13 June 2018

Week 2: Lifestyle business

Doh, already missed a Tuesday deadline. Next week I’m in Italy so next update in 2 weeks time, most likely with sunburn.

Design Thinking

The skinny

How hard is it to even remember what you did in a whole week?! OK I’ll try.

I’m getting increasingly convinced that ‘bootstrapping’ (or growing sustainably with next to no money raised) might be the right path for me. The implications of this on my work are most likely that I’ll have to get to revenue much faster, and be comfortable with steady sustainable growth over rocketship Techcrunch yada yada. So far, very comfortable with that idea. More on why below.

In other news, I’ve managed to find meaningful periods for ‘maker time’ this week, meaning I’ve now gone #fullfigma (for you design nerds) and thrown together a whole load of propositions for me to test on a couple of the personas I’ve developed (one of which is me).

I know I know, still not said what I’m actually working on yet. Hopefully I’ll feel in a good place to reveal that very soon, but it’s still too hazy in my head for me to be able to concisely explain it, and I want to get a super clear picture of the problem through interviews first.

My to-do list from last week:

  • Speak to 10 users (done-ish. Slack groups can be wonderful things for mass opinion)
  • Get a survey I decided to start and finish in a day 5 days ago out to people… (on hold – my understanding has changed)
  • Write a first proper blog post about my chosen problem (Nope. Not yet.)
  • Define an MVP (This is actually done, and probably was 50% of my focus. Will write more below)

The Good

  • Two or three great conversations with founders over the last week have reaffirmed my conviction that what I’m working on absolutely doesn’t need to be a high growth ‘VC-backed’ business. The echo chamber effect 100% applies here but the more I look, the more stories I find from people who have taken the money without making sure it’s what they want, and regretting it. The numbers are stark: 3-5% of VC-backed companies have a really positive outcome (Good for founders). So easy to fall prey to survivorship bias when reading tech press. (I’ll link to some of my reading below)
  • I’ve found a way to build an MVP of a product with next to zero engineering time. It’s interactive and fun, I can iterate fast, I can use it as part of customer development from day 1 and it’s keeping me up at night. This is a bloody good sign.
  • Kaz (my wife) and I have been planning a ‘cheap sun’ week’s holiday in Puglia - we fly on Sunday! I so often find that inspiration strikes when I’m away from a work environment that I need to build that into my process more. This is a good start. Plus Burrata. Mmmmm Burrata.

The bad

  • Getting buffeted around by small things in my calendar has a catastrophic effect on productivity. Days with patchwork calendar invites result in significantly less output. Flow is really really a thing – it’s funny how having a manager’s calendar for the last 2 years let me forget that. Sorry to anyone who’s shoulder I tapped or slack I pinged unnecessarily during that time.
  • It’s also not good for those who I’ve organised those small things with. I missed two potentially vital conversations over the last week because I was in head down mode. I really need to double down on time management.


Goals for next week (until 27th June)

  • Speak to 10 more users (interviews lined up with several already)
  • Build the landing page I designed for my scrappy MVP, and share on a couple of the friendly communities for feedback
  • Get a v0.1 MVP up and running and test on someone (maybe my wife) - this one is a stretch…
  • (carried over) Explain what I’m working on in a blog post/mailout

If you happen to be reading this and you want the big reveal in your inbox, do sign up to my mailing list below. So far I haven’t sent an email to it, I think that will be my first.