My own little startup!


Launching soon!

Sometime in the next couple of weeks you’ll be hearing a little about my first startup, PresentPod.com .

Briefly, the concept of our site is around making it easy to track all the cool stuff you find on the internet and share those finds with friends.

It has been an awesome experience seeing the site come together over the past couple of months and a few of the people I have shown it to have said “this looks complicated, how much work was involved?”. Well it’s been a lot of late nights, but in all honesty, launching is easier than you might think. So how have we come this far? By applying the following lessons learnt during our 3 months startup process:

Lesson one – Stop loving your baby (and pivot when required)

Present Pod was a pivot on a previous idea we had around social organisation of group gifts. We loved the original concept so much it clouded our judgment on actual viability. We needed to step back from our baby so we could check a couple of home truths:

  1. The pain-point we were trying to solve wasn’t great enough for anyone to pay for our service;
  2. The functionality we wanted to build was increasingly too complicated to launch without substantial investment.

Thus the pivot.

Lesson two – Shut up and ship

We took a single aspect of the previous functionality and put it under the microscope. The aim for our team then became to “get something, anything, out there”. This resulted in us focusing on the minimum viable product we could ship.

We knew it wouldn’t be perfect and that we needed to make some hard decisions about what would be in the initial release and what would have to wait. However, pretty quickly we had a list of five core requirements that would form the basis for the day-one launch.

Lesson three – Rapidly prototype

One of our initial site wireframes

No matter how much time you spend defining requirements, you’ll never really understand how things are going to work until you start building.  You need to make mistakes early on and before you start to spend any real money. Iteration is the key to real success.

We used a tool named Lucid Chart to quickly mock-up design decisions and define what interactions would, and more importantly wouldn’t, work for the user.

This also supported the low-fidelity visual design of the site and formed the basis of the business requirements for our developer.

Next up, design, develop, polish, and launch. Stay tuned for part two of this post soon…

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Disclaimer

Long Straws is the personal blog of Stephen Colman.

The views represented here are mine and should not be considered representative of my employers.

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