Lesson Learnt from Lean Startup Machine

Lesson Learnt from Lean Startup Machine

All this while I’ve been practicing Lean Startup in relative isolation. I only spoken to a handful people who have read and applied the book. So imagine the elation when one day out of the blue some one call me up to be one of the mentor for the second editon of Lean Startup Machine Kuala Lumpur.

But first, I need to fill some up form and sit through an online test. Truth to be told, I only read the original Lean Startup & Running Lean. So I was caught by surprise when the test includes the Javelin Board. What is this animal? Anyway, I managed to score above 50% so all is well.

The Javelin Board helps to bring clarity and objectiveness to the idea validation process. It ensures you have Customer Segment & Problem fit before jumping into creating any form of solution.

At first glance, the board reminds me of science lab excercise book I had during secondary school. But that doesn’t mean there’s no art to it. Framing the right hypothesis and questions still require much thought, insight, and practice. It’s a very helpful tool but it’s still wouldn’t auto-magically bring you to success.

This is the core of Lean Startup Machine so we had meetup among mentors a week prior to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it come to the Javelin Board. Even with a wealth of experience among the group, it’s still quite tricky to get a hang of it.

Then come the LSM KL weekend. As at any LSM, the usual process take place. Ideas pitched, teams form and validation starts to happen.

One of the fellow mentor is Azwin Ghani, winner of the 1st Edition of LSM KL. I pointed out to him that many of the team wanted to create platform startups. It sound great on paper with potentially millions of users but at the same time it is very tough to build.

Two sided platform requires you to validate both buyer and seller or user and customer. Then you need to build two side of the app plus the corresponding customer service and what not.

Furthermore many wanted to create mobile apps and generate revenue from ads. The current threat of decimating mobile ad revenue is definitely stacking the odds against them in creating a viable business model.

That’s not to say there’s no future in creating platform. The issue is you need to be hyper focused on a small niche first. Many wanted to cover as many market segment as possible at start. It’s rather hard to fathom that Facebook started in just one university when it is now a pervasive giant breathing under our neck everyday.

Then it got us thinking, wouldn’t it be great if there’s more case studies of early stage startups validating their ideas and growing their customer base. I came across an article by the co-founder of TheLorry.com clearly outlining how we went through the validation process. I love it and I wanted more.

So we contemplate a bit more and end up doing our own side project. The idea is to go around and interview early stage startup founders. We picked a name TheDredger.tv and pitched the idea to fellow mentors. Many are excited and one of them already offered sponsorship in kind. Thus we registered TheDredger.tv while LSM KL is still running.

The next day we started working on it right away and make appointments to the interview the founders. We interviewed three startups so far and our first episode went live on 14th January 2015.

Enjoy our Episode One of Startup Malaya and sign up at www.thedredger.tv to get early access to upcoming interviews!