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DevDay 2013 - Building Startups and Minimum Viable Products

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DevDay (http://devday.pl),
20th of September 2013, Kraków

Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4eTOvq2WmM&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLBMFXMTB7U74NdDghygvBaDcp67owVUUF

Published in: Technology
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DevDay 2013 - Building Startups and Minimum Viable Products

  1. 1. Building Startups & Minimum Viable Products @Ben_Hall Ben@BenHall.me.uk Cornershop.io Hacker in Residence and Partner at Cornershop / #1seed
  2. 2. You talk about it, we ship it. #craftsmanship @Ben_Hall Ben@BenHall.me.uk Cornershop.io Hacker in Residence and Partner at Cornershop / #1seed
  3. 3. Let’s make some money #craftsmanshipisdead @Ben_Hall Ben@BenHall.me.uk Cornershop.io Hacker in Residence and Partner at Cornershop / #1seed
  4. 4. Who am I? • Hacker in Residence at Cornershop / #1seed – Meerkatalyst / MaydayHQ (Co-founder) – Swapit (Lead Dev / CTO) – 7digital – Red Gate Software • Multiple open source and side projects • @Ben_Hall or Ben@BenHall.me.uk
  5. 5. Agenda Idea Build Release
  6. 6. How I see the world With a bit of a rant and various lessons learned along the way
  7. 7. Startup Mindset
  8. 8. Validate / Invalidate a concept as fast as possible
  9. 9. “Lean” Build Learn Measure
  10. 10. Not about being cheap Lessons learned
  11. 11. It’s good to fail, as long as you fail fast
  12. 12. But not so fast that it’s impossible to succeed
  13. 13. What is a startup? A company that is confused about 1) what its product is 2) who its customers are 3) how to make money
  14. 14. Validating The Idea
  15. 15. What happens if you don’t have an idea? Find a space, theme, problem that you personally find interesting
  16. 16. Betaworks, Science Inc, Rocket Internet
  17. 17. Without a core desire, you’ve already lost the game BELIEVE IN THE VISION
  18. 18. People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. http://www.flickr.com/photos/atomicpuppy/2132073976/
  19. 19. Easier to go from shit to great than nothing to great.
  20. 20. Going to Church (a punt) vs. Science (running a process) CORNERSHOP PROCESS
  21. 21. Leave the building Understand potential customer acquisition approaches early
  22. 22. Identify a Minimum Viable Customer Segment • • • • Influencers Users of competitor products Potential new users People in different verticals with similar business models • Understand industry, customer segments • Test different value props, identify which connects best
  23. 23. Always discuss previous experiences. People are rubbish at predicting the future
  24. 24. LISTEN TO USERS/CUSTOMERS NOT ADVISORS / VC. CUSTOMERS PAY.
  25. 25. Iterate, update, log insights Go back to BMC and update. Keep previous copies for history.
  26. 26. People seem interested? You’ll need a name & brand Naming is the hardest problem Can kill days and suck motivation
  27. 27. Google Airbnb Spotify YouPorn Apple Ryanair
  28. 28. KEEP TAGLINES SIMPLE BUT SAY WHAT YOU DO! DON’T SAY YOU’RE DISRUPTION OR INNOVATING LAME!!! Only others can say that http://insideintercom.io/what-everyoneneeds-to-know-about-disruption/
  29. 29. CustDev can only get you so far At this point you should have a concept / vision clear in your own head
  30. 30. The Build
  31. 31. What is a MVP? • “An MVP is an experiment that tests a critical, falsifiable hypothesis of your business” Devin Hunt https://speakerdeck.com/devinhunt/mvps-in-practice
  32. 32. Fake it until you make it
  33. 33. Lesson learned from Rate it Slate it Prototyped Functionality Took 2-3 hours to go from a concept to learning valuable insights
  34. 34. Avoid writing code if you can • Email / blog first startups are cool!! • Sunrise (Just raised $2.2m, started as morning email of your day’s schedule each day) • Mattermark
