Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Today I had a chat with the founder of an early-stage company. He’s done discovery and built an MVP. People are using his mobile app, but he’s noticed something odd. Users are telling him one thing, but in the app they’re doing something different. The founder has been leaning into what users have said they want, but the features built to satisfy them haven’t resonated with them. He’s frustrated.

Building a company that sold products to consumers taught me something: for many reasons, consumers don’t always say what they mean. Sometimes they act without thinking about or understanding what’s driving them. They don’t have clarity on their motives, so it’s not realistic to expect them to clearly articulate them to me.

When I found myself in situations where consumer actions and words didn’t align, I followed a simple rule: actions trump words. What people do is likely an accurate reflection of what they’re thinking or feeling, so lean into their actions. It’s easy to say something but not mean it—the energy and time required are minimal. It takes more energy to act. People usually act when they’re driven by a belief or feeling that warrants exerting energy.

I suggested that this founder consider diving deeper into what users are doing by asking clarifying questions about what’s driving their actions—I suspect something is. This may get the founder one step closer to product–market fit.