A long time, I didn’t write in english ( which is definitely not my native language and I apologize in advance for all the mistakes ) but as I will speak about a video in english, let’s be international.
A few days ago, Dan Epelman, Director of Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business suggested me to look at http://www.pretotyping.org/pretotype-it—the-book , after I mentioned than one of my last project which is a eco-friendly printer software was built ( idea to product including the mid term communication strategy ) using some of the methods I discovered when I was in Stanford ( class of Strategic Marketing Management , Class of 2010 )
I liked a lot this video of Pretotyping, but my purpose isn’t to explain what it is , because the video and the book are there , but the question is why I liked it ? and why I would like to share it ? and what is the link with my current activities or practice.
In short, from how I understand, the pretotyping approach is to validate a concept with a very small test before launching the prototype. Most of ideas fails, and the only way to ask to somebody if they agree and like the idea isn’t enough. and it’s sooooooo true ! ask if they would like a service and they will probably say yes, if they don’t need to pay, or even just use it regularly.
Once I watched the video ( I didnt read the book yet ) , I was thinking about all the other methods arounds to compare, what is the difference with bootstrapping ( = make a project with no or few ressources ), the lean startup, or scrum methods ? that’s all the same and all different methods, depending what is your background , what is your current project status, and your past experience about it.
What I like about the Pretotyping manifesto is the fact is make sense, but it feels so much what and how I works already, so I will be part of the people who like it because it gives fundamentals, basement, canvas, theory to what I think I m doing already.
The definition of Pretotyping by the authors :
But I prefer much more the tagline :
Make Sure you are building the right “it” before your build it right
And that’s true, most of the ideas aren’t so good, or people will not put the energy ( or money ) to use the service or the product, that’s why things like http://www.startupweekend.org is a great way to validate an idea in a very short period of time ( 2 days )
In my own experience, I never hesitated to use “fake door” method, which is for exemple to put a button in your app, and even if this button makes nothing you track how many people are using it.
if people doesn’t use it, it could be because :
1 – it’s not visible
2 – not well explained ( wording in the button, or explanations )
3 – People doesn’t have any interest in it.
it requires some experience to know what to do in each case, and when to give up. Your idea is great, your product is great, but you just don’t know how to access people who could use it.. it’s the most common problem I could see.
Another notice, I am member and investor in the local business angels association of my area, so I have seen dozens of pitchs and presentation, so I know how much it is valuable to not only have the idea but to also to know how to validate them, then convince investors, then .. make it profitable ! As said in the video, no point to spend 1.2 Millions in communication to make 1M in profit, unless you have really a good branding strategy.
One last thing…
Finally, the video has been recorded in January 2012 and it is funny to see what they said about instagram now we know the acquisition details http://mashable.com/2012/04/10/instagram-timeline/