Designer As Founder Week Four

I return from Amsterdam to my class in varying states of uncertainty. One is already on their first pivot, another on their second, a third still can’t choose between two markets for their technology. The fourth is plowing ahead wihtout any strong signal they are right, but without any strong signal they are wrong either. So: as expected!

Laura Klein, author of the pretty darn terrific UX for Lean Startups: Faster, Smarter User Experience Research and Design visited the class, and gave them each a good way to validate, which I suspect they’ll ignore. One plaintive question was asked “We’re already pivoting. Is that normal?” To which she replied, “yep. and if you were a real startup and not a class, you’d be seeking a good market for months, not weeks.”

The second class we took on TAM, SAM and target market. Interestingly defining a served market was the hardest… TAM is pleasantly big, Target is what we’ve been calling in our class “toehold” but defining a serve (or as I prefer servable) market is trickier, as you have ot consider technology, price, geography in the equation. In general I consider them all “useful lies.” The reality is, they are never going to be accurate, yet the work to get at them is still work worth doing. So many start-ups aim at a market that is too small to be interesting to venture, yet set up the company to raise anyway. You need to know how big the market is just to be able to do funding strategy, not to mention before you devote years of your life to the thing.
(oh, man, I really need to cover funding strategy at some point…)

In any case, here is the deets.

Feb 11th

Laura Klein on Startup research

Team presentations 10 minutes each on the projects Personas & Business Model Canvas hypotheses testing.
What were your value proposition hypotheses?
What did you discover from customers?
What were your hypotheses about who your users and customers were? Did you learn anything different?

Studio: We ran out of time after presentations and feedback.

DO: take Laura’s advice. Laura suggested several good validation methods, including concierge/wizard of oz testing.

Feb 13th
Class Discussion and Lecture:
Customer Segment:
Who’s the customer? User? Payer? How are they different? How can you reach them? How is a business customer different from a consumer?

Market Sizing:

Discussion. Examples of TAM/SAM/TM

10 minute presentations of findings
Numbers (quantity and money) (cite!)
TAM, SAM and Target Market (pick one after your research!)
What is the giant pain point that will make people want to adopt your product, that they are unhappy with their current solution for…

Business Model Generation, pp. 161-168 and 226-231

Prepare to present results in class (Feb 18).
Update your blog/wiki/journal with progress customers and value prop