@twg
LEAN STARTUP LESSONS
(AND A LEAN CANVAS
EXPERIMENT)
Dominic Bortolussi
The Working Group
twg.ca
@twg
DOMINIC BORTOLUSSI
FOUNDER THE WORKING GROUP - 2002.
WEB AND MOBILE SOFTWARE CREATION
STARTUP ENTHUSIAST, MENTOR, ACT...
@twg
“This industry is a dying
giant”
(the news industry)
@twg
“We aren’t a news source, we
aren’t professional journalists,
and we don’t care.”
- Their ‘About’ page, Dec, 2013.
@twg
REVENUE HAS DECREASED
BY 13% ACROSS CANADA’S
NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY
OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS
(SOURCE: STATISTICS CANADA)
@twg
AND IT’S PREDICTED TO
DROP 20% BY 2017
(SOURCE: PWC GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT AND MEDIA OUTLOOK)
@twg
LAYOFFS AT THE NATIONAL
POST, GLOBE & MAIL,
TORONTO SUN, CBC…. THE
LIST GOES ON
@twg
Wait..
“This industry is a dying
giant”
What TV is doing to the movie industry.
- U.S. News & World Report (1958)
Yes...
@twg
EVERYTHING GETS DISRUPTED
@twg
NOBODY’S RUNNING OUT OF IDEAS
But we’ll want to identify the good ones.
@twg@twg #techraking
@twg@twg #techraking
@twg
HOW DO WE MAKE SURE
OUR IDEAS ARE GOOD?
AVOID
Front Porch Forum You???TSN
@twg #smwsmash
ABOUT US
“LIFE’S TOO SHORT
TO BUILD
SOMETHING
NOBODY WANTS.”
- @ASHMAURYA
@twg
The OLD WAY and
The NEW WAY
@twg
Lean Canvas: Your Startup Blueprint
@twg
Lean Canvas: Your Startup Blueprint
@twg #techraking
1. CUSTOMER SEGMENTS &
PROBLEM
• List the 3 biggest
problems your
customer has
• List existing
alternativ...
@twg #techraking
2. UNIQUE VALUE
PROPOSITION
• Single compelling
message stating your
difference and value.
• Target early...
@twg #techraking
3. SOLUTION
• Sketch out the top
features or
capabilities for each
problem
@twg #techraking
4. CHANNELS
• Channels are how
your business will
reach its customers
• They let people
know about your
p...
@twg #techraking
5. REVENUE STREAMS AND
COST STRUCTURE
• How will you make
money?
• How much money
do you need to
make?
@twg #techraking
6. KEY METRICS
• One or two key
activities that will
drive people to use
your product
• One or two key
ac...
@twg #techraking
7. UNFAIR ADVANTAGE
• Channels are how
your business will
reach its customers
• They let people
know abou...
@twg@twg #techraking
@twg #techraking
THEINFORMATION.COM
“IN A STARTUP NO
FACTS EXIST
INSIDE THE
BUILDING. ONLY
OPINIONS”
- @SGBLANK
@twg
Test the hypotheses of your Lean Canvas
Learn as much as you can about your
customers and their pain
Keep going until...
GET OUT OF
THE
BUILDING
DO
INTERVIEWS
(YOU MIGHT
HAVE DONE
THIS BEFORE)
@twg
Ask about their problems. “What is the
hardest part about _____.”
Learn about their pain, and what they
currently do ...
@twg
Tell your customers your value prop and
solution details. Present something.
How are they solving it today? Is this
b...
@twg
THEN WHAT?
Repeat, interview, and fine tune your Solution.
Do this until you feel ready to create your ‘Minimum
Viabl...
@twg
Steve Blank - The friendly ‘Godfather’ of Lean
TWG STARTUP ACADEMY - LEAN
CANVAS
@twg
CUSTOMER - STARTUPS
Early Stage Software Startups - developing and
testing their MVP.
Have 25K+ now to allocate to de...
@twg
PROBLEM - STARTUPS
Software production - need to iterate their MVP on
the web, or in mobile.
Hiring - need to find ta...
@twg
UVP - STARTUPS
Augment your Startup with an investment from Canada’s top
designers and developers.
