Gauge is my framework for product storytelling. It's a short mnemonic to help a person remember the five key elements of their successful product, business, non-profit organization or career.
I learned the five elements from an investment banker while pitching a company for an IPO during the dot com boom. The bankers wanted to see: 1) a really big market, 2) an unfair competitive advantage, 3) a unique value proposition, 4) a business model that pays and 5) an ability to execute.
These factors came to be a foundational force for my own business thinking. First, the factors represented the foundation of a sustainable organization with a clear brand. Second, if a team could build these elements into a strategy from the beginning then it wouldn't need to make up a story when the time came to raise money.
So I created an acronym that would be easy to remember, for me and everyone who would learn to use it with me. The word was GAUGE, representing Gap, Advantage, Unique, Gain and Execution. Now I had a simple way to explain a complex idea to others.
It wasn't an exact one-to-one mapping though. The really big market was changed to reflect real opportunity of any size, in the form of a market gap. And gain replaced business model, which allowed for non-profit corporations and individuals with specific goals in mind to gain just as much as those seeking profits.
The changes turned out to be a huge blessing. Now, the five factors could be used beyond raising money for an insane growth company. They could be used by anyone in an economic pursuit. I now use GAUGE in a number of areas, and continue to find new applications. This expanding list shows you just a few of the best ones.
Company Profile - The Five GAUGE Questions
Strategy Elicitation - The Fifteen GAUGE Questions
Personal Profile - Fifteen Career-defining GAUGE Questions
Maturity Score - Project scoring on a objective ten point scale