  35. 35. Speed of delivery is key • • • • Beg, steal, borrow – just get it done! Ability to learn Should be based around your vision Lesson from “Project X”: Took too long to release because the aim wasn’t to learn about customers but make money. Missed a number of (commercial) opportunities. Failing? Likely.
  36. 36. Don’t reinvent the wheel TOO MANY FUN THINGS IN LIFE TO WRITE BORING CODE
  37. 37. Do you need a full application? WebFlow.com / strikingly.com
  38. 38. Fake it? • Proto.io
  39. 39. Really need to build… • Foundation over bootstrap etc • KISS!! Do you really need EmberJS, Backbone etc etc etc?
  40. 40. Build on the shoulders of giants Community NodeJS  *AMAZING* ElasticSearch  *AMAZING* 4SQ API, Screen scraping, hidden APIs – whatever is required to get the job done. KEEP IT SIMPLE. KEEP IT DIRTY.
  41. 41. Low traffic, dyno is paused. First user needs to spin it up. Keep alive script A WORD OF WARNING ABOUT HEROKU
  42. 42. Paul Stack rocked my world – Vagrant + Rackspace Cloud / AWS EC2
  43. 43. Cult of the Software Craftsman • Code Quality is not a feature! • Do you really need 80% test coverage? What value 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?
  44. 44. BULLSH*T
  45. 45. WHO CARES ABOUT CLEAN CODE IF THERE ARE NO SALES!
  46. 46. IF DEVELOPERS WERE IMPACTED BY REVENUE THEN THEY WOULDN’T SPEND 10 DAYS WRITING CLEAN CODE
  47. 47. Write tests / code / shell scripts to speed up feedback loop – not about long-term. STOPPED DOING TDD A LONG TIME AGO
  48. 48. DON’T BE AFFAIRD TO THROW CODE AWAY
  49. 49. Building a startup? Don’t turn into a developer! • This isn’t an exercise in learning new technologies. • It’s an exercise in building businesses • Don’t confuse the two.
  50. 50. Lesson learned from Meerkatalyst Built an over complex system when a shell script would have done
  51. 51. Lesson learned from Mayday Stopped the MVP, started scaling (technical backend), didn’t have product/market fit. Massive Fail
  52. 52. Do things that move the needle What are you trying to learn? What value are you adding?
  53. 53. The Release
  54. 54. Job done! If you build it they will come Must be true, Hollywood said so
  55. 55. Customers Metrics Application TIME TO LISTEN
  56. 56. Metrics • Collect everything • Visualise key data • Have key metrics that you want to track
  57. 57. Librato Librato - Pretty
  58. 58. Track User Events / Actions Your own database is most valuable source. Use it!
  59. 59. Metrics became the tests • Ensure the system is working as expected • Alerts when the system stopped working outside of normal bounds
  60. 60. Pirate Metrics - AARRR
  61. 61. Drive Traffic • • • • PR (Hacker News, Techcrunch, The Next Web) Buy traffic (PPC) Social Media Email still king • Piggyback off others – Paypal > Ebay – Airbnb > Craigslist
  62. 62. Speak to people using the product • Red Gate UX team • Watch, Listen, Learn • Introduce explicit touch points in the application 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 actively engaging with the product
  63. 63. Quickly qualify a lead & call
  64. 64. A/B Tests? • Waste of time at the early stage. • Complex to configure, not enough traffic to make them statistically significant. – Mayday A/B tests • Took ages to get data, could have just asked people
  65. 65. Finally…
  66. 66. Start with something, iterate. Have a vision, a goal, a desire and execute on it.
  67. 67. Value Driven Development Do things that people care about!
  68. 68. Get feedback. Not working? Change it. Kill it. Move on. Building startups people care about is amazing! Working on ones no-one cares about is sole destroying.
  69. 69. @Ben_Hall Ben@BenHall.me.uk Blog.BenHall.me.uk Cornershop.io

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