Work with an inves...
@twg
SOLUTION - STARTUPS
A partner who invests by delivering on the design, coding,
and testing for your MVP
A partner who...
@twg
CHANNELS - STARTUPS
Funding Roadshows
Accelerators - MaRS, Extreme Startups, IdeaLab,
General Assembly
Startup Weeken...
@twg
REVENUE - STARTUPS
Average early stage VC’s have .300 ‘winners’ batting
average
Average early VC’s stage aim for over...
@twg
CUSTOMER - INVESTORS
Angels,
Looking at technology startups,
100K+ to invest
@twg
PROBLEM - INVESTORS
Inexperienced teams (technology, business,
marketing).
Product needs to still be validated
Unknow...
@twg
UVP - INVESTORS
De-risk your investment in Startups with a Partner
investment from one of Canada’s top software desig...
@twg
SOLUTION - INVESTORS
A partner who can help the Startup validate their MVP.
A partner who can teach best practices in...
@twg
CHANNELS - INVESTORS
Funding Roadshows
Accelerators - MaRS, Extreme Startups, IdeaLab,
General Assembly
Startup Weeke...
@twg
TWG ACADEMY ALUMNI
Shoplocket - Acquired 2014
Greengage ((now Nudge) - Active, Funded, Scaling
The OMX - Active, Fund...
@twg
WE’RE EXCITED TO WORK
WITH YOU.
Email: dom@twg.ca
Ping: @dombort
Dominic Bortolussi's Lean startup lessons
Dominic Bortolussi's Lean startup lessons
Dominic Bortolussi's Lean startup lessons
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Dominic Bortolussi's Lean startup lessons

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What are important things to consider when trying to run a lean startup? Dominic Bortolussi, founder of The Working Group, shares his strategy in a slide show presented during the 2014 Funding Roadshow.

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  • I run a web and mobile software development company.
    Software in the hands of innovators
    Emissary from the tech world, to help with a problem that everyone is talking about.
    Problem: The News business is being disrupted.
    Tool or methodology you might be able to use to solve it - Lean Startup Methodology.
    Got Fired
    Began TWG with the help of a close friend who was a struggling journalist.
    Paul McGrath who now works at the CBC.
    Full circle.
  • Viralnova ISN’T A NEWS SOURCE. THEY AREN’T PROFESSIONAL JOURNALIST but they’re capturing people’s attention.
    With a team of 50, Upworthy ...
    Huffington Post and Forbes, benefitting from free contributor content. 100s articles
    Competition for attention, and the enormous supply of advertising space - dropped revenue.
  • Traditional revenue models in the News Biz aren’t compatible with new trends. Clearly Ad rev down.
    The news industry is limited:
    Fixed cost base
    Historical factors: Long print and paper contracts, organizational structure
    Integrity - editorial vs revenue
  • This has happened before (theatre, cinema, radio, television)
  • EVERY INDUSTRY GOES THROUGH THIS - YOU ARE NOT ALONE
    HOW DID CINEMA GET THROUGH THIS? THEY TRIED NEW THINGS. SOME WORKED, SOME DIDN”T, SMART EXPLORATION OF IDEAS
  • What are good ones? Hard to tell at first.
    Jessica E. Lessin
    Left WSJ to found The Information (Publication for professionals who need the inside scoop on technology news and trends.)
    Covered Silicon Valley and the technology industry for eight years at the Wall Street Journal before launching The Information
    Similar model to Jason Calacanis’ launch.co
    The business model depends first and foremost on what's in the writing".
    Unique value proposition based on contact list & access to breaking news, transformed into a product people are (hopefully) willing to pay for.
    More info
  • Beacon (http://www.beaconreader.com) NEW REVENUE MODELS FOR JOURNALISTS
    “A simple platform that lets writers connect with readers that value their work.”
    Supported by startup incubator Y Combinator & individual investors
    A reader funds a writer for $5 a month and in return gets access to all of the content on the site. Writers receive 70 percent of their subscription revenue each month, with another portion going toward a bonus pool paid out to those who wrote the most recommended stories. The company keeps the rest.
    100+ writers, “several thousand” subscribers
    Exploring new revenue model by applying crowdfunding principles + subscription-based payments to individual storytellers.
