lecture5-market-wireframing-design - Startup Engineering...

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Startup Engineering Class: class.coursera.org/startup-001 Balaji S. Srinivasan Signup: coursera.org/course/startup Stanford University Forums: bit.ly/startup-eng-forum Market Research, Wireframing, and Design Idea, Execution, and Market We begin with an interesting comment on Quora , which we’ve slightly modified: An idea is not a mockup A mockup is not a prototype A prototype is not a program A program is not a product A product is not a business And a business is not profits This doubles as a kind of state machine for your ideas as you push them through to production; at each stage many ideas fail to make it to the next one, both because of time requirements and because of some heretofore nonobvious flaw (Table 1 ). In particular, while you should be able to get to the program stage with purely technical training, the last three stages are in many ways the most challenging for pure scientists and engineers, because they generally aren’t well taught in school. Let’s see if we can explain why. Table 1: The idea state machine. Any successful entrepreneur has not one good idea, but a profusion of good ideas that lie abandoned at the beginning of the state machine, at the base of this pyramid. Moreover, many more napkin ideas (e.g. micropayments ) have fatal flaws that only become apparent in the implementation stage. It is only through actually pushing ideas through the state machine that one realizes whether they are good or not. It’s useful to actually keep a single Google Spreadsheet or orgmode document with all your ideas, organized by stage in this manner. Expect most to stay at the idea stage! Stage What’s required to complete? Minimum Time Idea Napkin drawing of billion dollar concept 1 minute Mockup Wireframe with all user screens 1 day+ Prototype Ugly hack that works for single major use case 1 weekend+ Program Clean code that works for all use cases, with tests 2-4 weeks+ Product Design, copywriting, pricing, physical components 3-6 months+ Business Incorporation, regulatory filings, payroll, . . . 6-12 months+ Profits Sell product for more than it costs you to make it 1 year- Idea When it comes to starting a business, the conventional wisdom is that the idea is everything. This is why US politicians and patent lawyers recently pushed for the America Invents Act , 1
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why many people think they could have invented Facebook 1 , and why reputed patent troll Intellectual Ventures is able to make money from 2000 shell companies without ever shipping a product. In other words, the conventional wisdom is that with the right idea, it’s just a matter of details to bring it to market and make a billion bucks. This is how the general public thinks technological innovation happens. Execution An alternate view comes from Bob Metcalfe , the inventor of Ethernet and founder of 3Com: Metcalfe says his proudest accomplishment at the company was as head of sales and marketing. He claims credit for bringing revenue from zero to more than $1 million a month by 1984. And he’s careful to point out that it was this aptitude - not his skill as an inventor - that earned him his fortune.
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  • Spring '13
  • Vines
  • market size

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