Building Startups and Minimum Viable Products (NDC2013)Presentation Transcript
@Ben_HallBen@BenHall.me.ukHacker in Residence at Cornershop / #1seedBuilding Startups and Minimum ViableProducts
@Ben_HallBen@BenHall.me.ukHacker in Residence at Cornershop / #1seedYou talk about it, we ship it.#craftsmanship
@Ben_HallBen@BenHall.me.ukHacker in Residence at Cornershop / #1seedLet’s make some money#craftsmanshipisdead
Who am I?• Hacker in Residence at Cornershop / #1seed– Meerkatalyst / MaydayHQ (Co-founder)– Swapit– 7digital– Red Gate Software• Multiple open source and side projects• @Ben_Hall or Ben@BenHall.me.uk
AgendaIdea Build Release
How I see the worldWith a bit of a rant, and variouslessons learned along the way
Validate / Invalidate a concept asfast as possible
Lean Startup?• Toyota production system• Toyota Way• W. Edwards Deming• Eric Reis made it mainstream
Not about being cheap
It’s good to fail, as long as youfail fast
But not so fast that it’simpossible to succeed
What happens if you don’t havean idea?Find a space, theme, problem thatyou personally find interesting
Redstar Ventures, Science Inc,Rocket Internet
CornershopTapsPoolInternal / External
BELIEVE IN THE VISIONWithout a core desire, you’ve already lost the game
People dont buy what you do;they buy why you do it.
Ideas to avoid / be aware of?• Market places / two sided markets– They do lead to digital transaction businesses ==most likely to hit $1b– Winning once is hard. Here you need to win twice.• Viral– Generally all about luck• Photo Sharing etc– Yawn!!! Be original.
Business Assumption ExerciseBusiness Assumptions ExerciseI believe that my customers have a need to________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.This need can be solved with________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.My initial customers will be_____________________________________________________________________The #1 value a client wants to get out of my service is:_____________________________________________________________________The client can also get these additional benefits:________________________________________________________ and______________________________________________________I will acquire the majority of my users/customers through______________________________________________ and________________________________________________Business Assumptions ExerciseI believe that my customers have a need to discover thebest online services to solve their problems.This need can be solved with recommending them newservices based on their existing tools and expressedproblems.My initial customers will be early adopters working in theLondon tech scene people who use 5-10 apps on a dailybasis and have signed up to over 100.The #1 value a client wants to get out of my service is:having a personalised recommendation service for apps.The client can also get these additional benefits: visualiseall the apps their currently subscribed too and curatedpages by thoughtleaders and social connections.I will acquire the majority of my users/customers throughexternal integrations with apps and word of month /SEO
Leave the buildingUnderstand potential customeracquisition approaches early
Speak to everyone!• Influencers• Users of competitor products• Potential new users• People in different verticals with similar businessmodels• Understand industry, customer segments• Test different value props, identify whichconnects best
Always discuss previous experiences.People are rubbish at predicting thefuture
Easy way to prove it’s a goodidea?Get them to pay for it.
LISTEN TO CUSTOMERS NOTADVISORS / VC
Naming & BrandingNaming is the hardest problemCan kill days and suck motivation
Create a brand with any name(Google)
Let the name create brand(AirBnB, YouPorn, PornTube)Pivots are harder
MEERKATALYST IS A RUBBISHNAME!
MissingUnicorns.comTechnical recruitment tool
CORNERSHOPInvesting in the name and the brand
Tag lines should be short andsweet
DON’T SAY YOU’REDISTRIBUTING OR INNOVATINGLAME!!! Only others can say that
CustDev can only get you so farShould have concept / vision clear inyour own head
What is a MVP?• Enhance Learning• Enable you to ask new questions beyond whatyou’ve asked before
Don’t turn into a developer!• This isn’t an exercise in learning newtechnologies.• It’s an exercise in building businesses• Don’t confuse the two.
