I’m starting the preparation for Lean Launchpad summer course.Thank you for a lot help, I was able to get in to the class with a lot help from my team members.
The reason why I applied this course is to be a designer in tech and architecture. When I scaled down from architectural design field to tech, not building an architecture from the scratch, I realised I need clients who are actually investors or customers. Being an architect is not easy to be. Especially, when they aim to be a world class architect, the way is extremely hard that they have a number of special talents and connections aside from designing skills.
Architecture is not individual work yet anyone can hire experienced architects if they have a budget or great clients. 1. politically strong architects like top of academy(this is highly political) 2. powerful for racism reasons like Libeskind and David Adjaye(Jewish and Black african) 3. powerful for media and sales (surprisingly Tadao Ando convinced clients to built a couple of canonical architecture without any architectural background and he became a world class architect, this is bloody amazing) My super late application after the show to ITP got the place. Yet, I was a bit nervous I did not go to MIT or Harvard. I just wanted to come to NY…and my friend guessed about it. I know you are thinking to go to NY. Especially NY is a great place to learn business as a lot opportunities for pitches and supports. NYU is a great resource in doing it. And then, I applied for Lean Launchpad. 5 days Lean Launchpad is introduction course for lean launch startup program.
The idea behind is how to increase the rate of success for startup companies. Harvard Business School’s Shikhar Ghosh shows, 75% of all start-ups fail. Startup is very exciting yet at the same time, very risky. Steve Blank called Master of innovation set up a manual to succeed in beginning startup company. His manual is very structured yet its main point is “get out of the building and talk to humans”. It seems very new idea yet it’s probably too basic point of view that we have to know how people respond to our product if we want to do business. If we cannot attract customers, any great product won’t survive. A number of people have a little interests in making something with small passion and easily change their directions in order to catch up ‘trend’ yet they do not think they can create a trend. For a designer, changing our ideas and designing cheaply is not a way we want to be. I want to adjust my designing for customers. I need to know how my design meets demands or let’s say, my limitations. First video: Introduction for lean launchpad how to start this course – Steve recommended to read even optional readings and participate in classes The reading lists: The Startup Owner’s Manual Strategy Guide and Business Model Generation Harvard Business Review – Why the Lean Startup can change everything Summary For an architect with longer education without any business study chance to survive which eventually makes us to be mind labours, having hands-on experience sounds proper. Yet, it seems conventional business planning has made 5 years of forecast with detailed math calculations.
- Sketch business model canvas nine building blocks: This is not creating an intricate conventional business plan yet a good hypothesis(focus on the quality: scalable and repeatable).
- ‘Get out of the building’ and test their hypothesis. Use customers’ input to revise their assumptions.Cycle this over again.
- Practice agile development by hand-in-hand with customer development.
Interestingly, I remembered in my AA life that there were always severe arguments about ‘data’. What does it mean? How can it be accurate? Does it design something? Some units employ direct method to take an action and design architecture based on real experiences and performances. I preferred narrative as I was fun of Rem Koolhaas and OMA. Anyway, Steve Blank’s method about ‘beta test’ has been very popular in a short time period. He also points out 5 factors why traditional method of start-up companies have failed a lot.
- getting high cost to gain the first customer and even higher cost in making wrong product for customers(Lean method has customer first)
- wrong technology development
- limited number of investors in start-ups
- VC investors demand high investment and high return
- investors look at only west and east coast
He continued today, hardware development has had potential because of the data format and open source softwares(obviously with 3Dprinting). Another trend is angel fund and crowdsource funding. He also believes that Lean is a method to accelerate tech ventures yet he thinks to make street business can grow global market even which will grow GDP eventually. I understand about this. Today’s economy is not a lack of foods, yet lack of additional value to spend on to create new job opportunities. His conclusion is Lean method will be very useful to adjust stressful rapidly-changing today’s industries and markets.
