailed account of the user's experience, allowing the team to understand their needs and challenges better. By describing the experience like a play, the narrative becomes relatable to everyone in the organization, including engineers, designers, support, and business teams. It acts as a guide for prioritization, product decisions, and overall coordination.

Q: How does the speaker view the importance of the story in product development?

The speaker considers the story to be extremely important in product development. It serves as the foundation for all product-related decisions, design choices, and coordination efforts. By constantly considering the story and its elements, the team ensures that the product remains relevant and capable of solving a big problem. The speaker emphasizes the need for an epic and cohesive story that is compelling and resonates with the world.

Q: Why does the speaker prefer one epic story instead of short stories in product development?

The speaker believes that having one epic story is crucial for successful product development. Short stories may result in disjointed experiences and a lack of coherence. On the other hand, having one cohesive story allows for a unified approach and a better understanding of the product's purpose. It helps the team focus on solving a big problem and creates a stronger impact on the world.

Q: How do Twitter and Square align their efforts towards telling an epic story?

Both Twitter and Square share the goal of telling an epic story through their products. They strive to solve a big problem and make an impactful difference. By aligning their efforts towards this common objective, both companies ensure that their products have a similar narrative and purpose. This alignment allows for collaboration, synergy, and a unified vision across the teams.

Q: What challenges does the speaker face when constantly considering the story and adding new elements?

Constantly considering the story and introducing new elements can present challenges for the speaker. One challenge is ensuring that the new elements seamlessly fit into the existing narrative, maintaining its coherence. Additionally, the speaker may face difficulties in balancing the storytelling aspect with the technical and practical aspects of product development. Striking a balance between innovation and usability can be a complex yet essential task.

Q: How does the speaker define a relevant and successful product?

For the speaker, a relevant and successful product is one that effectively solves a significant problem. It is a product that addresses the needs of the users in a way that resonates with them. By understanding the users and their experiences through storytelling, the team can ensure that the product remains relevant, providing value and making a positive impact.

Q: How does storytelling assist in the coordination among different teams?

Storytelling serves as a bridge that connects different teams within an organization. By having a cohesive and relatable story, engineers, designers, support, and business teams can align their efforts towards a common goal. The story acts as a guiding framework, enabling effective coordination and collaboration. It allows all teams to understand and prioritize their tasks based on the user's experience described in the narrative.

Q: Why does the speaker emphasize constantly evolving the story?

The speaker emphasizes the need for constantly evolving the story to adapt to changing circumstances and new elements. This ensures that the product remains relevant and continues to solve the user's problem effectively. By regularly evaluating and adding new twists to the story, the team can stay ahead in their product development journey, catering to evolving user needs and market trends.

Q: How does the speaker perceive the journey of solving a big problem?

The speaker perceives the journey of solving a big problem as meaningful and impactful. By focusing on a significant problem, the team aims to create a product that makes a difference in people's lives. It is a journey driven by a desire to build something that addresses a critical need and leaves a lasting impact. Such a journey requires constant improvement, collaboration, and the dedication of the entire organization.

Takeaways

In building a relevant and successful product, the power of storytelling and user narratives cannot be underestimated. By putting themselves in the shoes of the users and crafting a story that resonates with various stakeholders, the team can align their efforts and make informed decisions. A cohesive and epic story, aimed at solving a big problem, becomes the guiding framework for prioritization, product design, and coordination. It allows for effective collaboration among different teams, ensuring a unified vision. Constantly evolving the story and considering new elements ensures the product remains relevant and capable of making a meaningful impact in the world.

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