    More info
  • So there’s lots of examples out there of ideas for how to ride the disruption…
    OF ALL THE DIFFERENT THINGS WE COULD BE DOING,
    HOW DO WE VALIDATE WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING
    - LEAN CANVAS
  • How can you avoid smell-o-vision?
    Reasonably smart people can rationalize anything and entrepreneurs are
    especially gifted at this.
  • We’re not experts on journalism, so I’ll spare you the exasperation
    There’s a method that we use that produces consistently higher quality results.
    Familiar with the media space, CBC, CFC, TSN, Torstar, startups like Front Porch Forum.
    Perspective I’ll be taking is that of the guys who help innovators and entrepreneurs test and build products.
    Front Porch Forum: Knight News Challenge. FPF won a $200,000 grant to build on its successes in connecting neighbors in Vermont through a system that is a mixture of message board, listserv, and local newspaper.
  • Old: Idea, customer input, build, release, pray.
    Hope that if you have to modify, you do so before you run out of money.
    New: Short cut the cost to first figure out if you have a customer.
  • This is how we help startups…
    Created by Ash Mauyra, The Lean Canvas is a fast alternative to creating a full business plan.
    DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WORTH SOLVING?
    “Reasonably smart people can rationalize anything and entrepreneurs are
    especially gifted at this.” - Ash Maurya
  • 1. Sketch a canvas in one sitting:
    2. It’s okay to leave sections blank:
    3. Think in the present.
    4. Use a customer-centric approach. Start with customer
  • 1. List top 3 problems
    For the customer segment you are working with, describe the top 1-3
    problems they need solved.
    2. List existing alternatives
    Then document how you think your early adopters address these problems
    today. Unless you are solving a brand new problem (unlikely), most
    problems have existing solutions. Many times these may not be a readily
    obvious competitor.
    As an example, the biggest alternative to most online collaboration tools is
    not another collaboration tool, but email. Doing nothing could also be a
    viable alternative for a customer if the pain is not acute enough.
    3. Identify other user roles
    Next identify any other user roles that will interact with this customer (customers are people who pay for your product. Anyone else is a user).
    4. Hone in on possible early adopters
    With these problems in mind, get more specific on the customer segment.
    Narrow down the distinguishing characteristics of your prototypical
    customer. Not just “parents” - “first-time moms with kids under the age of three”.
    EXAMPLES:
    BUZZFEED: THE CUSTOMER IS THE ADVERTISER PAYING FOR SPONSORED CONTENT. THE READER IS THE USER
  • A single, clear compelling message that states why you are
    different and worth buying.
    Be different, but make sure your difference matters
    Target early adopters
    Focus on finished story benefits
    EXAMPLE
    If you are building a résumé-building service:
    - a feature might be “professionally designed templates”
    - the benefit would be an “eye-catching résumé that stands out”
    - but the finished story benefit would be “landing your dream job”.
  • For each problem you have identified, come up with a feature/capability that solves that problem.
  • For each problem you have identified, come up with a feature/capability that solves that problem.
  • What you charge for your product is the most complicated and most important things to get right.
    What do you need to charge in order to break even?
  • Plug Tom’s talk on “avoiding vanity metrics” for multiplicity.
    [email_address]
  • “A real unfair advantage is something that cannot be easily copied or bought.”
    - Jason Cohen
  • Jessica E. Lessin “THE REPORTREPRENEUR”
    Left WSJ to found The Information (Publication for professionals who need the inside scoop on technology news and trends.)
    Covered Silicon Valley and the technology industry for eight years at the Wall Street Journal before launching The Information
    Similar model to Jason Calacanis’ launch.co (Subscription payment for the promise of great content). “When we write great stories, we get great subscribers. In today's competitive market, the business model depends first and foremost on what's in the writing".
    Unique value proposition based on contact list & access to breaking news, transformed into a product people are (hopefully) willing to pay for.
    More info
  • So what you have now is some opinions / assumptions / hypotheses about what you might like to build.
    But you won’t know if they’re right until you go out and talk to people.