Now, moving on to next videos and steps. no time;;) Next reading: Talk to Humans This is a good course book for all students who will take Lean Launchpad course. I will summarise the contents here to make sure to do lists for us to prepare for this course. We need to do a lot submissions, presentations, and conversation which we will do for Steve Blank. It basically tells why ‘innovation alone’ cannot succeed in business. That is because they do not know the targets. That is really makes sense. When I created the first prototype, Mnemonic Making, I expected to have a large interests from designers yet I realised that ITP is not a showcase for a designers. For me, it was architectural fictional proposal, conventional in the AA, yet in tech field, I had to present in a different way. The program was there, mechanism was fine, so I wanted to make design development and demo to others. Like Eams house of cards, I expected to have some design lovers etc, yet people started to say wow, this is an educational toy. I want to have one for kids, I wanna buy one! One thing remind me is OMA their researches are based on interviewing people. Meeting and talking to people will be significant in any cases.
Like we examine architectural space is very complicated and numerous factors, I think toy making also demands great designing skills including phycological point of views. Designers have to be careful about materials, feeling of touch, smells, and very importantly the sounds and interactive effects. How my designing meets customers? Probably, customers demands a system and functional aspect than detailed ornamentations although designing play an extremely important role like Apple computer has been winning. The book recommends us to sketch out all the factors about a product we want to sell on a market including:
- deep insights about customers(meet, speak and research about them)
- any idea has to be validated for a market
- prepare interviews before going to
- ask right questions to people, how the risks can be overcome
- be creative to recruit(we don’t need it)
- sometimes observe customers
- take good notes especially about RISKS
- analyse my patterns (make diagrams, chart etc)
- ask hardest questions always
So, then who is the right people to ask about our product? Technology needs a bit of time for people to adopt it. Once we decided our targets, next things we do are to address below:
- how can we find our subjects?
- what do we want to learn from our subjects?
- how will we get to them?
- how can you ensure an effective session(preparing interview)?
- how do you make sense of what you learn?
Steve makes a lot important points I was pretty much shocked. 1. how we can find our subjects? I remember in my third year in the AA, I was on a workshop held by a guy worked in OMA. He asked us to interview people as a part of research. The interview did not make any sense as it turned up very suddenly before we made the proposal. Yet, the experience was quite hard. It was in winter and I was waiting people outside of a supermarket, bookstore. Whatever, I wanted to finish things and ask people as much as possible. I could gain only 3 people by spending 2-3 hours. I believed I could just go to a school or find friends’ friends. Yet, what if interviewees, e.g. teachers are very busy when I visited that they do not have a lot time to talk with us? And how long does the interview take? I expected 10min yet he says 20min. Such a lot. But also I realised when I asked Economist manager about how they gain a crucial data to tell. Economist sells data to business people as it makes a lot money. He told me that they have journalists around the world so they just see and talk people by saying ‘I’m a journalist’. That is a quite good idea. Wow, so much surviving skills.
The notes from Talking to Humans are below:
1.how can we find our subjects?
- specify our targets B2B or B2C?
- be creative(are your subjects are available when you find them?)
- go conferences and meetups
- Find people with titles(company executive?)
- don’t talk to CEO yet talk to gatekeepers
- use online forms and landing pages
2. What do you want to learn? How do we know your most important question?
- start from telling a story
- Don’t speculate
- Ask Open-ended questions
- Test the price(how much would you pay to make this problem solved? cost for preparations, prototypes, and budget to make it products)
- Get feedback on s prototype
- Ask open-ended magic wand question(what do you want if there is no restrictions)
- Do design pass/fail tests how many people are in favour of our product by open-ended question
- observe them
3. How to ensure an effective sessions?
- do interview in person or skype
- talk to one person at a time
- explain why I’m doing it and introduce myself
- start from telling a story
- Listen, Don’t talk
- looking for solution hacks(some are looking for solutions)
- repeat important answers, Parrot back
4. How do you make sense what you learn?
- take picture(permission)
- take data of interview(who, when, how)
- do quantitative measures (how customer benefits? do they willing to pay for it?)
