Day25- Back to the customer

That’s where it all starts

Aug. 29th, 2016

After a week or so of catching up on blog posts, exploring the world of social media, finding online support groups, and preparing for Watson, I feel that I may have gotten a bit side tracked from what I should be focusing on: the customer.

I have a golden opportunity with my first paying customer, and I worry that I am not doing enough to ensure it is a successful experience both for the client and myself. So today I called the customer and spoke more about the work ahead.

We came to the conclusion that the most effective way to get engagement from the student body and facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration at Tulane would be to run a live pitch event, similar to FailUp to Startup, where we would offer a monetary prize to a winner.

We would solicit applications via social media, asking students to submit a 1:00 pitch. The event would take place on September 20th, which gives us some time to market the opportunity. I’m glad that we came to this conclusion, since I have experience organizing and promoting idea competitions and events at Tulane. I feel comfortable with this work, all that I need to do is help get word out, and recruit the talent required to make the event success.

Now, as I am figuring out what’s next in the life of FailUp, I feel a bit scatter-brained. There’s the customer and pitch event at Tulane, there’s the Watson training in Boulder, there’s the Jog Blog that I’m now doing everyday, and still, the overall direction and strategy of the company appears a bit blurry. What are my objectives and how am I working to meet those objectives? What is the strategy?

Good advice that I have received over and over is to start simple: build an email list. But what for? What is the purpose? And how would I deliver value? Well, I think it goes back to the basics, something I continuously struggle with: solving a customer’s problems.

Well, after my I-Corps experience I came to a few conclusions. Customer = Entrepreneur. Problem = Failure (for what I believe is largely because of ineffective connectivity). Entrepreneurs need a community of other entrepreneurs to learn from and grow with. The value: personalized feedback, real accountability, and high-quality mentorship.

Reflecting on my past, building an email list for aspiring entrepreneurs is something that I have done before, but my (non-paying) customer was Tulane student entrepreneurs. By now, the list is outdated, almost all have since graduated. So if not Tulane students, who more specifically is my customer? And what is the problem?

Still need to figure this out… But let me think more critically. I’m in Boulder. Maybe I should look around. I’ve worked with and continue to work with students, maybe I should be thinking about how I can provide the most value to students at universities like Watson, and of course, the big university down the street: CU-Boulder.