The one hour start up — Bring me wine!

Like all good ideas, this one began in the pub.

While celebrating the midway point of a product management course with my classmates, I thought I’d run a small experiment; to see how quickly I could build an MVP of a case study we had examined in class, using only my phone.

Step 1 — Get a name

Registered the domain name:

Time: 10 mins.

Cost: £3.49 for a year (Godaddy)

Step 2 — Launch an online store

  1. Register on Shopify
  2. Select a theme
  3. Upload my first product (Blue Nun)
  4. Choose a discouraging price-point so I wouldn’t actually have to deliver any wine. £10 for the wine, £10 for delivery.
  5. Launch it

Time: 30 mins

Cost: Free (2 week trial)

Step 3 — Tell the world

I set up a twitter account, announced the launch of my new wine-on-demand product and immediately began trolling my friends.

Time: 10 mins

Cost: Free


Within minutes I had my first order — from a skeptical classmate who wanted to see if I could deliver.

With no actual inventory, I went to the nearest bar, negotiated the barman down to a sub- £20 price for a bottle — and presented it to my first customer.

Time to delivery: 2 minutes

Profit: 20 pence.

Feedback: “Happy”

Second customer: This is when S**t got real… ish. My second customer (whether impressed or skeptical) placed an order, then published an article on the process on their blog. Bluff called!

Could I deliver in quick time? nye…ope. But I came close!

Had this customer lived in central London, I could have use one of several delivery methods— but this was my challenge:

Evidently I was not going to deliver on the night, but could I match the nearest competition and get it there next (or technically the same) day? I thought I’d give it a go — I placed an order at a local supermarket and booked a delivery slot. I fulfilled the order, took the payment and went to bed.


Early this morning I received an urgent call from the supermarket’s bemused fraud team. Was I sure I wanted to buy one £5 bottle of wine and spend £4 on delivery, to a place half a mile away?

“er… yeah.”

“Ok, we had to check because we get fraudulent transactions like this… [pause]... This makes no sense”


I issued a refund, but will let the delivery proceed anyway to see how well that works — I might update this post.

[update] — the wine arrived a few hours later. A good result for my first foray into on-demand delivery; with a network of delivery people, and a small inventory, this time could be much reduced…

Next steps?

  • Test on real audience — and learn their price-point.
  • Move into red wine.


Conclusion/Lessons learned.

  • Setting up online stores is ridiculously quick cheap and easy.
  • Wizard of Oz tests for on-demand services are hard — but fun — to execute.
  • People will overpay for one-off novelty items.