Founder-centric workshop notes /by @maxua
Lately, I’ve been doing one-day workshops, based on the Foundation Skills day at Founder-Centric, with different accelerators around Europe. The goal of this day is to teach the principles behind Lean, Lean Startup and Business Model Generation, with a particular focus on practical application and “gotchas” for startups.
Max, founder of DOU, participated at Startup Wiseguys in Estonia, and shared his notes from the day. Thanks Max!
From Max’s blog:
Choose biz models that are faster to validate, even if it is not the “best”
clay christensen 9/10 fail. “jobs” approach. “You hire a product to …”
market pull. if there is hesitation – keep looking. that’s the stage you can test. when you start scaling you’re committed
“fail fast” = learn. everything you do must help you to get closer to ultimiate business
what is the fastest way to invalidate my hypothesis?
- have the problem
- know they have a problem
- have budget to solve the problem
- tried to solve it themselves
- [tweetable hashtag="#bmgen"]Choose your customer. You are NOT Evernote yet. Find your very specific niche you can saturate and show traction.
- Commitment. It’s a good thing until it’s a bad thing. Have commitment about your vision but allow million variations in terms how you get there.
- Vague customer definition.
- Multiple customer definitions.
- Clear definitions speed progress.
- Find early adopters & find specific value prop. Help to communicate and get in front of those people.
- [tweetable hashtag="#bmgen"]“One word” customer segments enable you to invalidate your ideas fast.
Part 3. Business model canvas
- [tweetable hashtag="#bmgen"]What do I test? You can’t test everything. Local maxima problem.
- Starting point matters.
- Being able to see all the different possibilities to choose a starting point (business model).
- [tweetable hashtag="#bmgen"]Really great product is not enough. You have to build a business model to support the product.
- [tweetable hashtag="#bmgen"]Architects prototype so they don't get attached to bad ideas. There is a infinite number of b.model canvases.
- Mckinsey proved funnels is wrong. What matters is timing when asking your customer to pay.
- Snapshots and navigating a space.
- Four actions framework: remove, reduce, increase, broad.
- Take away something you think you need.
- 5 rev. streams means 0 rev streams.
- Learning is progress. Data is a tool.
- We look for data that validates what we believe. “Torture the data long enough and it tell you everything”.
- [tweetable hashtag="#custdev"]If this problem really crucial, I’ll find 5 people spending money to solve it now.
- Get interviewing – 3 poor interviews is much better than 1 very good one. [because you can learn and adapt your interview approach faster by actually DOING the interviews sooner. - Sal]
- [tweetable hashtag="#leanstartup"]What's the thing the really worries me? Now what do I need to build to test it?
- MVP: incremental or piece by piece. Start with a riskiest part.
- Growth engines
- sticky. subscription, marketplace. Are my customers coming back?
- paid acqusition. transactional biz.
- MVP. [tweetable hashtag="#leanstartup"]Action is not intent. Test actual customer behaviour, rather than asking them to state their intentions.
- Landing page, Paper prototype, customer interviews.
- Kickstarter, Dropbox video.
- Holistic approach – look at the ultimate number that makes sense for the business as a whole.
It’s interesting to see how things get interpreted. Sometimes what seem like quick points to me really resonated. I also thought of this as a kind of guide to Lean Startup and related thinking, trying to communicate the context in which a lot of Lean Startup leaders operate, but realise from this that I’m contributing more than just a guide. Seems that it will be useful to expand on some of the quick points I made that didn’t come from the regular suspects.
If you find this useful, please let me know. And also check out Founder-centric, which I’m running with Rob Fitzpatrick.
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.