  • Stop fixating on your idea
    Test assumptions
    Take all of the pieces apart
  • (Express Newspaper Building)
  • Speaking with customers face-to-face is a critical part of building a startup
    Show video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=RNwX0-KJfeo
    Interview part one = Problem Interview: As A journalist you should have a good bullshit detector
    Interview part two = Solution Interview.
  • Customer Discovery
    - What is the problem interview?
    1. Is it something customers want? (must-have)2. Can it be solved? (feasible)3. Will they pay for it? If not, who will? (viable)
  • What is the problem interview?
  • This is just the beginning!
    Resources: All on the Lean Canvas worksheet
    Tom Walsham - Mentor - Speaking at Multiplicity about metrics next month - talk to Holly for more info
  • Hope you feel inspired!
  • Dominic Bortolussi's Lean startup lessons

    1. 1. @twg LEAN STARTUP LESSONS (AND A LEAN CANVAS EXPERIMENT) Dominic Bortolussi The Working Group twg.ca
    2. 2. @twg DOMINIC BORTOLUSSI FOUNDER THE WORKING GROUP - 2002. WEB AND MOBILE SOFTWARE CREATION STARTUP ENTHUSIAST, MENTOR, ACTIVATOR
    3. 3. @twg “This industry is a dying giant” (the news industry)
    4. 4. @twg “We aren’t a news source, we aren’t professional journalists, and we don’t care.” - Their ‘About’ page, Dec, 2013.
    5. 5. @twg REVENUE HAS DECREASED BY 13% ACROSS CANADA’S NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS (SOURCE: STATISTICS CANADA)
    6. 6. @twg AND IT’S PREDICTED TO DROP 20% BY 2017 (SOURCE: PWC GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT AND MEDIA OUTLOOK)
    7. 7. @twg LAYOFFS AT THE NATIONAL POST, GLOBE & MAIL, TORONTO SUN, CBC…. THE LIST GOES ON
    8. 8. @twg Wait.. “This industry is a dying giant” What TV is doing to the movie industry. - U.S. News & World Report (1958) Yes …1958
    9. 9. @twg EVERYTHING GETS DISRUPTED
    10. 10. @twg NOBODY’S RUNNING OUT OF IDEAS But we’ll want to identify the good ones.
    11. 11. @twg@twg #techraking
    12. 12. @twg@twg #techraking
    13. 13. @twg HOW DO WE MAKE SURE OUR IDEAS ARE GOOD?
    14. 14. AVOID
    15. 15. Front Porch Forum You???TSN @twg #smwsmash ABOUT US
    16. 16. “LIFE’S TOO SHORT TO BUILD SOMETHING NOBODY WANTS.” - @ASHMAURYA
    17. 17. @twg The OLD WAY and The NEW WAY
    18. 18. @twg Lean Canvas: Your Startup Blueprint
    19. 19. @twg Lean Canvas: Your Startup Blueprint
    20. 20. @twg #techraking 1. CUSTOMER SEGMENTS & PROBLEM • List the 3 biggest problems your customer has • List existing alternatives
    21. 21. @twg #techraking 2. UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION • Single compelling message stating your difference and value. • Target early adopters • Focus on finished story benefits
    22. 22. @twg #techraking 3. SOLUTION • Sketch out the top features or capabilities for each problem
    23. 23. @twg #techraking 4. CHANNELS • Channels are how your business will reach its customers • They let people know about your product • PR, SEO,Word of Mouth
    24. 24. @twg #techraking 5. REVENUE STREAMS AND COST STRUCTURE • How will you make money? • How much money do you need to make?
