5th weeK: How to Build a Product that Solves a Real Problem

Closing our fifth week and we are very satisfied with the results we have had so far from our interviews. Although we got a bit cranky by the middle of the week, due to the lack of metrics we had. We decided to do a post-mortem every Friday and to define two to three metrics that can inspire us to move forward on our process.

Once again we want to thank everybody who has participated in our hypothesis validation process. This week we did a good number of interviews and schedule more for next week. This process has been an eye opener for us. Every interview is different and we can see that some of the hypothesis we started with have taken a different direction. It is too soon for us to decide if a hypothesis is valid or not, but when to know that enough is enough. ( Building a Company with Customer Data by @sgblank) However, this interviewing process has helped us understand our customers better. Our validating process still in progress, we want our early adopters to be the ones that define our product. Friday we had a meeting to review our hypothesis, some were added and other modified. We know that our final product will be very different from the one we had on mind at the beginning of this project, and we are ok with that.

This week we came across the MVP (Lesson Learned by @ericries) concept. It is a great idea and we believe it fits our startup model. At the beginning we all got very excited and started brainstorming and planning what we wanted to create for our MVP. We started planning the features and how to get early adopters to test it. Then we realized that we were creating an MVP based only on guesses and not on real customer date. We decided to wait until we have more information from our future customers, and bring them an MVP designed from them and not from our guesses. When being on a startup it is very easy to get too excited with an idea and start building a product without a solid base.

From our own experience here are some tips to help you avoid getting too excited:

  • If you start thinking on features instead of problems you are on the wrong direction, step back and focus on problems first.
  • Always remain yourselves that your hypotheses are only guesses/opinions. Only until you verify your hypothesis with real customer data, your product may be solving a problem that does not exist. It will have a high probability to fail.
  • Be patient: as Steve Blanks (@sgblank) mentioned on his book, the customer development model looks like circles. You will find yourself creating your hypothesis, realizing that they are not valid, and creating new ones. This will go on and on, but persistence is a key elemen
  • Recognize that your final product may not look the same as the one you started with: every time you modify your hypothesis, you will be modifying your product hypothesis too. At the end of the process you may end up with a completely different product, but it is fine because this product will be solving an existing problem.

We are still recruiting to participate in our customer hypothesis validation process. We basically want to have a conversation to talk about what we think is a problem for you. If you want to help we will enormously appreciate or if somebody you know wants to help let them know and contact us at (bigpocket2009), we will love to chat with you.

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~ by bigpocket on February 1, 2010.

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