Part 1: Developing Your Product & Testing Your Idea
This video is part one of a series of seven videos created by Anthony Rose, Founder and CEO of SeedLegals, who’d like to share his thoughts, advice, mistakes, and learnings from his extensive career in startups, so that you can avoid the same mistakes and get off to a running start when creating yours.
You have an idea, but is it a good idea? Is there a need for the app or product that you’re keen to create? Buy and read The Mom Test - it will give you the tools that will enable you to ask the right questions to determine whether your idea is good or not.
What’s the next step? How do you go about product development? Companies fill a spectrum of approaches from the apocryphal “Steve jobs way” to the “Google way”.
- The “Steve Jobs Way”: You have a messianic figure who knows exactly what people want, can interface with a product team, and tell them what they want built. But what happens if this figure is no longer with you, or loses touch, or runs out of ideas? Then you could run into problems.
- The “Google way”: You’re making enough money from your primary product that you can afford to plant a thousand seeds and see which flowers bloom. We now see, years later, Google cutting down many of its ideas because they didn’t align with a corporate strategy.
Both these extremes can be replaced by Lean Startup Thinking.
Lean Startup Thinking: Have an idea and then test it. The idea is to fail fast and fail cheaply. Failure is just fine as long as your product fails before you build it!
But how do you help fail an idea before you invest too much into it?
- The first thing to determine is; are you the target audience?: Use research and analysis to identify the key audience groupings and determine who your target is. You will often realise that you/your team/friends/family are not your target audience and so these are not the people you should be testing your prototype on. Listen to the wrong people and you will find yourself building the wrong features.
- Prototype things! Build a prototype or mockup before you invest in an app. A wide variety of tool exist to help you do this including; Invision, Marvel, Flinto, and Proto IO. You can make something that’s clickable that looks like the real thing in hours, which you can then test on your target audience before re-iterating this process in a rapid period of time.
- Sometimes you’ll need more data than you can obtain from a mockup alone. Once your product is developed and live you’ll typically be able to access analytics to see how people are using it. AB testing can be a great way to test out new features without having to release multiple versions of the same app. Bear in mind that to successfully AB test you will need a certain level of usership.
Another recommended book is Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love. Read this as well as The Mom Test and The Lean Startup and see how you can test an idea before you spend money building it.