After the Startup Weekend of April 2014, I found out about a new program organized by the same organizing team. RISE @ Cocoon should guide early startups on what would be next after SWHK. I was eager to learn more, because I felt that I was onto something with my idea, but it was still hard to define the path forward.
For my startup idea, Flippercast, I still needed to find the all combining element that would strike a chord with my target audience. The scope is broad, since I want to build a new open-source web content management sytem that eases collaboration between web designers and web developers. Feature creep easily happens. I hoped RISE @ Cocoon would be able to help me to discover the essence of my idea, and finding a way to build my MVP.
So it was thrilling to learn that Flippercast was accepted into the program. There were weekly gatherings together with 3 other teams. Every week we would get assignments to learn more about a topic in the Lean Startup methodology.
Now you might think ‘oh, I know about that already,’ which were my thoughts exactly. However, this is where I felt the program shines. During those gatherings we had workshops with mentors to exercise a topic. These workshops are great, because there is a big difference between reading about something and actually doing it.
We also did workshops on topics that were not applicable to the current stage of our startups, however likely to happen in the months up ahead. That was a nice introduction on what was to come, and to set focus for the current stage.
The mentors that participated in the progam were very hands-on, and gave great advice. Not only on methodologies, but also on things that would reflect whether you would be fit for running a startup, and encouragement to keep going.
The one thing that had the most impact, was the way of interviewing customers and relating this to customer discovery elements. The assignments were a great demonstration of the effectiveness, and it had a big influence on how I shaped my idea into a clear direction. With that I was able to explain myself better, and I believe this helped to excite others. Thanks to that I’m happy that I’ve been able to welcome 2 new co-founders to the team.
The program kept the startup buzz going after the Startup Weekend, and I can recommend anyone who is serious about continuing their idea after the weekend, to join this program the next time. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, and you’ll learn exactly about what you’re up against. Give it a shot!
If you’d like to know more about what I’ve learned during the program, feel free to chat with me at the meetups I organize every friday. Just search for ‘Friday Beer Bay’ on meetup.com.
Post written by Bart Verkoeijen
Featured image from http://startupstockphotos.com/
Startup Weekend has introduced many of you to Customer Development. You’ve learned how to “get out of the building” and validate your hypotheses. You’ve been on the journey to product/market fit. Some of you have reached a clear value proposition that really addresses the needs of a specific customer segment. Congratulations!
But once you get there, do you know how to scale the reach of your offer? Do you know how to give your product the popularity it really deserves?
The authors interviewed 40 well known startup entrepreneurs – including Jimmy Wales, Alexis Ohanian and Noah Kagan to mention but a few – and analysed many more startups, to understand how their products reached traction. The results are some great insights into many different traction channels, and a very practical framework that you can apply in your own search for traction.
The book devotes 19 chapters to analysis and suggestions on as many traction channels. Some are online – from SEM and social ads to content marketing and email marketing – and some are offline – including trade shows, community building, and – yes – newspaper ads.
The most important observation the authors make is that, just based on the product you have, there is no way to tell in advance what traction channel may work for you. Because of this, the authors devised a framework that lets you consider all channels, and select a few to run some test on.
Only after some testing and measurements, can you then confidently focus all your marketing energies on the one channel that shows the most promise. Never select your channels just based on what you may think will work, or you may miss some great opportunities.
Traction is out at the end of August. I’ve had the luck to have early access to the book. I strongly believe its framework to search for traction is going to be as helpful to startups as Steve Blank’s customer development and Osterwalder’s business model canvas. I definitely advise you read it too.