I'm Salim Virani. I used to design peer learning programs, and these days I'm having fun building stuff.

5 Traits of Earlyvangelists, aka How to solve problems that pay.
Sep 23, 2011

While mentoring at Lean Startup Machine London, I covered one of the most fundamental concepts in Customer Development, the 5 characteristics on an Earlyvangelist, which Steve Blank covers in more detail in his book Four Steps To The Epiphany. Trevor grabbed me for a quick interview.

Early-Evangelists:

  • Have the problem you think they have
  • Knows they have the problem
  • Tried to solve the problem themselves
  • Looked for a solution themselves
  • Put budget behind solving the problem
Issues can happen when an entrepreneur finds someone who fits 3 or 4 of these traits but not all of them. The example Sal gives is when someone has everything except for the budget, you don’t want to invest the time and cost in building a solution if you will end up empty handed.

What am I up to these days?

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.

I did a few advisory gigs too - for Polygon, Limechain and Bankless on education and support programs.

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.

Projects

  • Cuppa - decentralised collaboration protocol (WIP)
  • Nonfungo - completely on-chain NFT sale notification bot for Discord. (Look ma! No Opensea API!)
  • Powerplays - real-time token launches

Books

  • Peer Learning Is - a broad look at peer learning around the world, and how to design peer learning to outperform traditional education
  • Mentor Impact - researched the practices used by the startup mentors that really make a difference

Collected practices

  • Source Institute - skunkworks I founded with open peer learning formats and ops guides, and our internal guide on decentralised teams
  • DAOistry - practices and mindsets that work in blockchain communities
  • Decision Hacks - early-stage startup decisions distilled