Vision; what is yours?

Vision; what is yours?

Entrepreneurship

The one thing I ask first when visualizing business models and strategy is; “What is your Vision?” Why I ask this? Because I think that Vision is a very important part of your business. It guides you, it keeps everyone on the same road and it helps you make decisions and pivots. While in the uncertain life of a startup most things aren’t clear yet, Vision is what holds everything together. It is also a very abstract concept however, and difficult to actually formulate.
signpost

Why do we need a vision anyway?

A vision is the signpost of your roadmap. It influences strategic decisions, it helps you decide in which way to pivot, or which customer segment to choose when you are in early startup fase. It will help you unify and make strategic decisions when you start growing and it will help you set goals and tell the story when you start scaling. It will probably evolve through al those stages just as your company will, but it is the one thing that will remain more or less the same throughout all the surrounding turmoil.
A vision is difficult to formulate, while it starts out as a strong passion or pain in the head of the founder or founders, it grows and evolves into a something more clear that will keep your new employees and additions to the team see where you are going and why. Often a vision is mixed up with goals. But where a Goal is set in the near future, influences your daily activities and is something that you actually want to achieve as soon as possible. A vision is a longterm reason for why you are doing what you are doing and influences strategic decisions.

vision

How do I formulate my vision?

It is not always easy to formulate your vision. And although it helps to have a beautifully formulated great oneliner of a vision. It is not something you have to go for right away. As I said, your vision will probably slowly evolve over time and you will have time to polish up a great oneliner over time. But it is important to have it clear to you and your founders from the beginning. How to get that passionate idea that started out your company  out of your head and onto paper?

I made a visual framework to help you do that.

Ask yourself; ‘what was the passion ( or pain) that I started on, that made me want to start this startup?’ Then go on and ask; ‘What is is that you actually do, and how you are doing it’, from those answers go on to ask ‘why?’ If the answer is world domination, take one step back. If the answer is nowhere near world domination ask ‘why?’ again. Take time and only write words if sentences do not come. Now from the ‘passion’ and the ‘why’  you should be able to formulate a vision (or crude version of a vision) to help you and your team to reach the mountain of succes.

vision canvas klein

 

Get a bigger printable version here

 

Another reason to introduce ‘Visual Note-taking’ in schools

Another reason to introduce ‘Visual Note-taking’ in schools

Education Visualization

I came across this article today. It is a research from Princeton University;

Study finds that writing notes by hand is best way to remember details”

 

Students where allowed to take notes either on their laptop or with pen and paper. Those who used pen and paper were able to recall significantly more, and what is more important ‘understood’ more of what was said during the lecture. As iPad’s and laptop’s are a welcome addition to the toolset of our students, they shouldn’t replace paper completely.

I always took visual notes during my whole school career (mostly because this is how my visual spatial mind works and it allows me to understand and remember better). And although it was mostly frowned upon and sometimes even banished ( getting low grades, or no grade at all for doodling in my notebook) it got me through high school and university. Having sometimes only to look at my notes again for understanding.

Now I am not saying that visual note-taking is the holy grale, I am saying that pen and paper is still a very important learning tool, drawing or writing,  and visual note-taking could be a very useful addition to making notes on paper if learned at school early on for many of our students and children.

 

 

 

Lean mentor check-ins

Lean mentor check-ins

customer development Entrepreneurship

I have been a mentor at Rockstart since the beginning. This year I am running the Lean customer development session in the Rockstart web/mobile track. Apart from giving workshops on experiments and the principles of customer development, the introduction of an experiment canvas, I also introduced weekly sessions with the startups called lean-mentor checkins.  These sessions are really simple and straight forward but work really well. That is why I wanted to share them with you.

I basically took the ‘braintrust’ principle;  founders that check in with a small group and share problems and ideas with each other. Combined that with the fact that I wanted them to help each other, as well as me wanting to know about their customer development process. Doing this every week will hopefully keep them doing customer development and product optimization based on customer feedback. Rather than them being sucked into the daily business of bugs, problems, finances and sales.

This resulted in a weekly meetup where the startups send one of the founders ( preferably always the same one) to a meeting that is always one hour, and no longer than that hour, at the same time every single week.  I have divided the group in two so that there are 5 founders in each group. Keeping the group small helps in both trust and attention. I think 4 might even work better. Less than 3 will probably reduce some of the value by the feedback and different views of the other founders.

To keep the sessions about customer development for now, each founder has 12 minutes sharp to answer the following two questions;

What have you learned last week?

What is it you want to learn/validate this week?

The startups use the experiment canvas that I introduced ( a modified and simplified version of the evolve canvas ) to keep track off their progress during the sessions. Preferably they all have 4 minutes to tell about last week. This is something that really helps keeping at customer development. You want something to show to the others every week…It also can help having other peoples views giving feedback on the data you have collected. Next is what you want to learn this week, what do you want to validate and why, or what part of your product do you want to optimize and what data do you need for that. Sharing this can get you a lot of new ideas or expertise from the others on your next step. You will want as much time getting the views and experiences of te other founders. We keep the turns at 12 minutes each, strictly, keep notes on the feedback so you can follow up with conversations with the other founders that where cut short. Keeping it short will keep it meaningful for everyone, it only takes 1 hour of your always valuable time as a founder and you want as much dedication from everyone as possible to make it a valuable meeting to keep up with every week.

For now both groups are accompanied by a lean mentor, to give advice or ask critical questions, but in time the groups should run without the mentor. The meetup becoming a valuable hour of co-founder feedback for all of their problems, issues and successes.

 

 

 

“Launching is like the opening move in a chess game. It doesn’t mean that much.”

Zo groot mogelijk in de pers, of juist niet? dat is de vraag. Veel startups zoeken bij hun ‘officiële’ launch veel persaandacht. Dat zorgt tenslotte voor eyeballs en je zult toch je nieuwe service of product onder de aandacht moeten brengen. Vanuit de lean customer development gedachte wil je juist niet van dit soort korte aandacht hypes, je wilt kunnen meten of je groei zoals je die in je service of product hebt aangebracht, sticky, viral, paid ook echt werkt, of je aannames met betrekking tot je klanten, het probleem en  je oplossing ook daadwerkelijk kloppen. Een ‘spike’ met veel media aandacht zorgt dan voor veel ruis in die data. Continue reading

From a scientist’s point of view, there are no limits. Why can’t your smartphone measure the exact chemical composition of all the food you eat, the air you breathe, and the water you drink? It easily could. Why can’t the walls of your house be incredibly stable and heat insulating, while simultaneously thin, light, and even act as a huge screen? They could be. Such advances are not science fiction — the basic principles underlying them have basically been sitting on the shelves of our labs for decades, waiting for the right hands to bring them to life in our everyday world.

Continue reading

Interne cultuur en hoe je je intern organiseert, hierarchy of juist een hele platte organisatie is van levensbelang voor innovatie en creativiteit.

In een dit artikel vond ik een mooie uitleg, waarom grote bedrijven en hun  hierarchy  een “Nee dat lukt toch niet” mentaliteit herbergen en daardoor innovatie in de kiem smoren.

Big companies have plenty of great ideas, but they do not innovate because they need a whole hierarchy of people to agree that a new idea is good in order to pursue it. If one smart person figures out something wrong with an idea — often to show off or to consolidate power — that’s usually enough to kill it.

Absoluut de moeite waard om verder te lezen trouwens.