When I teach about “concept tests” and why they are critical to innovators, I encounter a variety of responses. They range from not knowing what a concept test is to believing that a marketing department or consulting group (along with the high associated cost) is needed to conduct a concept test. Instead, innovators need tools for quickly and inexpensively testing concepts so they can focus resources where they are best used.
My innovation RV road trip has not yet taken me to Austin, TX and the home of AppSummo.com, founded by Noah Kagan. Thankfully, Tim Ferris (author of the 4-Hour book series and business innovator) conducted a very valuable interview with Noah that addresses concept tests that are quick and inexpensive. The context is that intersection between entrepreneurship and innovation.
Watch the video interview and take note of these important points. The first 7 minutes are a good introduction to low-cost rapid concept testing. The company deconstructions starts at 19:00.
- 1:05 – You have to do what you are really interested in and already using.
- 2:22 – Be risk adverse—don’t start a business until you know it is already working.
- 3:03 – Prototype – test – innovate – validate.
- 3:40 – Spend as little money and time as possible to know if a product or business concept will work.
- 3:50 – Make a hypothesis. Example shared of how this worked when testing the AppSummo concept.
- 4:48 – A market-driven approach instead of an engineering-driven approach.
- 8:40 – Common mistakes. Totem pole problem, Parkinson’s law (time box), accountability.
- 17:50 – Kill the concept if it is not working and move on to something else.
- 19:00 – First company deconstruction – toothbrushes for families in the developing world. 27:40 – Pivot discussed – product concept changed. 30:45 – Quick concept test using PayPal. 32:10 – The error of saying “no” to what customers want.
- 36:00 – Second company deconstruction – scary prank phone app. 39:00 – Where the idea came from (research on top apps and customer feedback about them). 42:25 – Look for comparable products to help with validation. 46:40 – How to guarantee your success and work backwards to make it happen.
- 55:17 – Q&A starts.
- 59:55 – Don’t play business. Instead know what you are solving and validate the need.
Picture from Tim’s interview with Noah. Source attribution: http://youtu.be/v47WEyeSMSA