This is part of a series of blogpost writing about how we are creating our startup. See part 1 here
Starting up a startup
Our Hack-a-John sprint (see part 1) left us with one idea. This idea focussed around traveling whereby our product would help people organize and visualize their trips. When we reflected upon this idea we where unsure if it really serves a user need that is strong enough to be economically viable.
Since we were unsure, and everything was still based on our assumptions we agreed upon doing an afternoon of research to challenge our idea. This meant we did desk research and started going into the real world (finally) by interviewing our target audience. A simple google search ‘travel startup’ is enough already to disprove our idea. It’s simple;
Planning a trip isn’t a problem for most people
Most people only experience these issues once a year, and the issues are not serious enough for people to start looking for products solving these issues.
innovation goes in steps: 1–10–100
Even though we gave up on our idea, we didn’t feel disappointed. In our experience innovation never works well in your first try. This is why we used the 1–10–100 method (read more in part 1).
This ‘1-phase’ is very much about ourselves. What do I/we think is wrong in the world? What are my/our needs? What problems do I/we want to solve?By thinking about these questions you are only using your own insights, thus your assumptions on how things work. It is smart to get all your assumptions out as soon as possible, since;
assumptions are the mother off all fuck-ups.
We didn’t spend much time on this sprint and we have proven that is likely not to work in the real world, which is why we where happy to leave this idea.
How did we go beyond our own assumptions?
For the next phase, the ‘10-phase’ we needed to go beyond our own assumptions. We did this by forcing ourself to think about technology first. We reflected upon our travel product and saw that the most important value of this idea was using data, and enriching the data the user provides. Since some of the team have a history in working with data, and the others where interested in working with data, we agreed upon thinking further in the possibilities and problems of using data.
Since not all of us are experienced with (big)data, we started by going to the pub (beer always helps…) to have an educational talk about our own experience and vision about using data. When looking into data, concerns about privacy became really clear to us. Data is scary, and we don’t really know who owns our own data. This is why we ended up with the question: “How might we make the use of private data more transparent?”
So enter the hottest technology in the tech world right now: the blockchain. Can the blockchain solve issues related to privacy? When looking into the blockchain we immediately saw the potential of using the blockchain to solve issues in a way that has never been done before. We’ve all heard about how bitcoin is going to change the financial world, but it’s potential is much bigger.
The Ethereum project is making this infrastructural side of bitcoin (the blockchain) even more interesting. Ethereum does this by using something they call smart contracts. This means every unit in Ethereum can be a seen as a bit of programming code. So every time a transaction takes places, this bit of programming code will execute and can for example verify if all the conditions of the contract are being met.
Finding a problem for our solution
So in this ‘10-phase’ we ended up finding a problem for our solution. Which is arguably not the best way of going there, but innovation is messy and a unorganized process. Innovation (to us) is creating new ideas by mixing ideas that already exist. The ‘10-phase’ is in limbo between our own assumptions and the real world. We used the learnings of the ‘1-phase’ to guide use through the ‘10-phase’ in a rational way.
For this ‘10-phase’ we dove deep into the possibilities of this technology and what it could potentially offer. We did this by reading a lot of articles, but also by reaching out to people in the industry. We ended up not going for a concept based around privacy, but looking more into the potential of the blockchain. This lead us to using the blockchain to prevent fraud for event tickets.
Making it real
The first indications for our startup idea were good. A quick round of interviews and desk research proof to us that our idea had potential and there is a real need to solve this problem. So we are now using the ‘100-phase’ to put ourselves and our concept completely into the real world.
Since we at this moment don’t have the capability of making a Minimal Viable Product within a short amount of time, we settled for proving that our future product will solve a need. We did this by making a landing page for our product which we use to prove our value proposition by showing it to real users and clients. At this moment we are in the process of getting media & press attention to prove our business is viable.
We don’t have all the answers yet, but by putting our concept into the real world we are learning a lot. Not everything is going as planned (of course). We are getting into contact by people that are really helping us forward and people are generally really interested and positive about our solution.
fail as soon as possible, so you can learn and adapt as soon as possible.
If you are interested in our team or project, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Team Tiny Dancers
Davey van der Woert,
Dag Otto Lund Christensen,