2.5 Months in … Recap Time
After leaving Facebook back in late September, things have been busy, to say the least. In this post, i’m only going to focus on the startup life portion since that seems to be consuming a lot of my time and a lot more in the near future. So with that, let’s recap:
- Brainstorming on ideas and finally deciding on doing an education startup
- Applying / getting interviewed with accelerator programs (YC, Imagine K12, and AngelPad)
- Meeting the startup community, especially the edu tech
- Meeting with the education community (teachers, schools, admins, etc).
- And designing, building, validating (rinse and repeat) in between
Brainstorming / Deciding on an idea
When we were brain storming on ideas our our main philopshy was to write everything down. It doesn’t matter on whether the idea was necessarily “stupid” .. just write it down. You never know whether that idea is dumb or not until you start evaluating it. Also, it may help spawn new ideas off of it.
Once we had a bunch of ideas down, we notice a pattern. All of our ideas were revolving around a couple main themes so we decided to pursue those ideas more in depth. With that, we came up with our first idea — syllabus hub. We had a clear idea on what we wanted to achieve and figured that this was a good starting point in working as a team as well as just executing an idea and pushing it out the door to validate. NOTE: syllabus hub is only the tip of what we want to build and we later realized that (more below).
Designing / Building / Validating
Once we had a goal / vision on what we wanted to build, we went right in. We talked about the architecture design and what languages to use. We also started iterating on the design (UI/UX) of it as well. Over the course of 3 weeks we built syllabus hub. Boy was there a lot of learnings there: everything from what languages / frameworks to use, to understanding SEO and analytics (you must measure everything on what hypothesis you want to test on), to infrastructure stuff (Amazon EC2, etc).
Once we had a rough idea, we shipped it to folks who are in our test market (teachers, students, TAs, school counselors, etc) for feedback. The info we got was extremely valuable; actually without that feedback, we wouldn’t have realized the idea we truly wanted to pursue and that was all due to understanding what our customers really want from them using our application. Actually, I think without this feedback, I don’t think we would have gotten into the accelerator program (or be where we are today). If you’re building a startup, I really do believe in the lean startup movement: Build, Validate, and measure whether what you built is true to your hypothesis.
More info to come.