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SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
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SVCC - Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it

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  • This is not a hands on session. This is an exploration of how to move ideas forward based on my own experience.
  • How many people consider themselves to be the ideas person?As I suspected the next slide is going to annoy a lot of people.
  • Everybody has ideas. However, entrepreneurs are doers. They are able to turn an idea into reality with limited resources. I believe that is what differentiates a wantrepreneur like myself from a great entrepreneur. I’m probably on my 5th project since I started trying to create a business in Feb. I’ve switched ideas because of things I learned during validation process.although I haven’t achieved success yet I feel that my current project has a good chance of success. Most importantly I’ve managed to limit my downside by not engaging in expensive customer development work. I consult part-time.
  • Linear timelineThinking in linear terms means that if you cannot hit the next goal, e.g. finding a cofounder then you cannot progress. It becomes a roadblock. I have this great idea and I just need somebody to execute it for me for free.
  • Solution is not to think linearly. Attack the problem on multiple front simultaneously.Get creative on sequencingRun things in parallel Tasks like finding a cofounder will be easier if you get traction on other tasks like validating your idea. Same goes for funding. Build a case so strong that it is impossible to ignore the opportunity. Think in terms of milestones and short term goalsBe entrepreneurial!
  • Distractions are everywhere. I spent a lot of time meeting people through Founder Dating when it was first setup. Mostly it was a waste of time. Just something I thought I should be doing.Networking is critically important but it needs to be extremely targeted. You should find advisors to your company. Plant those seeds early. Eventually you might want funding, get people involved early on and listen to their advice. Find people who run companies in your space or people who have tried and failed.I’ve personally wasted a lot of time and money on things that are not important. : Spending 2yrs and $100ks on MBABuying domain for $1500 never using itPaying hundreds of $s for conferences and not getting much out of it.EXECUTION is everything. None of these things were EXECUTION. Although they felt like progress at the time.
  • Get creative on sequencingRun things in parallelThink in terms of milestones and short term goalsBe entrepreneurial!Examples: Spending 2yrs and $100ks on MBABuying domain for $1500 never using itPaying hundreds of $s for conferences and not getting much out of it.
  • Hard Business School research 75% of startups fails. Odds are against you. Better to fail fast, fail cheap and move on. Interestingly I’ve hear that most startups fail because of disagreements between founders.
  • Is there a market for my product, i.e. is somebody experiencing the pain. What is the $ value of the ADDRESSABLE market. Value of B2B market is $50Bn, so what.I worked for a startup that received $10M in funding. It had 40 fulltime employees and it did not have product market fit. almost zero revenue. Failed to get product market fit but scaled anyway. Steve Blanks example is Iridium a $5.2Bn project by motorola for satellite communications. Overtaken by cell phone coverage made it irrelevant.It is much hard to pivot with a cofounder. It is really hard to find somebody perfectly aligned with your product and even harder when you decide to throw the original plan out of the window. Do as much as you can yourself to validate Is your product a feature or a product?
  • Think about key assumptions and how to test them. This varies greatly depending on the type of business. For B2C perhaps you will setup a landing page and drive some traffic with small Google Ads campaigns. Entrepreneur tested company names using this approach. we tested a concept for a hardware device using A/B testing, ads and landings pages. For B2B the validation is more about talking to businesses about their problems. I learnt a lot from my work experience and recent consulting experience about the pain points for a growing corporate from a finance and ops perspective and a sales org. Does the problem exist? Is your solution a good match for the problem?
  • Is there a market for my product, i.e. is somebody experiencing the pain
  • Stealth mode is BS. Unless you are developing the next Stealth Bomber hiding your product until launch is a big mistake. Gather feedback, potential improvements, e.g. refocused on Salesforcebased on feedback from an advisor. Speak to potential customers. If 3 people tell you it is a great idea it still might be a very bad ideaFind people knowledgeable in the fieldFind people who have attempted similar products but failedAsk people who will tell you truthfully. My mum will nod and say that’s great whatever I tell her. FIND MENTORS who might become advisors to your businessNETWORK IS CRITICAL
  • Walkthrough clickable prototypes with real potential customers. Steve Blank -
  • Walkthrough clickable prototypes with real potential customers. Steve Blank – Some of your assumptions will be correct and some will be incorrect. On each iteration you will adjust course and potentially diverge considerably from the original product looked like. Swings will initially be big and then get smaller. Personally, I’ve investigated product ideas for automobiles, travel and now focused on B2B.
