Just had a wonderful talk with my “potential” co-founder buddy tonight. We had a little recap on what we have been doing for the past months and joked about all the things that we did. We started this non-regular meet up almost 4 months ago to keep each other update on our research progress. It is a practice for both of us to think, explore and share what problem we find recently in our daily life or any interesting problem we wanna tackle. During the table conversation, we kind of came up a very strong like-mind giving us a clear direction on how we should proceed things in the future.
4 months to ship the version 1
About 4 months ago I first got my buddy on board to dream about our start up fantasy. We had our first meet up and tried to kick something off by brainstorming different ideas and connecting like-minds. The whole process was totally fun as we gotta bring our top 10 favorite ideas on the table and tried to convince each other. We (especially me) enjoyed rejecting the other’s ideas and keep challenging whether if the ideas were really going to work. We struggled quite a while because we always think that the idea was not good enough or just ridiculously stupid. About a months later, we finally came up a so-called “doable” idea and ready to gave it a try. It took us about 2 weeks to build our MVP, a 1 page landing site, and finally got it up and running. So there were almost 4 months in total to ship our MVP from scratch.
Stop saying crap but start to ship
We spent all 4 months to ship our 1st version and obviously the result was not even close to what we expected. We got a little bit traffic on our landing page but we also found that less than 1 % of our visitors will sign up their emails after seeing our feature list and pricing. So it didn’t work. We thought we should think carefully and eliminate as many “stupid” ideas as we can upfront so it can take us to the destination faster. It took us almost 3 and a half month to come up a “doable” idea and only took us 2 weeks to build a MVP. If we could compromise our 1st idea 4 months ago, we might have already validated 3 other ideas and built a few more MVPs throughout the past 4 months. But now, we only got 1 failed idea and 1 MVP without much traction.
I totally understand that it is not about how many idea you have validated or how many MVP you have built. I also understand that we definitely need to find an idea that works and turn it into a profitable business. I am also not saying that you should just start working on any random idea with zero consideration. But the lesson I learned from this experience is that you cannot really tell whether if the idea is going to work or simply a stupid one until you ship it to the market. There is no the best idea and timing because it is really about try and error. The sooner you start to ship, the more you get to learn.
Are you working on a startup project? Have you experienced the same thing as we did? Leave me a comment and let me know how you feel!
(photo credit: vaughnfender)