Following A Turtle's Path To Learn About Your Customers

by Anna Bliss | at Minnebar 15

A turtle race is a simple thing: pick a turtle, put it on the starting line, let it go. Turtles, though, have their own way of doing things and not all of them cross the finish line. Our customers can be much the same: we put them on the starting line, but their journey to the finish may not follow the path we expect – and there is a lot we can learn if we pay attention to our turtles…er…customers.

The turtle race follows a simple formula: pay your race entry fee, wait for your heat to be called, pick a turtle, carry it in its bucket of water to the race starting line, set it on the line when the race caller says, “Go!” and hope your turtle goes. Forward. In a mostly straight line. Much like a turtle race, we expect our customers to understand that by providing them with a nice bucket of water for travel, the freedom to Go! (hopefully forward), they will get to the finish line. Like those turtles, though, customers sometimes veer left or pull into their shells. Once we give them our product, our app, they may not use it the way we expect them to – so how can we learn from those turtles and customers who go their own way? Are there ways to think differently about your race track and provide a good experience for all of your racers? Through watching a turtle race in action, and walking through some examples of where customers behaved just like the turtles in the race, we can all learn to see the opportunities provided by watching the turtles who didn’t cross the finish line.

All levels

Anna Bliss

Anna Bliss is a Product Manager, podcaster, and community leader. Anna has worked in the tech arena for 15 years taking a circuitous route to product management with roles ranging from business analyst to technical writer to project coordinator. These varied roles, along with some entirely unrelated to software development (such as theatrical scenic design) have built up a unique skill set that she wasn’t entirely sure how to integrate until she stumbled on product management. A liberal arts major at heart, Anna loves the interdisciplinary nature of the technology world. She is co-founder of the Twin Cities Product Community and co-host of the Women in Tech Twin Cities podcast.


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