Our platform a-change went live four weeks ago.
I thought that by leveraging from my network at LinkedIn, we would get some initial traffic and that was going to be it.
I thought a peak would expectedly appear on our analytics during the first days or maybe a week and that was going to be it.
But the truth is that at least 2 people had visited our website every single day since we lauched our “MVP” and we’ve had a bit more than 700 unique visitors. That’s kind of cool, but…
Is this only the only thing we do or look at everyday?
No, it’s not.
It is indeed cool to experiment with all these tools and put into practice recent learnings about HTML/CSS and building a website. I’ve helped building and evaluating which tools to use but honestly, this was the first time I’ve built one myself (build here means fundamentally dragging and dropping).
Despite those things what I think it’s really cool is to start Discovery.
As a former colleague recently told me:
Discovery is one of the most exciting parts…”
I can not agree more.
Going back to these graphs above:
Are these graphs so important at this point?
Honestly, they are not. They are all, as you might heard in the Lean Startup lingo, vanity metrics: raw numbers that could be easily manipulated and they aren’t actionable. It doesn’t help us so much making decisions or strategyze. All in all, it could help a startup look good but hardly tells you any truth about why you look good at any point of time; that’s why we get out of the building.
Nevertheless, these graphs has helped us with two things:
1) A starting point to first find a problem worth solving, before defining any solution.
The launch of this “MVP” has helped us kick-start our first step in our process of Customer Development, namely Customer Discovery.
You might have seen this image before:
What preceded this launch was not crafting a 60-pages business plan or wasting a month doing secondary research, rather agreeing on using Customer Development as a process for searching for a repetable and scalable business model and crafting jointly a brief that explains succinctly and clearly our hypotheses backed by the rough size of the market we believe we are in.
Perhaps for you reading, this might look like a waste of time but I’ve found this step truly important for any startup as a tool for communication among team members, clear understanding, shared vision and above all triggering already thinking about what sort of experiments you’d like to perform to test your hypotheses.
So, all in all, putting “something live” as fast as we could has helped us validate our understanding of the “problem worth solving” with no solutions in our mind.
2) How to find early believers (not adopters).
Along with the “MVP”, we’ve received our first feedbacks about our mission/vision and people who would like to join us on this quest and/or has resonated with the concept of being or becoming an Agent of Change.
Inspiring emails and LinkedIn messages are arriving to our inboxes that are partially validating the way we want to invest in the development of future entrepreneurs and accompany them in their journey of building lovable products and innovative companies.
Meet for example Katherina:
“I am amazed by the initiative of a-change and would love to add some value to the team!”
I personally love this part:
Great leadership can!
So I started to work for a startup and build up all people structures from scratch while almost doubling in team size at that time. I highly enjoyed being part of a uniquely awesome team, but I was beginning to wonder: turning chaos into efficiency and seeing the heart of a startup beat from within, what was the one component that would drive the whole team towards wanting to go the extra-mile day by day. You know how it is — no startup in the world can offer that much money to achieve that — but great leadership can! So here we go.
“No startup in the world can afford that much money to achieve that.”
Going back to our point 1 about about solving worthy problems, we are thrilled to discover how can we solve that.
Katherina has made more than our day after we launched and it’s a great feeling of fulfillment that in such a short time people like her believes in this vision and wants to be part of it. Thank you Katherina! :)
Along with stories like Katherina, we have also found a way to talk to ten (10) different Startup Founders in Berlin.
I believe Discovery is so exciting because of the amount of learning you can generate and the opportunity to validate things like:
- The challenges Founders face when evaluating the ideal time to raise capital and where to start this quest.
- The challenge of communicating to different team members; more challenging if they are working remotely.
- The importance of investing not in a Startup idea but in people: their founders, their teams and their families.
- The excitement that a-change has created among people who wants to join us despite being in a very early stage with no product idea at all.
And even more surprisingly, young people deciding against a summer job at a bigger company and wanting to join a-change in search of purpose, autonomy, experimentation, empowerment and the chance to grow personally by learning from peers and our network.
That’s why we say we don’t have early adopters, we have discovered early believers.
Many people talk nowadays about “the future of work”, I believe we are already creating it. We are empowering tomorrow’s agents of change, today.
Now, really. What do we do (or try to do) everyday?
First, Eugenia and I do planning every mondays and fridays (our weekly check-in/out). Unfortunately we still don’t have a fixed place to work so these are mostly remotely. Along with that, we are:
- Finding the pains, talking to people, not selling anything.
- Evaluating a number of value propositions and testing them.
- Trying to cover as much time as we can finding and talking to Startup Founders in Berlin.
- Hacking spaces so we can work with miminal expenses and bootstrapping as much as we can.
- Lastly, we recently set our OKRs to have a clear measurement of progress with success metrics (A.K.A innovation accounting). I’m fulfilling one already with this post… :D !
We are also finding a way to keep the lights on as much as we can by getting ready to provide services ourselves. We are currently offering hands-on session to implement OKRs at Startups and soon offering Innovation Sprints; luckly we have experience running 50+ Design Sprint within our team.
So, are we a Lean Startup?
I still don’t know. But we believe we have the mindset.
At least we are trying to learn as fast as possible, solve a problem worth solving, spending most of our time talking to people and spending the least amount of resources to validate our business model assumptions.
All in all, what I can honestly assure to you is that my Google Calendar looks so much better than it used to look in my previous job and most importantly, I feel joy every time I have to open it only because at a-change:
We commit to discover and inspire the entrepreneurs who are determined to build innovative companies and lovable products.
We continue on our mission.
Thanks for reading until here! :)
Feel free to contact us here below or at https://joinachange.com/lets-talk
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -
As you might have realized until this point, I’ve always quoted “MVP”, which is a term that is interpreted and understood differently by many people.
For us, it boils down to the following definition at this point:
Our MVP is the current version of our website that has enabled us to make a full turn on the -ideas-BUILD-product-MEASURE-data-LEARN- loop with the minimum time investment. It has helped us accelerate the process of learning by getting us closer to early believers and test our riskiest business model assumptions.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —