Sep 20, 2011

Will your customers bite? The Dogpark Test.


When you think a customer group will have a specific problem that's painful enough that they're already looking for a solution, you can validate that through Customer Development interviews. When you need prospects to see it to get it, lightweight paper prototypes can help you learn and evolve quickly. But what about the middle ground when the customer problem/pain isn't super strong, and showing paper prototypes won't tell you if they'll really use the thing?

Christian Blunden's (@christianralph) team at Lean Startup Machine London had an idea for a social network for reconnecting dog owners who meet while walking their dogs. The crucial thing to test was if dog owners would bite. So they put up poster for a website that didn't exist, to see if people would tear off the contact information to check later.

A great example of working out your MVP - your Minimum Viable Product! This quickly tested the riskiest part of their idea, whether people care enough to even check it out. And it test real customer behaviour - what they do, not what they say they'll do. Nice one!

Posted via email from I'm Sal

What am I up to these days?

I’m a new parent, and prioritising my attention on our new rhythms as a family. I’m also having fun with slow creative pursuits: making a few apps, writing, etc.

Work-wise, I’m trekking along at a cozy pace, with a few non-exec, advisory roles for cryptography and microchip manufacturing programs.

In the past, I've designed peer-learning programs for Oxford, UCL, Techstars, Microsoft Ventures, The Royal Academy Of Engineering, and Kernel, careering from startups to humanitech and engineering. I also played a role in starting the Lean Startup methodology, and the European startup ecosystem. You can read about this here.

Contact me

Books & collected practices

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