Case Convincing : You’ve Got To Explain Your Idea!

Before I pour upon my readers with the series of well-researched blog posts lined up, there is one important thing I needed to write about. Many a times it happens that you’re on your way of doing one thing but something else comes in the way that you can’t help thinking about.

One similar case was mine when I found myself struggling with the proper words to convince a person on the receiving end.

Scenario – As a product designer, I’m working on a cinematography equipment for smartphones. There is this guy, junior to me, who is equally interested in entreprenuership and startups. He has got experience of various hackathons & wants to work on novel ideas himself.

He is also my fellow co-intern. So one day while coming back from the work, we got into talking about new exciting products we could work on. I told him about this idea as I was already working on it. But somewhere he didn’t seem to agree much and I wanted to convince him to believe in the market value of my product.

How I got the idea and what stage is it in?

As a cinematography enthusiast, I am always looking for the ways to capture moments around me in beautiful ways – ones like you see in movies. From different angles, different exposure timing, lighting, perspective, etc. and weave them later into so-called videos.

Here is the one for start, showing our prototype building phase (just the workshop activities! :P) –

The entire movie is shot on my Redmi 2 Prime and uses a bit of YouTube video stabilization mechanism weaved together with Google Photos ‘Auto Awesome Videos‘ algorithm.

When I don’t have a DSLR camera with me (most of the time, I don’t), which I usually borrow from the Photography Club, I primarily use my smartphone to capture the scenes instead of suppressing my will to not shoot altogether.

I would be writing detailed technical descriptions of my prototype (yeah I’ve a crude one) in my techblog soon but for the reference, that’s where I realized I needed a smartphone mounting device which would bring steadiness to the videos and also I could shoot in whatever way I want.

Before I started working on this, I had done some market research regarding available products and the professional movies that has been shot on iPhone. I realized that this concept has started gaining momentum in recent years itself and companies are working to develop a range of such equipments.

It was nothing statistical in my research and I was only being supported through qualitative arguments. I didn’t have consolidated data in chunks of number or beautiful graphs either.

Nonetheless I believe the communicator should have the power to convince whose major part lies in his/her words.

I noted down few points in my notebook as they keep striking me which I would write here –

  • Convincing about idea – It’s your idea and you only know how much you’ve worked on it, before even pitching it even to your closest friend. You’re passionate about it and ready to work tirelessly to bring it to reality – that’s great!

But don’t get overly attached to it. Don’t develop the obsessiveness, for it would hamper your rational thinkingThe person whom you are convincing may or may not be as enthusiastic as you at first. You need to understand that and form your words not to weigh much on just motivation.

  • The art of persuasion – A cliché point but indeed useful. Do I have something fresh to add? Let’s see. For satisfactory convincing, you need to transfer the vision you have to other person. The visualization of something that still dwells in your mind like Elon Musk talks about in this video –

If we don’t do this, we’re in grave problem. That’s why I have to do this!

That’s what we do in writing as well. We infuse our perception over the readers and persuade them to thing about the contents analytically. To make them understand that whatever is written are not mere random ramblings but realized through personal experiences.

  • Keeping it within your domain – If you’re a science student, don’t go about giving example of economic crisis and how your revolutionary idea could ultimately turn that around – surely not in the beginning itself! You don’t have the required knowledge for it. Reading few articles of what the reasons are and where did experts go wrong, won’t render you expert about the nitty-gritties of the situation.

Having knowledge about diverse things is good and they may find their place to consolidate your arguments but the real power resides in field examples which the conversation deals with and this leads to my next point.

  • Domain expertise – I remember the conversation I once had with my junior from Computer Science Dept. Being a startup enthusiast, he was working on an E-Commerce product.  The idea didn’t seem to be apparent to a novice like selling commodities online or doing big data analytics but rather pertained to in-depth knowledge of marketing.

I asked –  “how did you get the idea for this, not having dealt with such problem at individual level yourself”?

Then he told me about the concept of ‘domain expertise‘ and how he has a marketing guy & other networks on board. Though I have realized it earlier myself but now I had a keyword. Also it was more about ‘domain knowledge‘ than being ‘domain expert‘ to conceive an idea.

convincing.PNG

Instill your craziness in the crowd

  • Show me the stats – This would probably be the only technical point I’m mentioning and that I think holds critical to the subject of my post. One of the very first things that my junior asked for (irrespective of whatever I tell him otherwise) was to show him the data –
    • What % of people are likely to be interested in cinematography?
    • Among them, how many are likely to consider our product?
    • Why wouldn’t a professional cinematographer go for DSLR or other expensive yet better equipments?
    • Why wouldn’t SMEs (Small & Medium Scale Enterprises) or common people hire a professional to do their job in much better and sophisticated way rather than handling it themselves?
    • How likely is your product to perform good in the market where professional companies have already realized its need and started working for it?

There could be tens and hundreds of such questions. So what’s the fool-proof way to dodge them? Have numbers with you. Do some statistical market research, perform surveys, take opinions over small sample space, perform the magic of excel functions to extract information from raw data.

Also ping mostly into the interested community to gain better perspective (like a film school or college’s cinematography club in my case).

  • Keep the groundwork at your disposal – Lets take it with a pinch of salt. With thousands of ideas floating around and numerous others which no one is ready to perceive in fear of being outdated, your groundwork is the firm base for convincing job.

It also shows how much you believe in your own idea and how far you’re ready to go for it. When you’ve sustained the initial building phase on your own, people would be willing to join in your effort.

I’m very fond of Elon Musk in such matter as well. I remember when he released the Tesla Powerwall, I was gripped for the whole keynote session. Prior to that I had not heard much about his idea. He came open to the public with a disruptive product in hand. He didn’t just flaunted with futuristic possibility of his idea but rather demonstrated it then and there.

  • Your confidence and belief – Every intended action of suggestion has a bottom line and so does this blog post. Also it’s customary to say ‘last but not the least‘, this is the one that rules them all. Have confidence in whatever you intend to do. Let the people call you crazy for they don’t have the vision you posses.

Also have belief in your methods. Learn from other’s experience and of course your own, read about things and improvise upon your techniques until its sufficiently efficient. Have belief in the team you work with. In fact, build your team in such way.

I know I’m not a proven entrepreneur yet but these are the lessons I’m learning on the path of becoming one. There are numerous thing that could branch out of this post and have their own illustrations but I wanted to focus on convincing part in this one and I hope I did it to a reasonable extent.

I’ve provided the embedded links wherever I thought was necessary for further reading. If you have ever found yourself in similar situation, I hope this post resonates with your experience and you get a better perspective on your moves through the contents of this post. Keep innovating! 🙂

Update – Apart from offline surveys, I think my readers could be of much help by providing their feedback. So if you found this post worthy, kindly take out 30 seconds of your time to complete the following survey –

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