Haven’t touched my personal blog for a while as I’ve been concentrating on my “Early Childhood Education” blog, which is my new project to help parents like myself raise confident, independent thinkers who won’t be afraid to challenge the broken education system! With that, I was lucky enough to beat out 80+ other teams from around the world to join the AcceleratorHK program!
It’s now 2 weeks into AcceleratorHK. Coming out failing pretty spectacularly from my last startup, I knew all about the importance of doing customer validations and not even building a MVP or any prototypes! But still, it feels a little unnatural to not be actively “working” on our product. Last week, rather than jumping right in to what most people would normally call work, we were mashed into different teams and assigned a random business idea to work on for 48 hours, similar to Startup Weekend. Furuzonfar AKA Foobar, Carlos and I became one team and we got a “Dating” business! 3 guys, out in the field doing customer validations, about dating! I thought we did pretty well, we started with a brief Design Thinking session to map out all the stakeholders, from that we chose a group of people who are socially awkward and we hypothesized that we could created some kind of tools that would help them at that spontaneous moment in the bar or at a party to start a conversation. We went to HKU, talked to a few people and it quickly became clear that our hypothesis was wrong, people either aren’t going out or if they are, they won’t even try to talk to strangers! With our assumptions proven wrong, we needed to pivot! We talked and talked and eventually stumbled upon a real problem with going clubbing, people like to go clubbing in groups, but it’s hard to meet & talk to the other sex in a club coz its loud! So, we pivoted to a service that hook 2 groups up for food before going to clubbing!
Finally, back at the Cocoon, Foobar did another thought exercise with us, I forgot exactly how that went but we then came up with the idea of a drinking game, matching guys and girls and giving the losers things to say as pick up lines… that became our last pivot. A mobile game! Gamifying dating! The whole experience has been really fun for me, I’ve always had a strong intuition in picking up the right clues and forming good ideas out of them. So working with someone like Foobar who knows all these processes to draw out my ideas had been great!!
2 mentors came in the first week! John Bristowe talked about Kendo Ui, PhoneGap and Icenium, and Oscar Ramos taught us Visual Thinking. Came Friday, we had our first weekly group meeting. Once again, even though we haven’t really worked on our products, we all had to just do our 1 minute pitching. It made me realized how weak a pitch I had. A big part of creating a new startup is actually just sales! You need to be able to sell your idea (and yourself) very well!
This Monday we had first 1-on-1 with Stephen and Paul, we talked about our business model canvas and we had questions about what to do next. This was where joining AcceleratorHK really paid off! Because both Stephen and Paul are experienced lean startup entrepreneurs, they were able to pull us back from all the different customer segments and big plans we have! Left on our own, my co-founder Soren Jones and I already have the discipline in being lean and staying focused, but it’s just so much more helpful to have mentors to talk to! We’re now 100% focused on doing customer validations on a subset of parents!
I could probably keep writing about our next 2 mentors, Salim Virani, creator of LeanCamp and Mikaal Abdulla, Co-founder & CEO of 8Securities, but that would most likely double the length of this already long blog post! So I’ll stop.