I'm Salim Virani. I used to design peer learning programs, and these days I'm having fun building stuff.
When it comes to business models, a lot of founders tend to copy blindly. It used to be SaaS and Freemium, now it’s marketplace and co-creation. Yet the business model itself is usually a key innovation and unhooks the potential of the product. Look at Hail-O, Votizen, Dropbox, Zynga, AirBnB, Kickstarter…
For example, last year with Leancamp, I was busily gearing up to run conferences around Europe, not realising my model was unlikely to be as profitable as I thought. [tweetable hashtag=”#bmgen”]One hour of exploring options saved me at least 4 months of slogging, and showed me a better way forward. In other cases, I’ve seen founders miss the crucial information their customers were saying, because it didn’t fit with their current idea of their business model. By the time they pivoted it was too late, that information wasn’t available any more.
“If you freeze an idea too quickly, you fall in love with it. If you refine it too quickly, you become attached to it and it becomes very hard to keep exploring, to keep looking for better. The crudeness of the early models in particular is very deliberate.” - Jim Glyph of Gehry Partners.This is why we teach business model proficiency at Founder-Centric, and prototyping in particular.
[tweetable hashtag=”#bmgen”]Trigger questions are a lightweight way to prevent visionary tenacity from becoming fatal blindness. They are a business model prototyping exercise that quickly put your best options right in front you, so you’re able to spot, test and act on the right opportunities. [tweetable hashtag=”#bmgen”]Iterating business models spots failure faster; prototyping helps recognise better options sooner. After using trigger questions for the first time, founders are keen to explore more on their own, and always ask for my list of trigger questions.
What mentors have given you good advice? Can they be turned into questions to help others? Add them to the list for us all to use!
I’m working on a communication tool for loose community groups and unconference-style interactions. It focuses on individual autonomy rather than top-down coordination.
I recently became a Kernel fellow, where I was exploring models for self-directing communities of care, the history of economic cultural norms, and the connection between mimicry, memes and our sense of belonging.
In the past, I designed peer learning programs for Oxford, UCL, Techstars, Microsoft Ventures and The Royal Academy Of Engineering. I also played a role in creating the Lean Startup methodology, and the European startup ecosystem. You can read about this here.
Choose happiness (2021)
Emotional Vocabulary (2020)
Project portfolios (2020)
The history Of Lean Startup (2016)
Entrepreneurship is craft (2014)