Colin Barry

Entrepreneurial Product Development (15.390, Monday, Week 9)


Delicate balance between learning, speed, and focus in new ventures (via Ash Maurya, "Running Lean")

Formula for product dev:
(1) Before you build anything, test against target customers with visuals (storyboards, drawings, prototypes).
(2) Understand your "core" (sustainable competitive advantage; whatever you're building your business on the back of).
(3) Identify most important assumptions.
(4) Identify quickest way to test your assumptions.
This is your Minimum Viable Product.
If you assemble/test this early, it is much easier and cheaper to pivot. Cost and complexity of pivots increases quickly.

You can outsource everything else, but you need to do your "core" functions yourself.

How to sell products before you have products:
Make a product brochure with:
-- Features (technology)
-- Functions (how product fits in to customer's job responsibilities)
-- Benefits (how product is faster, cheaper, or better than alternatives)
Then sell vaporware based on your product brochure.
Only complication: it's hard to change your product after you've sold it. Need to make sure you're not producing a custom, one-off solution to appeal to a single customer.

PT Games MVP (Microsoft Kinect for physical therapy/rehab)
Making a Kinect game as an MVP would have been super-expensive. Alternative?
-- Make a video of physical therapy, hand out instead of paper directions. Test hypothesis that people will care about/use technology solutions for physical therapy.
-- If people watch the video, then install webcam to enable physical therapist to watch sessions. Test hypothesis that trainers will care about their clients' compliance/exercise habits.
-- THEN, only if hypotheses are confirmed, built a basic Kinect game and do iterative testing.