Building

STARTUP IDEAS

by Salman Ansari

@daretorant

GOALS

  1. Learn why ideation is important
  2. Understand tactics of ideation
  3. Get inspired

PROFIT VS NONPROFIT

Today we will be spending time focusing on ideas that can build profitable businesses.

Why IS IDEATION IMPORTANT?

FACT 1:

Most startups jump straight to development stage,

without investing enough in planning stages.

FACT 2:

Most startups fail to gain significant customer adoption.

This is NOT a coincidence.  

Measure twice, cut once.

Agenda:

5 Steps to Build IDEAS

  1. Inspiration [finding problems]
  2. Evaluation [market research]
  3. Research [understanding users]
  4. Validation [prototyping ideas]
  5. MVP [focus, focus, focus]

INSPIRATION

What problem should I solve?

Typical Sources of Ideas

  1. Spontaneous [lightbulb moment in shower]
  2. Insider [working in an industry for a long time]
  3. Deliberate [purposefully seeking change]

How Do I Find Problems?

  1. Make product discovery a habit
  2. Keep a list of potential problems to solve
  3. Discuss ideas with peers regularly
  4. Networking is key to discovering opportunities
  5. Be open-minded, let ideas flow freely

Ideas can come from any source, at any time.

 

The key is to look for them constantly, learn to compare and measure them effectively, and to act quickly.

ALWAYS. BE. IDEATING.

  • You should be able to identify a specific set of users who are affected by the problem you describe
  • The primary purpose of this stage is to give you an area of focus, not a solution
  • Ideal (but not necessary) that you have a personal interest
  • Example problem statement:
    • "It's extremely difficult to find the nearest hospital that has specialists for patients suffering from X."

Define the Problem

EVALUATION

Is there a market for this problem?

In order to evaluate the viability of your business idea,

you need to do some competitive analysis,

and establish a business model that you can pursue.

Try and understand the reasons for success/failure outcomes for

as many products/businesses as you can.

 

It's worth your time.

 

P.S. That's what an MBA is (thousands of case studies).

StudYING Outcomes

GROUP ACTIVITY

STUDYING OUTCOMES

Failure:

  1. Segway
  2. Google Glass
  3. MySpace, Google+

 
Success:

  1. Walmart
  2. Zappos
  3. Slack

Competitive Analysis

  • Find and study existing competitors thoroughly
  • Try and understand why they are successful (or why not)
  • Collect metrics about their business model:
    • yearly revenue
    • # of employees
    • # of transactions (e.g. sales)
  • Learn about their founders and their mission

RESEARCH

Who is affected by this problem, and how?

User Research: Steps

  1. Identify your target users
    • e.g. emergency patients
  2. Make some rough estimations as to the market size
    • e.g. how many per day? per hospital? per city?
  3. Develop a plan to conduct user research
  4. Identify data patterns, establish user personas
    • creating a "post-it wall" of data can help visualize the data
  • Let the data sink in. It might take a while. 
  • Spend time and effort to make sense of the data, discover the hidden insights.
  • Don't bias your questions, or ask leading questions.
    • e.g. Don't ask "Would you use a product that did X?"
  • If you look for a pre-determined answer, you are sure to find it.
  • Don't interview friends... instead look for friend-of-friends, or better yet, complete strangers. They will speak the truth.
  • Learn to asses the value of each interview, cut short if necessary

User Research: Tips

  • Why do you travel?
  • How many trips do you typically take in a year?
  • Roughly how much do you spend on a given trip?
  • How long are your typical trips?
  • How many people usually travel with you?
  • How do you plan / book your travel?
  • What kind of accommodations do you typically stay at? 
  • Have you booked with AirBnB?
    • What interested you about them?
    • What was your experience like?
  • What has your experience been like with hotels?
  • Tell me about your best & worst travel experiences.

SAMPLE INTERVIEW: TRAVEL

User research is an exhausting process,

but it is a critical step.

 

Keep talking to users, keep following the data, and eventually it will lead you to a solution.

VALIDATION

Testing your hypotheses.

PROTOTYPING

  • Prototyping is one way you can test your hypotheses
  • It allows you to validate your thinking before you invest too much into a given path
  • In order for it to be valuable, it needs to be quick and easy
  • Prototypes don't have to be fancy (even short-hand sketching can work!)

SAMPLE SKETCH PROTOTYPE

INTERACTIVE Prototypes

  • Seeing users interact with a prototype is valuable: you gain a lot more insights from that then just showing them pictures
  • Many fantastic tools out there to help make interactive web and mobile prototypes quickly & easily

MVP

What is the minimum needed to satisfy user needs?

Building an MVP

  • The key to building an MVP is deciding which features to build
    • use feedback from prototypes to determine which features are the "must-haves" vs the "nice-to-haves"
  • If you do it right, your MVP will feel like it's missing a lot of features, and you'll feel like it's not ready. But it will ship.
  • Only you (and your founding team) can determine which features are required. Trust your (well-informed!) intuition.

The key to a great MVP is focus.

REVIEW:

5 STEPS TO BUILD AN IDEA

  1. Inspiration [finding problems]
  2. Evaluation [market research]
  3. Research [understanding users]
  4. Validation [prototyping ideas]
  5. MVP [focus, focus, focus]

MORE RESOURCES

 

Genius is 1% inspiration,

99% perspiration.

 

-Thomas Edison

THANKS!

    slides | bit.ly/building-ideas

 

twitter | @daretorant           

 

        web | salman.io                    

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