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

I'm Salim Virani. I've been designing peer learning programs since 2009, and these days I'm also having fun building random stuff.

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.

What am I up to these days?

I’m working on a communication tool for community groups and unconferences. It focuses on autonomising focused teams rather than top-down coordination.

I’m on the Kernel Stewards team, where we help ~2,000 fellows understand the what the development of blockchains mean to humanity on anthropological scales, and how to use them altruistically and prudently.

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

Random 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