- do brain storming in my group
- analyse it (find a pattern)
- know it’s not absolute truth of my products
- never stop talking to humans
*done with reading Talk to humans, Yes!
Next, reading Startup Owners Manual
The text claims that most startups lack a structured process for testing their business model hypotheses. Steve’s customer development model is designed to solve nine(I don’t know what’s ‘NINE’, though) problems of the product development model.
Steve emphasises startup companies are different from existing companies because they have already have customers and business there. Fundamentally, skills and ability demanded to succeed in startup are more hand-on experiences to know the business model can actually gain customers.
In his theory, startup companies…
- don’t have customers yet
- series of guessing about customers’ features
- tend to focus on launch date to sell products without having their customers(they guess)
- tend to have business model but business plan to get things done
- their plan tend to be thought there’s no trial and errors
- their job titles should not be the same as existing big company(it’s not a small version of big company)
- sales and marketing department execute business plan, unknown
- Presumption of Success Leads to Premature Scaling about customers
- management by crisis leads to a death spiral(it’s too late…)
In Chapter II:
Steve Suggested a structured process to take to begin wit, four phases:
The four steps are separated by two main categories, ‘Search’ and ‘Execution’
Search: Customer Discovery and Customer Validation (these processes have to be repeated until they gain the right business model)
Execution: Customer Creation and Company Building
- Customer Discovery captures the founder’s vision and turn it into a series of business model hypotheses and then it develop to a plan to test customer reaction
- Customer validation tests whether the resulting business repeatable and scalable. If not, we need to return to Customer Discovery
- Customer Creation is the start of execution. It builds end-user demand and drives it into the sales channel to scale the business
- Company-building transitions the organisation from a startup to a company focused on executing a validated model(check matching with the business model)
Here is final reading for lesson I, Business Model Generation:
The Nine Building Blocks of Business Model Generation
- Customer Segments: a business model has one or couple of large or small customer segments (mass customer, segmented, niched, or multiple)
- Value Propositions: this is why the customer turn into new company over another (newness, customisation, better performance, price, design, branding, usability, cost reduction, etc)
- Channels: through which channel do the customers reach to us, before after(where to get their attentions, how they evaluate us, where they buy, how we deliver)
- Customer Relationships: support (personal assistance, community, self-service, co-relation)
- Revenue Streams: how we gain money from customers(usage fee, subscription fee, licensing, renting/ fixed or dynamic, ad fee?)
- Key resources: what key resources the value requires? (physical, intellectual, human, manufacturing, design importance, etc)
- Key activities: production(making), problem solving, platform/networking (MM is networking as it relies on saving function)
- Key Partnerships: who is key suppliers?(retails, online store..)
- Cost structure: cost-driven, value-driven(MM is value driven), fixed cost, dynamic cost etc
so far, MM’s business canvas is:
Here, I’ve done with this final reading.
Notes from Steve’s videos about customer discovery
3. feedbacks and analysis/ insight
- find 100 names
- use social media
- B2B? B2C?
- Start in the middle
Do face to face! Richest data finding!
Say what should i have asked?!
1. Validate my initial hypothesis
2. Design pass/fail tests
3. Be aggressive
1. introduce yourself (gentle and tell them not selling any product yet need a feedbacks)
2. Prepare to Listen!
3. record the conversation and take pictures (ask permission)
4. It’s not about pitching yet test hypothesis and assumptions
5. size the opportunity (if everybody buys this, how many years to take it? and possible to get the numbers?)
6. competitions (how can it be unique?)
7. existing or new market?
8. Find meaning in your data
9. interviews can lead to new ideas and insights
10. insight requires a lot interviews and insights are extracted from the rich data.
11. don’t stuck with technical point of view yet listen for market, customers and industry insights.