14 Day Startup Challenge

14 Day Startup Challenge

***Update***

You can view the latest progress of the startup here, as I build it and write about it in my blog:

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“There are those who work all day, those who dream all day, and those who spend an hour dreaming before setting to work to fulfill those dreams. Go into the third category because there’s virtually no competition.” – Steven J. Ross

The 14 Day Startup Challenge is a crazy initiative to evaluate a market, identify a problem, research the space, test a potential solution, build and launch an MVP and conduct a marketing campaign – all in 14 days, and blogged live, everyday. You will be accessing this this information with only a few hour’s delay as the information become available to me. You can even make decisions alongside mine each day, offer me feedback and learn from my mistakes and progress. This can be a very fun, exciting and fruitful journey ahead if you wish to stay engaged in the process.

 

The Backstory behind this challenge. Read the FAQ here:

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Having been a startup guy and having attempted to build a tech startup (that later failed) through a tech incubator, I’ve realized that I learned a lot, but not enough. My first exposure to the lean methodology was exhilarating – “build, measure, learn”, always talk to the customers, validate first, etc – all made perfect sense – until we actually tried to put these ideas into practice. Things quickly fell apart, and the high level concepts and methodologies left us hanging, lost in our actual day to day operations.

How do we identify a good market? Where do we reach our target market? When do we listen to customers, and when do we selective ignore them? When is a MVP lean enough and when is it too lean? How do we know if we are testing or measuring the right metrics? What tools besides Google Analytics do we use? When do we pivot and when do we persevere?

I’m sure you’ve all asked yourself many of those questions as well. I’ve found it extremely frustrating that many renowned books in the lean school of thought don’t adequately address these small, but fundamental day to day decisions. Perhaps, I’m reading the wrong books, but what I’d like to do is to better apply the lean startup process, but this time, with an even more ambitious deadline and forcing myself to manage all of the business, technology and customer facing parts of the business. I’ll be blogging about my experiences, specifically talking about how I tackle the small, but critical day to day decisions as I encounter the questions above.

 

The Challenge:

“Any idiot can make a perfect decision with perfect information… The most common reason why people don’t pursue entrepreneurship is the constant need for more time and information” – Reza Sachtu, Founder of The Next36, Canada’s leading entrepreneurship initiative

Creating a startup in 14 days doesn’t seem all that realistic. Entrepreneurs spends months and even years of countless days and nights pouring their souls into something that, at the end of the days, might very well only end up in the graveyard of dead projects on GitHub. Claiming to be able to build a successful startup in 14 days in ludicrous and irreverent, and is not the sole end goal of this endeavour. Instead, it is the rapid learning and quick imperfect decision making that I hope to achieve in such a strict timeline. There are 3 ambitious goals that I hope to achieve with the 14 Day Startup Challenge, and you can read more about them here.

 

Live Blogging:

“Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight”.  - Thomas Carlyle

From December 23 until January 5, I will blog here everyday about my progress in attempting to launch a startup in 14 days. I will be sharing my learning as well as my insights. I’ll be sharing tips about topics I am experienced in (such as development, having been the CTO of my past startup), as well as lessons learned in fields that I new to (such as email marketing and running an ad campaign).

Mistakes will be made, and the rate of failure will be high, but as they say, “it’s better to try and fail, then to have not tried at all”.

For more information, please read the FAQ Here:

Subscribe to the blog and mailing list if you are interested about this challenge, or the resources shared on this blog. I’ll be updating more resources after the 14 day process, as well as a comprehensive lesson about Rails and building an MVP that I teach entrepreneurs.

So with that, I hope you’ll stick around, enjoy the ride. If you’d like to support me in my endeavor, please leave a comment and share the resources that you’ve found helpful with your friends and colleagues.

Thanks,

Henry

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