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This should be an 11 min read June 12, 2020 Usually, when people think about building and launching a startup, they plan it out a few weeks in advance. In my experience doing software consulting, I’ve seen and worked on some projects where the founders take 2 – 3 months to launch the first version of their product. That’s too much time and effort sunk into a project that may not work. Why you need to get your Minimum Viable Product out ASAP The problem is that most people are not comfortable with launching a minimum viable product. Founders are often creative people who love to explore and dive into “wouldn’t it be cool if”s. This habit can result in a continuous loop of adding features, even before the first version of your product is released. Perfectionism can often get in the way of execution, and I’ve fallen for this trap many times. My first product (SideQuest) took me four months to build and launch. To continue developing an untested product is, to put it bluntly, arrogant. Here’s why: it assumes that what you are making is vital for your customer. It assumes that you know what’s best for your user. You don’t. Image: What your startup journey will probably look like No founder knows until they launch their startup and get feedback from people. Your first version is likely going to suck; it might even miss the mark or be utterly irrelevant to the market. You need to get any negative and positive signals from your target market as soon as possible. That was what we tried to do with MeetButter. Everyone on our team has had experience getting burnt by wasting time, runway, effort, and emotion building products or features that were inconsequential in the larger picture. Here’s the story of how we managed to build and ship MeetButter in three weeks. Step 1 – Identification It started with a thread The first spark for MeetButter was a Slack thread discussing the pains teachers and educators were dealing with transitioning their classrooms from offline to online. We found that there was a very human problem with online video conferencing – they only allowed the focus to one speaker at a time. It was awkward interrupting the speaker, and this caused some participants to feel reluctant to engage. The discussion thread grew, with more anecdotes and feedback from our friends and family. Identifying the problem is the first step. It’s crucial to figure out the groups of people that are facing the same issues and gathering feedback from them. Step 2 – Investigation We decided to take this asynchronous discussion and organize a synchronous brainstorm session. During this particular session, we discussed three significant problems that we had identified and were interested in solving. On the list was the aforementioned “video conferencing” – which eventually became MeetButter. Breaking down the current video conferencing experience Some significant points were brought up by everyone on the team, and we found that these were problems that each one of us had faced while doing online video conferencing: It’s difficult to indicate an interest in speaking, reply to the current conversation, or add to the discussion without feeling like you’re interrupting the current speaker. » Read More
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