When Mike began to introduce Todd and I to the launchpad methodology, based on his iCorps experience at Stanford, he predicted that around week Four or Five things would start changing. Basically, he said, this is the point where many of the startups began learning how little they knew about their market or found that their initial hypothesis was wrong. Last Friday was week Five and there it was- a lot of teams making major changes or contemplating them. Some learned important things that more clearly defined a better market opportunity, others found themselves in dead-ends. Both are valuable learnings.
The customer discovery process was created to generate exactly these kinds of results, before you commit time and resources to an idea. With ‘normal’ startup methodology, all of our teams would have made extensive progress writing business plans. Several already had done them. And virtually all of them would have been wrong in significant ways.
So, while there was some real pain out there last week, things will look better as a result. We see teams tightening up their focus as their discovery process forces them to accept reality. Some teams are wrestling with being wrong and having to admit it. Others have had their ideas validated but only after they got better at expressing them. And others are still working on it.
So, we expect some pivots before our next class on April 5th. Just a reminder: Pivots are major changes in direction. This should be interesting. This stuff works!