When Astro Teller visited us last month…


Astro Teller is the guy in charge of Google “X”, their collection of “moonshot” project such as the driver-less car and Project Loon.


Google’s driver-less car, from the NYTimes article by John Markoff

Astro didn’t really visit us last month at Jana. In fact, while I’d love to meet him in person, he hasn’t yet been to our office as far as I know.

However, we did hold our periodic product planning “offsite,” and we used an exercise that is attributed to him. Here’s how it works.


Project Loon graphic from the HNGN article by Christopher Hutton

Close your eyes and imagine the worst thing that could possibly happen professionally. Maybe it’s a big competitor getting into your space, launching a product with some of the awesome things on your roadmap. Maybe it’s a regulatory change or something else outside your control that radically changes your strategy.

Whatever is it, imagine it’s just happened. Let that sink for a minute. Now open your eyes, and start talking about the things you could’ve / should’ve done to prepare for this moment.

Once you have that list, look at it, and ask yourself: should we do any of these things now?

This, of course, is a form of scenario planning. Have you found other forms of scenario planning more useful than others? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Scenario planning process in a Forbes article by Jay Ogilvy

Our teams found this exercise quite useful and insightful. So thank you, Astro, for helping 🙂 You’re totally welcome to visit our new office!

And, by the way, we’re hiring.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s