Brainstorming the 10-star product experience
One of a number of brainstorming sessions, we spent an hour dreaming up what it would mean for us to have a 10-star experience in different areas of our product.
This idea comes from Brian Chesky at Airbnb. He explains in this piece:
At Airbnb, we strive to have our customers contact the company and demand a 6th star be added to our 5 star review because the experience was so good. Here’s how we think about service past 5 stars:
5 star service — You leave the airport, go to the Airbnb, your hosts are in the house, they let you in. This is 5 star. Worse than this is if your host is late (4 star) and the worst is if your host never showed up (1 star).
6 star service — All of the above + your host picks you up at the airport.
7 star service — All of the above + there is a limo waiting for you at the airport and inside the limo are your favorite chips and coconut water.
8 star service — There is a giant parade when you arrive at the airport and you are honored for coming.
9 star service — The moment you step off the plane there is 5,000 screaming fans holding signs for your arrive — we call this the Beatles check-in.
10 star — I could go all the way up to 30 stars — I won’t, but 10 stars would be when you arrive and a Tesla with your name on it is waiting for you and in the car the driver is Elon Musk, and instead of your Airbnb Elon, takes you to outer space.
So we split into three groups, and each group focused on a different area of the product experience. One was pre-course and onboarding; another was the experience during the course; and the third was the post-course and alumni experience.
This was a great exercise in getting out of our usual way of thinking about product improvements. It’s natural to stay focused on things that are already on the roadmap, but that can quickly mean losing sight of the bigger picture.
This no-limits 10-star brainstorm reminded us that there are always opportunities to reappraise how we’re doing things, and to make big high-level changes to the experience if we know that those would be beneficial to the user.
Sharing our experiences of working remotely
We’re all working in different places and different ways, with different personal preferences for what life and work should mean. We’ve published more tips from the team in a separate post, but here’s a selection of quotes:
“One of the challenges of working autonomously and remotely is forcing yourself to switch off and stop working. Going to a coworking space helped me to set a hard start and stop time, which also made me more productive, because I knew that if I wanted to achieve a particular task, I’d need to get it done by my stop time.”
“I’ve been going to the same coffee shop for 5 years, 9-to-5. It works really well for me.”
“I meditate first thing in the morning. It’s also top of the list each day in my bullet journal, so I can start each day by ticking something off, and that’s the beginning of feeling productive.”
“If you’re travelling and staying in Airbnbs, it’s important that they have good wifi and a good desk. Without that, you can quickly get stuck and stressed.”
“I underestimated the language barrier moving to a new country. Without making an effort to learn the language, you can find yourself feeling isolated.”
“Have a backup phone and a backup SIM card. My phone broke while I was travelling and for a few days I was stuck.”
“Working Eastern hours while living in Europe can be draining. In Spain, I had to be proactive with my time in the morning. I really switched up how I was doing my life priorities because of siesta (when everything is closed). It’s also about learning to flex your normal way of being to work with the culture you’re in.”
After the retreat...
After the retreat proper, seven of us went together to Glacier Basin Campground, and spent two days relaxing and exploring the Rocky Mountains. Pro-level campfires (thanks to the fire-building skills of Renee, our Alaskan camping connoisseur) allowed us to serve up delicious burgers and corn-on-the-cob.
We also headed off for a hike (in torrential rain) towards Bear Lake, followed up by delicious New York-style pizza at Antonio’s. All in all, it made for an excellent week of team-building and alignment on our shared goals for work and life.
Heading to Glacier Basin! Photo: Teresa.
Still heading to Glacier Basin. Photo: Teresa.
Setting up the tents. Only one of them blew away. Photo: Andrew.
We saw this blurry guy/gal! Photo: Teresa.
Mandatory “we’re going hiking” shot. Photo: Andrew.
The hike was beautiful, in spite of the rain. Photo: Teresa with Austin’s camera, maybe?
Some nearby Dutch people took our photo on the hike. Photo: Nearby Dutch people.
Post-hike pizza. Antonio’s was amazing! Photo: Andrew.
Glacier Basin gave us some moody weather. Photo: Andrew.
Renee had all the skills! Photo: Teresa.
There was legitimate fireside chat. Photo: Andrew.
There was also a heart-shaped log. Photo: Andrew.
Sneak peeks of what we’re planning
We held a number of structured brainstorms at the retreat around how we could improve the product experience. We’re constantly gathering feedback from Designlab users, which means that increasingly we know what we need to do—it’s just a case of finding the bandwidth to make all the improvements that are in our backlog.
Now that we’re back to our regular work routines, here are some sneak peeks of what we’ll be working on in the next few months...
One of the major outcomes of our retreat was to prioritize an overhaul of our Help Center. Thanks to whole-team collaboration, this project has already started and finished! You can read the launch post, in-depth case study, or just check out the Help Center itself.
In the months ahead, we’re going to be prioritising these enhancements:
- Better course onboarding, and even better ways to pair students and mentors
- Major updates to short course curriculums
- A revamp of the blog
We had ONE SHOT with the timer, because the airport shuttle was waiting. And yes, Harish’s eyes are closed.
Thanks for supporting Designlab. With your help, our aim is to continue changing creative education for the better—through affordable, rigorous, high-quality, mentor-led online courses.
We’re always open to feedback—if you have any thoughts about the plans shared in this post, feel free to take this 2-question survey!