The week immediately following our time at the NDRC was a tough one. We had been pushed at an incredible pace by the NDRC team for six weeks, with constantly shifting and advancing goals leading to our validation pitch.
Now we had to set our own. Do we put our heads down and build?
While immensely proud of our achievement, we are still a startup looking for customers and constantly refining our product. The logical extension has been to work to attract partners on the basis of what we had learned.
We quickly found that one of the next major stumbling blocks to progressing our business from validation, is quickly getting into the build, measure, learn feedback loop. Flush with the confidence of our validation work, which already forced one pivot, we could have gone ahead and started spending on development.
Something about that kind of leap didn’t feel right. We are going to build, no doubt about it, but it makes more sense that building should be a small step, not a leap, after enough has been learned. To us, it still felt like a leap.
We must have more to learn. And more assumptions to toss.
How can we do that quickly?
Draining your Research
We each spent the week going back through the discovery interviews. Why? Well we shared the burden, so some would have been unfamiliar, and we were mining them previously for validation, what would they tell us about potential customers?
Quite a lot as it happens. When we read over the reviews initially, we were looking to group responses to validate / invalidate our product assumptions. We then ended up with a product offering.
When we revisited the interviews — less than a fortnight after they had been done — we were looking for enthusiasm and leads. We didn’t want to know the pain points as much as we needed to identify an early adopter.
We saw a lot of gaps in our research, a lot of answers hinted at early adoption like ‘we are shifting to soft-copy’, ‘we have tried digital’ but we didn’t follow up enough.
At the end of the week, we regrouped to share our learning. Each of us did th exercise independently to flush out biases. What we got was a shared list of six potential partners. We have to return to our interviewees and ask for another conversation to fill in the gaps.
Bringing Something to the Table
For me, as CEO, I wanted to be sure we had something to bring to this conversation. We thought we had learned some of what these customers wanted, so could we show them what we learned and take the conversation forward that way?
This returns to the original conundrum. Do we build yet?
So we didn’t we spent some time working out some flows that our customers suggested they wanted and we worked it up into a walk-through video.
Safecility 0.1 is (a)live!
The creative destruction comes next, we have a hook to talk to our adopters and something that lets them give us actionable feedback. We haven’t started building and we are narrowing down who will work with us on getting a functioning product into the hands of customers.
It will be interesting to see how many of our assumptions, insights and hypothesis withstand this first blush of reality!
If you would like to talk to us about Safecility 1.0 we have a list set up — it would be great if you joined it!