  • Walkthrough clickable prototypes with real potential customers. Steve Blank – When you think about the problem in terms of validating assumptions you think about the product you need to build today differently. You need to build pieces of a product that validate assumptions. Entrepreneur was thinking about a website related to selling celebrity experiences. Validation was a Facebook game relating to celebrity.
  • Online tests – test company name, a/b test product landing pages. Cheap and easy
  • Learning any new skill is hard. It takes time and commitment. Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers talks about 10k hours of practice to be successful in any field. 10 hrs per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year =3640. Almost 3 years to be highly proficient. I’ve learnt 4 new technologies since Feb this year. Lifelong learning. Adding new skills. If your business is a tech business perhaps you should know some tech? If you don’t know any tech perhaps you aren’t the person who will succeed in this venture. Tipping the odds in your favor. Learn the skills to execute on the idea.
  • How badly do you want to succeed?What are you willing to sacrifice to make this happen?What is a realistic timeframe for success?Why do you want to be an entrepreneur?Business school made us write our obituaryEntrepreneurship is a state of mind and a lifestyle choice. Take time to lay the foundation. To learn the skills and constantly seek to improve those skills. Attempting to build something from scratch is also extremely difficult. I see my family less. We have less money. We vacation less. I have less spare time for sport, friends or other activities. I don’t know if I’m going to succeed. Mark SusterEntrepreneurshit.
  • Balance of time versus money. If you have money then maybe outsourcing is better for you. However, be careful to do proper validation before spending a lot of money. It is all about cheap experiments. An entrepreneur that I met raised more than $100k from friends and family and outsourced the build of a website. Now he has a nice looking website and no customers. He cannot pivot because he has no more money. Proper validation, prototyping etc is designed to prevent you from being in this difficult situation.
  • Break things into smaller tasks / goals and consider how to get each done independently. My app is a Salesforce integration. I’m DIY the backend. I’m trying to find somebody to help me with the front-end. Im considering finding a different contractor for the piece that lives in Salesforce. To break down technical tasks like building a product you might need to make some early technical decisions around architecture or technology. Don’t be afraid to make those decisions. Do your research. Validate your assumptions with people who know what they are talking about over coffee or at technical meetups or online by posting questions on Stackoverflow. Technical help is everywhere. Its mostly free and readily available.
  • WebsiteMobile appBackendAuthenticationContentSMSChoose tools, technologies best suited to your needs. Speak to engineers about your choices. Go to meetup groups for the technologies you are thinking of using. Find similar products and understand what technologies they are using. I’ve asked questions on StackoverflowI’ve posted to developer communitiesWhen I consult I have lunch / coffe with engineers
  • Carefully define the requirements, provide detailed written requirements and designs. Manage the project. Regular checkins. A wantrepreneur I met recently outsourced a website build and after 8 months had not made progress. She is now 4 months into a build with a new outfit and is happy with progress. When I was a project manager at Barclays Bank we had checkins twice per day. My understanding of progress to plan was never more than 2 hours out of date. Give them a small project as a trial. This works whether you are talking to a potential cofounder or outsourcing to Ukraine. Test out the relationship. Its JUST ANOTHER EXPERIMENT.I’m currently looking at options in Eastern Europe. Specifically Romania and Ukraine. Wokredcompanies who used Romanian development teams.
  • What does the delivery look like? Source code?Who will host the app? How will you deploy it? Is the source code high quality?
  • Do you need somebody fulltime? Can you get parttime help. I recently worked with somebody and our arrangement was that we would convert his hours to equity if it turned into a business. I try to not let formality get ahead of making progress at this very early stage.
  • Good developers have ton of options. They can earn high salaries and work on cool products. Why would anybody want to work on your project with a very high chance of success, less money etc.S+D we built an engineering team from scratch. I travelled the peninsula convincing engineers that a direct sales jewelry company was the next big thing. We had an excellent hit rate. Good sales pitch and clear product vision. It is possible to make people do things they wouldn’t normally have considered. Great salespeople do this everyday. Practice your pitch:Pitch nights, e.g. Founders Institute
  • Product mgmt 101If you are outsourcing or working remotely with a team you need to clearly define the product. Failure to define the product pushes responsibility for key product decisions to the developer. They are not close to understanding the problem, the customer or the product vision and therefore can make bad decisions because of limited information. If you are doing the validation and customer research in sufficient depth then you should make all the product decisions down to a detailed level. Take responsibility.
