Jerry Liu

Startup founders, be patient in a trial-and-error world!

As we are getting closer to creating  our product and get feedback from our potential customers, it’s important to be strategic and follow the key principles of startup process.

1According to The Lean Startup Methodology, the fundamental activity of a startup is to turn ideas into products, get feedback from customers, and then learn whether to pivot or persevere. In he meantime, we should minimize the total time through the loop because we should keep our ideas flow all the time and make adjustments to our products accordingly. Under the build-measure-learn feedback loop, the first step is figuring out the problem that needs to be solved and then developing a minimum viable product to actually start the whole process of measuring and reflecting.

2In fact, the MVP doesn’t have to be a product at all. However, as founders, you have to build that again and again and again so it’s more like a process. As mentioned on Y Combinator, during the process of building MVPs, you should identify your riskiest assumption, find the smallest possible experiment to test that assumption, and use the results of the experiment to course correct. In order to avoid startup failure, we have to know our customers’ needs as many as we can and achieve that product/market fit. Therefore, the startup process is fulfilled with an enormous amount of trial-and-error. The key is to find out which of your assumptions are wrong by getting feedback on your product from real users as soon as possible and the one who can find errors the fastest wins.

In another words, thinking from the standpoint of your customers is really crucial and it’s called human-centered design. In the case of Moneythink Mobile, the designers asked the stakeholders how they would design their own app, inviting them to sketch screen interfaces and invent challenges. More importantly, all of those designs must meet the target audience’s needs and solve their problems so human-centered design is all about designing for adoption.

Another great example is Airbnb, Joe Gebbia who is a co-founder of Airbnb, who talked about their human-centered design dealing with how to build trust between strangers at a TED Talk event. He mentioned about how the well-designed reputation system builds the trust between hosts and guests. At the beginning, the most difficult obstacle they faced was how to conquer people’s stranger-danger bias. The disclosure is the first step to building trust and the amount of disclosure is also really vital. They decided to use the size of the text box to regulate the amount of disclosure and guide customers with prompts to communicate with each other. The biggest take-away from this story is that we should be aware of the power of design and we should use our design to make customers’ life easier and achieve common goods.

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