Lesson learned fromMeerkatalystBuilt an over complex system when a shellscript would have done
Lesson learned from MaydayStopped the MVP, started scaling (technicalbackend), didn’t have product/market fit.Massive Fail
Avoid writing code if you can• Email first startups are cool!!• Sunrise (Just raised $2.2m, started as morningemail of your day’s schedule each day)• Mattermark
Speed of delivery is key• Beg, steal, borrow – just get it done!• Ability to lean• Should be based around your vision• BOA took too long… aim wasn’t to learn,missed a number of opportunities
LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO WRITEBORING STUFFDon’t reinvent the wheel
UI / Design• Bootstrap• Flat UI• ThemeForest + Wordpress• KISS!! Do you really need EmberJS, Backboneetc etc etc?
Personal collection of reusablecodeCopy and paste FTW!!!
Cult of the Software Craftsman• Code Quality is not a feature!• Do you really need 80% test coverage? Whatvalue is that actually adding?• Do you really need that abstraction? That IoC?That level of separation? That ability to scale?• Is that really going to change your world?
WHO CARES ABOUT CLEAN CODE IFTHERE ARE NO SALES!
IF DEVELOPERS WERE IMPACTED BYREVENUE THEN THEY WOULDN’TSPEND 10 DAYS WRITING CLEAN CODE
STOPPED DOING TDD A LONG TIMEAGOWrite tests / code / shell scripts to speed up feedback loop – not aboutlong-term.
BUT I ATTEMPT TO KEEP IT CLEAN
DON’T BE AFFAIRD TO THROWCODE AWAY
Facebook Rewrite ExampleMove fast and break things
Ideal Team SizeTeam SizeIdeally Three People
Identifying what’s required?• MVP needs to be a product you can learn frombut generally everything can be dropped.– If it doesn’t answer a question, does it need to bethere? If there is no question, then no.– Need X feature to be Y is generally incorrect.Other ways to solve the problem• Releasing and iterating at least every day
Fake it until you make it
Lesson learned fromRate it Slate itPrototyped FunctionalityTook 2-3 hours to go from a concept tolearning valuable insights
Release something that movesthe needle every dayZynga’s approach
But that won’t work in XYZenvironmentReally?!
Job done! If you build it they will comeMust be true, Hollywood said so
Find the people who believe what youbelieve• Early Adaptors• Early Evangelists• Will market the product for you.
Key factors• Metrics• Drive Traffic• Listen to your customers
Metrics• Collect everything• Visualise key data• Have key metrics that you want to track
User Metrics• Google Analytics• MixPanel• KissMetrics• Your own database is most valuable source.Use it!
AARRR• Pirate Metrics. The only ones that matter.• Application Level• Feature Level (less for investors, more forproduct managers)
Metrics became the tests• Ensure the system isworking as expected• Alerts when the systemstopped working outsideof normal bounds
Drive Traffic• PR (Hacker News, Techcrunch, The Next Web)• Newsletters (Own and others)• SEO – Inbound links• Blog (Own and others)• Tweet (MailChirp)• Email (MailChimp)• Influencers in the sector– Friends of Red Gate– Microsoft MVP programme
Paid Advertisement• 4 Hour Body tricks (Google Ad Words for title,in store hack for cover)
Speak to people using the product• Red Gate UX team• Watch, Listen, Learn• Introduce explicit touch points in theapplication for reaching out– Rate it Slate it inbox beta list• Do people want the feature?• Can we build a email list of people who are activelyengaging with the product
Quickly qualify a lead & call• Rapportive• Intercom• Drop off time is around 90% a day after theyused your product• Call them ASAP
A/B Tests?• Waste of time at the early stage.• Complex to configure, not enough traffic tomake them statistically significant.– Mayday A/B tests• Took ages to get data, could have just asked people
Be prepared to kill it!• Referly• Meerkatalyst• Mayday• Pivot.
Be public about failing
Summary• Stop playing with cool tech & start learning• Have a vision & execute it• Listen to customer over everyone else• Watch your metrics• Just get started!
To all the hackers, hustlers andhipsters – Good Luck!Ship stuff, change the world and havefun!Apparently it’s worth all the pain, stressand sleep nights
Thank you, please come again.@Ben_HallBen@BenHall.me.uk