  • Define DONE
  • Learning any new skill is hard. It takes time and commitment. Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers talks about 10k hours of practice to be successful in any field. 10 hrs per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year =3640. Almost 3 years to be highly proficient. I’ve learnt 4 new technologies since Feb this year. Lifelong learning. Adding new skills. If your business is a tech business perhaps you should know some tech? If you don’t know any tech perhaps you aren’t the person who will succeed in this venture. Tipping the odds in your favor. Learn the skills to execute on the idea.Even if you outsource you will need to manage the process and take over at some point.WHO WILL HIRE THE FIRST ENGINEER?
  • Learning any new skill is hard. It takes time and commitment. Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers talks about 10k hours of practice to be successful in any field. 10 hrs per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year =3640. Almost 3 years to be highly proficient. I’ve learnt 4 new technologies since Feb this year. Lifelong learning. Adding new skills. If your business is a tech business perhaps you should know some tech? If you don’t know any tech perhaps you aren’t the person who will succeed in this venture. Tipping the odds in your favor. Learn the skills to execute on the idea.Even if you outsource you will need to manage the process and take over at some point.WHO WILL HIRE THE FIRST ENGINEER?
  • Learning any new skill is hard. It takes time and commitment. Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers talks about 10k hours of practice to be successful in any field. 10 hrs per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year =3640. Almost 3 years to be highly proficient. I’ve learnt 4 new technologies since Feb this year. Lifelong learning. Adding new skills. If your business is a tech business perhaps you should know some tech? If you don’t know any tech perhaps you aren’t the person who will succeed in this venture. Tipping the odds in your favor. Learn the skills to execute on the idea.
  • Learning any new skill is hard. It takes time and commitment. Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers talks about 10k hours of practice to be successful in any field. 10 hrs per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year =3640. Almost 3 years to be highly proficient. I’ve learnt 4 new technologies since Feb this year. Lifelong learning. Adding new skills. If your business is a tech business perhaps you should know some tech? If you don’t know any tech perhaps you aren’t the person who will succeed in this venture. Tipping the odds in your favor. Learn the skills to execute on the idea.
  • Learning any new skill is hard. It takes time and commitment. Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers talks about 10k hours of practice to be successful in any field. 10 hrs per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year =3640. Almost 3 years to be highly proficient. I’ve learnt 4 new technologies since Feb this year. Lifelong learning. Adding new skills. If your business is a tech business perhaps you should know some tech? If you don’t know any tech perhaps you aren’t the person who will succeed in this venture. Tipping the odds in your favor. Learn the skills to execute on the idea.
  • Learning any new skill is hard. It takes time and commitment. Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers talks about 10k hours of practice to be successful in any field. 10 hrs per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year =3640. Almost 3 years to be highly proficient. I’ve learnt 4 new technologies since Feb this year. Lifelong learning. Adding new skills. If your business is a tech business perhaps you should know some tech? If you don’t know any tech perhaps you aren’t the person who will succeed in this venture. Tipping the odds in your favor. Learn the skills to execute on the idea.
  • Learning any new skill is hard. It takes time and commitment. Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers talks about 10k hours of practice to be successful in any field. 10 hrs per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year =3640. Almost 3 years to be highly proficient. I’ve learnt 4 new technologies since Feb this year. Lifelong learning. Adding new skills. If your business is a tech business perhaps you should know some tech? If you don’t know any tech perhaps you aren’t the person who will succeed in this venture. Tipping the odds in your favor. Learn the skills to execute on the idea.
  • Learning any new skill is hard. It takes time and commitment. Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers talks about 10k hours of practice to be successful in any field. 10 hrs per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year =3640. Almost 3 years to be highly proficient. I’ve learnt 4 new technologies since Feb this year. Lifelong learning. Adding new skills. If your business is a tech business perhaps you should know some tech? If you don’t know any tech perhaps you aren’t the person who will succeed in this venture. Tipping the odds in your favor. Learn the skills to execute on the idea.
