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BE A MVP (2层含义)

Fail Faster Workshop Report by Karl, Ricky, Stella

The word ‘fail’ doesn't have very positive connotations, right? Well, we’d like to report to you an event that changed our mind about how useful it is to fail: Fail Faster by Techyizu in Shanghai.

What is Fail Faster?

Fail Faster is a 3 days workshop with the following purpose:

√ Learn the Foundations of LEAN STARTUP

√ Learn to apply the CUSTOMER DEVELOPMENT PROCESS to a real startup idea

√ Learn how to BUILD THE RIGHT PRODUCT

The event was over three days in September 2016:

  • Friday: participants gave a 1 minute presentation about ideas, and then we form team.

  • Saturday: Brainstorm, user interviews.

  • Sunday: User interviews, presentation.

The CoderBunker SODA (Shanghai Open Data Application) team joined together with Sandy (a radio broadcaster from Ximalaya) and Eva (a journalist from Technode covering startups).

Traditionally, the software development process depends on the initial design; the development starts when we are satisfied that the full system has been specified. However, it is expensive to change the direction of the design once it is started, according to the market demands or customers demand, users feedback or other information. So Fail Faster and Lean Startup are focused on getting to the target customer with software development.

The methodology used at the event is constructed around using a tool called Javelin Board. The board is focused on reaching out to potential customers before starting the real development.

These are the steps:

  • Collect idea and vote for the most valuable one

  • Brainstorm hypothesis for the problem, solution and customer segment

  • Construct a survey

  • Execute interviews with as many customers as possible from the target segment

  • Dig deeper into answers from interviewees

  • Follow up questions with interviewees

  • Demonstrate the value or pivot

Our starting point was as follows:

  • Initial idea: helping real estate agents build safety map based on the government safety data.

  • Target customer: real estate agents focus on high value customers

  • Core assumption: Customers of real estate agents take safety into consideration in addition to price.

The essence of “Fail Faster” is to reach customers before starting development. This allows us to fail in 3 days instead of 6 months. In total, we pivoted 4 times. From the original idea we pivoted to:

  • food safety information in Shanghai for individuals

  • food safety information for luxury hotels in Shanghai

  • providing food safety information to travel websites which serve foreign travellers

Although all ideas were "failures" in the end as confirmed with interviews with potential customers, it was an helpful exercise to discover what potential customers truly wanted.

This event completely changed our mindset of development. Thanks to Techyizu’s great volunteer team, the Fail Faster event is intense and informative. Our hosts Kevin Chen and Gabriel Paquin were ready to help us participants at all the time.

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