Fast prototypes and customer development for start ups
• B.S Electronics and Communication
• Master in ICT entrepreneurship ,
• SSES Alumni
• PhD Candidate at Indek KTH
• Previously Java Developer
• Now business developer for Virtway.com and
• Not about a specific business idea
• About business processes
• About prototypes
• It is pretty long
• Feel free to fall asleep, interrupt or leave
• I hope you know all this already.
• If not, I really think it can give you a lot
Waterfall is drying
• Agile Agile Agile Agile Agile
• XP extreme programming
• Continous Integration/Deployment
• Developers hate Waterfall like mad!
What is Agile?
• It works when
• And requirements
Add agile to process
What is wrong with
• Old style startup model must DIE!
• I will dance on it’s grave!
• Because it sucks!
• Because where is the customer?
• Because things change!
• Market risk! Need to adapt!
Lets get serious
• A lot of startups fails
• It affects your relationships
• It absorbs your life
• It can make old friends be enemies
• It is your life. Don’t let business coaches
or experts run your life.
• It is not fun to fail. It is also your
coworkers and familys problem. Lets
avoid that, then running a startup can be
fun and meaningful.
Why should I listen to you?
• Do not listen me!
IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO
QUESTION ALL ASSUMPTIONS. MINE,
Are you a God?
• I can predict what my customers
• I can predict a 5-year financial plan
• I can predict what customers will like
• I can manage this process
• I know the risks, the opportunities
• I will never give up
Are you a mortal
• I have a hunch about what customers want
• I think it can make money
• I will measure and discuss with customers
• Lets use the scientific method. Measure!
• Test assumptions, test on users, be
• If I find problems, I can change things.
Why not use the scientific process to develop business
ideas? A business idea is a set of testable hypotheses.
Some are actually
• mystery company
Twttr has married Short Code Messaging, SMS
with a way to create social groups. By sending a
text message to a short code (for TWTTR) you
can send your location information, your mood
information or whatever and share it with people
who are on your social-mob! Best part – no
NOTE: They have done a PIVOT. Changed
idea, but not completely.
Rhetoric question: What use was the prediction about
the SMS market they probably had in the business
"Wave has not seen the user adoption we
would have liked," Senior Vice President Urs
Holzle said in the blog post. "We don't plan to
continue developing Wave as a standalone
product, but we will maintain the site, at least
through the end of the year, and extend the
technology for use in other Google projects.
NOTE: They are doing a PIVOT,
reusing the technology in a new way.
When we think of design, we think of this company
Was their core value
firmly set in their
Don’t burn your business plan
• Just don’t make a new one
• Thinking through the business is good
• But I think you can think through your business
in faster and better ways.
• Do a powerpoint instead (Guy Kawasaki).
• Business Model Canvas – another
• KEY POINT: CHANGE is the norm.
• KEY POINT: You have a vague idea what
CUSTOMERS will want.
• One line summary: Test your
• Get out of the building
• Formulate hypotheses and test them
• Do Minimum Viable Products (MVP:s)
• Pivot. Change aspects of business as
The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful
Strategies for Products that Win
Steven Gary Blank
• Disclaimer: I did not actually read the
Four Steps to the Epiphany when I
• However, I have read the “cheat sheet”
• And I have read blogs and so on...
• I simply started with the “prototype”
book. Then, I bought the “Full” book.
• Eric Ries. He has failed, he has succeeded.
• Lean Startup = Customer Development +
Search for Eric Ries on YouTube! Great 1h talk!
Cust Dev +
• Consumer Development = business prototypes
• Lean startup = Cust dev + Agile
• Lean startup is great. But requires that you have
IT-guys in team
• Our? idea = Cust Dev + Prototypes
• Might work better when you don’t have an IT-
team or do not want to waste your resources!
• Complements agile
Some kinds of prototypes
• Mockups/line drawings. Show ideas.
• Paper prototypes. Test interaction on
• Landingpages. Great way to test business
• Working prototype. Testable IT that works
as a specification.
• Line drawing to show how system looks
• Computer aided, such as Balsamiq
• Or use pen and paper
• Get your ideas down!
• Users try system, talk out loud
• Test interaction
• You find discover a new electric-engine that
can be installed in old cars. By concentrating
on a few Swedish bestsellers such as Volvo
V70 and Saab9-5, you think you can make a
business out of this.
• Make a single webpage explaining the idea.
• It has two buttons “Pre-order for V70”, and
• Buy Ad-words for “electric car“ showing ads
“Adapt Saab9-5 to electric power”
• Measure how many visit the landing-
• Measure how many click the “Pre-order”
buttons (and get their contact details)
• Just explain to viewers politely you have not
started yet but will get back to them.
• Before committing to anything, you can verify if
people are interested and if they are on the
way to actually buy for the price you show.
• Do A/B tests of messages, see what works.
• Sorry, thousands view the page but no one
• You have just saved a lot of trouble.
• But, you discover a lot of visitors from a blog
from old Rolls-Royce enthusiasts.
• PIVOT: A lot of people wants to cruise with old
classics and want to be eco-friendly and these
cars really suck gas. And they can afford the
conversion. Your market is now high-margin and
European, maybe global.
• Looks / behaves like a real program
• But the aim is to make it fast to explain
• A prototype explains better than a
• A prototype can be used to test on users
Prototype vs Agile
• Agile = building gradually. Quality.
• Prototype = max shortcuts
• No database needed, no security/scalability
• Free to use a completely other
• Optimize shortcuts, quality is secondary
• The anti-thesis of what programmers usually
do. Few take pride in doing shit.
• Demo, try, get feedback, think through
• Show to customers
• Show to investors
• A much better specification. Same cost?
• Can be combined with Agile
• Makes outsourcing possible
• Make mistakes early
Now, may we ask
• Was it too ugly? drawings, videos etc.
• Too long?
• Easy or difficult to follow?
• Anything to remove/add?
• Other comments?
This presentation is
also a prototype
• Try message/slides. Get feedback !!!
• MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
• The slides can be given to graphic
• Even outsourced
• Would you give a specification to
designers?1. Picture of trad biz process
2. Picture of waterfall
• Thank to CEO of Stix.to -
• Try out? : http://stix.to/
• Tool for bloggers and people that like to
share opinions in a layer over the
internet. Do you know anyone that
wants to try?
• Twitter: @hankhero