My journey as a #startup #founder – step 4 – @founding

Step 4 – customer interviews

Most of the weekend was spent conducting customer surveys to talk about the problem, the proposed solution and the different pricing models. What was supposed to be a simple interview of 15min with 10 “simple” questions often turned into a one hour long, deep conversation into the ins and outs of the idea, how it could be improved, what would work and not. I have taken copious notes that I now need to capture electronically and summarise, while extracting the best comments for our product development pipeline.


I want to thank again the “victims” who were picked, not completely at random obviously, and who have devoted a lot of their time in supporting me already. Your inputs are extremelly important and will help develop a better product! I have not yet spoken to all my friends about this idea, so some of you might feel ignored… In fact, I would suggest you first check your spam folder as you may have received an email from me (from a new email address that Google and Microsoft tend to think is spam… I think they have already identified a threat and are trying to protect their business!). So don’t worry, I will get to you ALL in due course!

The rest of the week-end was spent writing up various paragraphs on my motivations, my life story, my passion for entrepreneurship, my idea and the problem i want to solve… certainly useful as it will help me frame my pitch for the next Hot Seat session on Tuesday, but I just wonder whether someone from the Founder Institute will have to read through this to mark my assignment… I wish him or her good luck!

One fun activity was the shooting of a new video – similar to the Hot Seat pitch of last Tuesday – about my motivations. I decided to call upon the help of my son, who is an expert at home-made videos and we set-up his equipment (tripods, digital camera, light reflector) to make a semi-professional video. I love the background… rather than French and European flags, i picked a more personal backdrop.. 🙂

We were quite proud of the result (ping me if you want to see it – it’s 60 sec long – I will give you the URL), although I have to say it’s a very different experience to pitch in front of a camera vs a live audience, and the results are less convincing when shot in front of the camera (much flatter result, less passion…).
Lessons learned:

  1. Try to imagine a crowd of spectators and act as if they were there… yeah, baby! Thousands are watching you!
  2. Stop bending forward and backward – I could see I do that a lot because, on purpose, we set two cameras at 90 deg angle, one filming face on (result was ok) and one filming on the side… and you don’t want to see the film from the side, it would make you sea sick! In fact, we included some cuts of the side film in the final video… so, pass me the bucket please…


Highlight of the week-end: our first Working Group session.

We had our first Working Group. It was good to catch up with my peers from the Red Team and to take stock on our experience, share views, ask all the silly questions we could about the assignment and update each other on how things were going, where were the pain points and the tricks to know.

We are using Slack to communicate between us, so lots of problems had already been discussed by chat, but it was good to have a touch-point on skype to exchange verbally and to cement the team. Unfortunately we have lost a member of the team who has decided, with his 2 co-founders, to drop out of the programme. So we now stand at 16 I think, down 6 from the start last week… And the little one said “roll-over, roll-over” and they all rolled over , and one fell out… and they were 16 in the bed…

Stay tuned!


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