    25. 25. @twg #techraking 6. KEY METRICS • One or two key activities that will drive people to use your product • One or two key activities that prove your product is useful
    26. 26. @twg #techraking 7. UNFAIR ADVANTAGE • Channels are how your business will reach its customers • They let people know about your product • PR, blogging, email
    27. 27. @twg@twg #techraking
    28. 28. @twg #techraking THEINFORMATION.COM
    29. 29. “IN A STARTUP NO FACTS EXIST INSIDE THE BUILDING. ONLY OPINIONS” - @SGBLANK
    30. 30. @twg Test the hypotheses of your Lean Canvas Learn as much as you can about your customers and their pain Keep going until you stop learning CUSTOMER DISCOVERY
    31. 31. GET OUT OF THE BUILDING
    32. 32. DO INTERVIEWS (YOU MIGHT HAVE DONE THIS BEFORE)
    33. 33. @twg Ask about their problems. “What is the hardest part about _____.” Learn about their pain, and what they currently do to resolve it. Listen, romance, repeat, record CUSTOMER DISCOVERY “PROBLEM” INTERVIEWS
    34. 34. @twg Tell your customers your value prop and solution details. Present something. How are they solving it today? Is this better? Will they commit to trying it and a price? CUSTOMER DISCOVERY “SOLUTION” INTERVIEWS
    35. 35. @twg THEN WHAT? Repeat, interview, and fine tune your Solution. Do this until you feel ready to create your ‘Minimum Viable Product’ to launch. Track the metrics.. looking for traction.
    36. 36. @twg Steve Blank - The friendly ‘Godfather’ of Lean
    37. 37. TWG STARTUP ACADEMY - LEAN CANVAS
    38. 38. @twg CUSTOMER - STARTUPS Early Stage Software Startups - developing and testing their MVP. Have 25K+ now to allocate to design, development, testing of their MVP. Planning to raise more significant investment once Market fit has been established.
    39. 39. @twg PROBLEM - STARTUPS Software production - need to iterate their MVP on the web, or in mobile. Hiring - need to find talent to design, build, test Investment - need to build relationships with investors Experience - don’t know everything about growing and running a business.
    40. 40. @twg UVP - STARTUPS Augment your Startup with an investment from Canada’s top designers and developers. Work with an investor who can roll up their sleeves and work alongside you, building and testing your product.
    41. 41. @twg SOLUTION - STARTUPS A partner who invests by delivering on the design, coding, and testing for your MVP A partner who invests by finding and growing your design and tech team A partner who can show you the best practices in Lean and Agile approaches to software development. Validate MVP. A partner who has a deep and active investor network A partner who helps fill the gaps in knowledge and experience
    42. 42. @twg CHANNELS - STARTUPS Funding Roadshows Accelerators - MaRS, Extreme Startups, IdeaLab, General Assembly Startup Weekend Toronto Angel Networks Meetups - Rails pub night, LeanCoffeeTO, #nerdlearn
    43. 43. @twg REVENUE - STARTUPS Average early stage VC’s have .300 ‘winners’ batting average Average early VC’s stage aim for over 8X on their winners Our batting average so far is .600 (so far..) And we need only a 2 - 3 X on our winners
    44. 44. @twg CUSTOMER - INVESTORS Angels, Looking at technology startups, 100K+ to invest
    45. 45. @twg PROBLEM - INVESTORS Inexperienced teams (technology, business, marketing). Product needs to still be validated Unknown cost to build and iterate product
    46. 46. @twg UVP - INVESTORS De-risk your investment in Startups with a Partner investment from one of Canada’s top software design and development firms.
    47. 47. @twg SOLUTION - INVESTORS A partner who can help the Startup validate their MVP. A partner who can teach best practices in Lean and Agile software dev. A partner who can deliver design, code, and testing for their MVP A partner who can help grow their design and tech team A partner who has a deep and active startup network A partner who helps fill their gaps in knowledge and experience A partner who does some or all of the above as an investment.
    48. 48. @twg CHANNELS - INVESTORS Funding Roadshows Accelerators - MaRS, Extreme Startups, IdeaLab, General Assembly Startup Weekend Toronto Angel Networks Meetups - Rails pub night, LeanCoffeeTO, #nerdlearn
    49. 49. @twg TWG ACADEMY ALUMNI Shoplocket - Acquired 2014 Greengage ((now Nudge) - Active, Funded, Scaling The OMX - Active, Funded Pilot App - Acquired 2013 Front Porch Forum - Active, Funded, Scaling PostageApp - Active, Funded, Scaling Unhaggle - Active, Funded, Scaling Rayku - Active, MVP validation OrganicsLive – Active, Scaling Strokelink - Active, waiting..
    50. 50. @twg WE’RE EXCITED TO WORK WITH YOU. Email: dom@twg.ca Ping: @dombort

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