  • Learning any new skill is hard. It takes time and commitment. Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers talks about 10k hours of practice to be successful in any field. 10 hrs per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year =3640. Almost 3 years to be highly proficient. I’ve learnt 4 new technologies since Feb this year. Lifelong learning. Adding new skills. If your business is a tech business perhaps you should know some tech? If you don’t know any tech perhaps you aren’t the person who will succeed in this venture. Tipping the odds in your favor. Learn the skills to execute on the idea.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Stephen McCurry Wantrepreneur + Producteer Stop looking for a technical cofounder and just do it
    • 2. Engineer Project Manager B. School Product Manager Wantrepreneur Stephen McCurry- Career Synopsis
    • 3. EXECUTION is everything! Ideas are cheap
    • 4. 1. The plan
    • 5. Timeline Killer Idea Meet cofounder Funding Build Product Build Business Roadblock
    • 6. • Building a startup is a non linear process • Focus on short term milestones • Constantly reevaluate priorities and roadblocks The plan
    • 7. Focus • Be selective over what meetings, conferences and calls you take • Constantly reevaluate priorities with respect to the next milestone • Say no
    • 8. 2. Where to start
    • 9. Where to start • Product market fit • Validation • Understanding customer needs
    • 10. Product market fit • Being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market. • Requires iteration and likely to result in divergence from original plan – plan C, D etc.
    • 11. • What assumptions are you making? • What evidence do you have to support your assumptions? Validation
    • 12. Understanding customer needs • Communicate • Listen • Empathize
    • 13. Talking
    • 14. No Business plan survives first contact with customers Steve Blank
    • 15. Prototype
    • 16. Iteration
    • 17. Tools
    • 18. Validation board
    • 19. Tools for early stage validation • Validation baord Validation • Proto.ioPrototyping • Launch Rock • Rocket Start Landing pages • 99 designsCompany logos • Google adwords • Facebook ads Ad trials
    • 20. 3. Building
    • 21. Introspection
    • 22. Build options • Outsource • Timeshare • DIY
    • 23. Break it Down
    • 24. Making Technology Decisions 1. Analyze options based on requirements 2. Justify decision 3. Experiment and adjust if necessary
    • 25. Outsourcing / Nearshoring / Offshoring Development e.g. Elance, Odesk Tips: • Clearly define the requirements both functional and non functional system requirement • Provide visual designs designs or mocks • Run a small project first as a trial • Have regular checkins and milestones, e.g. daily, weekly • You usually get what you pay for • Try to find a personal recommendation versus blind referral • At first it will sound great but chances of success are relatively low • Collboration tools – Bitbucket, Asana, Pivotal Tracker
    • 26. Outsourcing Project doesn’t end when final product is delivered.
    • 27. Timeshare • Get blocks of hours from developers you know • Use people you know as technical advisors
    • 28. Getting good at sales • Define your business in 1 sentence • Define the key features, benefits and needs you are solving in a 60 second pitch • Practice your pitch
    • 29. Product Definition • Use cases • Acceptance criteria • Wireframes • Visual Design
    • 30. Use cases Example: A Doctor logs onto the system to check their schedule for today
    • 31. Acceptance criteria • Doctor enters their user name and password then clicks login. • The system loads the home screen for the logged in user. • The users name and profile photo appear in the top right of the screen.
    • 32. Wireframes
    • 33. Visual Designs
    • 34. Tools for defining the product • Jira • Pivotal tracker Requirements • Balsamiq • Proto.io Wireframing • Photoshop (Creative Cloud) Visual design
    • 35. DIY - Learning to code
    • 36. After Just Four Weeks, The Homeless Man Learning To Code Has Almost Finished His First App
    • 37. My day and most nights
    • 38. Learning Resources • GithubOpen source • Udemy • Code AcademyOnline Learning • General AssemblyOffline courses • RailscastsBlogs • Stackoverflow • Air PairCommunity
    • 39. Standing on the shoulders of giants • Nitrous.io Development environment • ParseMobile Backend • Urban airship • Twilio Mobile messaging • Socialize • Kinvey Social platforms • FirebaseCloud based backend • ShopifyeCommerce
    • 40. Building a landing page www.workabout.me
    • 41. Anatomy of a landing page Option1 Option2 Hosting Heroku Linode – LAMP on Ubuntu Technology HTML / Ruby on Rails HTML / PHP Domain GoDaddy GoDaddy DNS DNSimple GoDaddy Lead capture Database Mailchimp Source code Github na Splash image Shutterstock Shutterstock
    • 42. Creativity takes courage (Henri Matisse)
    • 43. Good luck! smccurry.mba2008@london.edu http://www.linkedin.com/in/smccurry/ @StephenMcCurry

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