As of now I have not yet shared with you a post on lessons learned in 2010. Not better, I believe that I have been neglecting this blog for the last couple of months. That will not be the case for 2011. Here is why.
Early and often
This blog was started at the very end of 2009. Prior to this, I had attempted to start blogging several times. Each time I’d configure the LAMP stack, source a cool WordPress theme, and fine tune look-and-feel. My mind was completely locked-in on the technicalities – I never got to write any actual content. Consequently, there was no room for feedback and motivation stalled. The pattern repeated itself in a continuous cycle.
Entering 2010, I figured that it was time to go quick-and-dirty. I had to break with the pattern; forget about that stunning domain name, forget about database design, forget about adding features. Instead, I’d just publish that first post and start collecting feedback (more in Foundora’s interview). Without going into that content is king thing, this has been more of a learning path understanding the value of interacting with real audiences. Nonetheless, one year later I’m still using standard WordPress.com hosting and theme, and subscriptions are growing.
Minimum Viable Blog v.2
Now, if you swap the word “blog” for “product” or “startup” in the short story above, you’ll find that the pattern has a thing or two in common with startup methodologies – the very thing I have been ranting about the past year.
Launching a Minimum Viable Blog did not only enable me to measure visitor, click and subscription metrics. It enabled me to test and validate value propositions with real audiences. Initially, I had this plan on writing about digital strategies. An idea grounded in a recurring problem I had experienced through consulting: existing strategy frameworks were not adapted to the web. However, first, I couldn’t resist scratching my own itch as a feature entrepreneur and decided to write a quick piece on trade-offs between deliberation and creativity. Soon I was having Skype calls with inspired bloggers in the field of technology entrepreneurship. I had discovered early adopters who encouraged me to continue down that track.
Following, this motivated me to revisit shelved ideas about early-stage business models, and methodologies of integrating marketing and software development. Since, I have learned about customer development, lean startups, minimum viable products, pivots, product/market fit, and metrics-driven marketing among other inspirations, which I brought into teaching at the University of Oslo. From theory to practice and back, I expect to give such topics a real try this year.
No longer in hiding
As of 2011 I am founding an Internet software startup (more to come). So far, I have studied, taught, worked in and ranted about startups, but have yet to go all in. Going forward, I will share here my pursuits in search of the product/market fit.
A special thanks to all subscribers for following me in 2010.