Hannah Brenner · Uncategorized

Making assumptions and proving a startup hypothesis

“The question is not ‘Can this product be built?’ Instead, the questions are ‘Should this product be built?’ and ‘Can we build a sustainable business around this set of products and services?'” – The Lean Startup

I have learned so much this semester about starting up a media business, and I think that quote sums up one of the main points incredibly well. Sustainability is key, and while it can be hard not to get swept away by an exciting idea taking a step back and evaluating is vital.

Making assumptions during this process is inevitable. Even scientists and researchers make assumptions and guesses. Part of their process is to test their assumptions, and prove without a reasonable doubt that their hypothesis is correct (or incorrect). Those two years studying zoology will finally be of use to me when testing a MVP.

I found it very interesting that the photosocial startup’s assumption outlined by Alex Cowan was that users would be rewarded by likes and social interaction from posting their photo. That seems like a given to me and it obviously took thought and humility to step back and admit that needed to be tested. Embracing ambiguity seems to be about embracing those assumptions and accepting when they don’t prove to be true – even if it means more work. Scientists test their hypothesis, change it, test it again, and keep going until they find results. That is what startups need.

There is no question that the Moneythink original idea was incredible. I think most people could agree on that. If they had been stuck in that idea and weren’t open to change they would not have added what I believe is its most impressive feature. Keeping young people engaged in something is difficult, I know because that is true about myself. Adding a social element and encouraging conversation is the most impressive part of this idea in my opinion. That was a huge change to their product and I’m sure it took a lot of work but the results seem to be there making it all worth it.

Nextdoor revisited their product after they thought the testing stage was over. I think this proves that there is probably never a final product. Every media company I can think of is growing and adapting with its users. Airbnb is a great example of that. They are putting an emphasis on following up, proving their assumption that things are going well.



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