Morning Fuel Episode 2: Igniting Great Questions

Recommendation: Review the post, then watch the video.
Morning Fuel Episode 2
Igniting Great Questions (24:11)
with special guests:
Matt Fischer, Founder & Principal Consultant, AlignX9 Digital, a boutique growth marketing/technology agency that helps startups and small to mid-sized companies create sustainable, profitable growth. 
Rick Robinson, entrepreneur, instigator & VP at AARP Innovation Labs, where he works with startups and leads a team focused on rapidly developing new products for cross-generational audiences.
Throughout my career, I’ve had the good fortune of working with lots of smart people.
 
And what I enjoy most is the creative “tension” that gets created when asking really meaningful questions.
 
You may know what I mean.
 
It’s the kind of tension that’s there when you all respect one another.
 
By asking tons of great questions you challenge each other to be better and to come away with a better solution to a problem.
 
Or perhaps it’s to uncover unknown problems.
 
When I’m meeting with prospects and clients through The Rocket Factory, my goal is to always guide in the pursuit of “strategic truth.”
 
This may create a little bit of that underlying tension. There are some people that are uncomfortable with it. My goal with them is to first address the discomfort. Perhaps it’s the “elephant in the room” that needs to be addressed to move forward.
 
Others, they thrive on it.
 
And they want to be pushed to get to their truth. No matter the path, the result should be a better outcome for all!
 
With The Rocket Factory, there are questions that seem to always come up when someone is asking for help. The questions are not that groundbreaking, and they always seem to get a good conversation going.
 
While working through strategy for Mission Log, the blog portion of the site, I wrote a “pillar” piece of content called “Four simple questions to get from back of napkin to reality.” 
 
For early companies and even ones that have been at it for awhile, I have found these to be powerful strategic questions that can generate a lot of discussion.
 
Those four beginning questions are:
 
  1. What is the customer’s unmet need?
  2. Is there another company delivering against the unmet need? (aka Competition)
  3. If there are others delivering on a solution, how can you position yourself differently?
  4. How will you PROFITABLY make money?
Once I wrote the post, I knew at some point I’d want to formally revisit it and dive deeper.
 
And I thought back to a time when I worked with a group that really lived the “push and pull” of finding “strategic truth.”
 
Digital City/America Online PhiladelphiaBack in 1996, I joined Internet high-flyer America Online. It was there that I met two of my favorite people that I’ve had the honor working alongside – Matt Fischer and Rick Robinson.
 
The three of us met as part of the team that would go on to launch the local content channel in Philadelphia – known then as Digital City. We were part of the larger Digital City Inc. which was a joint venture between AOL and Tribune Media.
 
What we lacked in experience we filled in with instinct.
 
We didn’t know it as we were getting started, but we were embarking on what would become early-day foundation-building for the modern digital age. For each of us that work continues to this day.
 
What we also didn’t realize was that we were answering a version of the four questions every day.
 
Along with an awesome team of business development, sales, and content developers, with our individual strengths we pushed each other toward a common unified goal – to become the leader in local content anywhere on the planet.
PhillySports.comIn 1998 I left the company to form PhillySports.com, the first independent sports website in the US. Both Rick and Matt ultimately wound up in Dulles, VA at Digital City and AOL HQ for some very formidable years in tech. They each have gone on to have interesting careers in their own right.
 
While we have all kept in touch for the past 24 years, we have not been together in the same place for around 20 of those years.
 
It was only in the past week that we connected together over Zoom as I was forming the idea for this episode of Morning Fuel.
 
Both Matt and Rick have such unique perspectives in marketing, product development and technology that I thought it would be interesting for you to hear their take on asking the right questions to find “strategic truth.”
 
In this episode, we’ll share some stories that I genuinely hope you’ll find interesting.
 
The end result (I hope)  is that you’ll walk away with meaningful questions to ask yourself and your teams as you explore ways to continually adapt and change as we all evolve with the current business climate.
 
WATCH: Morning Fuel Episode 2: Igniting Great Questions
 
Todd Feldman
Founder & President, The Rocket Factory
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