So what is NEXT? NEXT is a program for entrepreneurs to help them validate their idea. To prevent spending tons of time and effort building a product that nobody will ever use. The biggest thing I learned from the program was to Fail Fast.
The principle if very simple: the quicker (and cheaper) you can validate an idea, the quicker you can move on to the next idea. If you can do that before you fall in love with the idea, then you’ll be able to pivot over and over again. Soon you’ll refine your idea into an idea that people are banging down your door to get their hands on. Of course that is easier said than done, and the 5-week class was there to teach us how.
As a developer, I spend way too much time in the underbelly of an idea. I want to see how hard it is, how fun it is, how interesting it is. And by the time I start showing people I’m well past the point of no return, the idea has become my baby long before it is ever validated.
And of course idea after idea I’ve had a very silly approach to building them. I outlined this faulty approach in my presentation as follows:
Essentially it boiled down to:
1) Come up with an idea I liked…
2) Work my tail off to see it come together…
3) Release, and scratch my head at the results.
So how well as this worked out for me? Well of the apps I’ve worked on they currently fit into one of the following categories:
Needless to say, that is a terrible business plan. Never knowing what will work before launch, and never completely knowing why the successful ones are. The good news, I started doing these apps for fun, so the loss isn’t a big one. I’ve enjoyed working on each and every one, and am actually very proud of them (even the non-successful ones). That having been said, there is nothing worse than working on something really hard, loving the project dearly, and then releasing it to the applause of nothing but crickets.
For my future projects I plan to follow the lean startup ideal, and Fail Fast. Thanks NEXT for all the advice!