Tag Archives: goals

Falling back in love with my product

19 Feb

images

It’s been a long year. I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve had the trials and tribulations, I’ve faced having to give up on my dream, and I’ve really come to find what start-up stress can be.

Over the last six months my mentors at Accelerate Cambridge have pushed me hard – marketing, team building, raising finance, developing sales pipelines, market segmentation, partnerships and product development – something I will be forever grateful for.

Thanks to them I’ve been able to concentrate on not only creating an amazing product, but at the same time a sustainable business. A lot of people believe that if a product is incredible then there’s no need for a business. I’ve found this to not be true. Creating value propositions, promotional documents, websites, sales structures and pitches – these all help you to identify, reach and streamline the purchasing experience for the customer, helping them from “Oh I’ve never heard of this!” to “This product is awesome”.

Without defining your customer, how you will find them, how they will find you, how you will make enough money to keep improving the product, etc – much less people will be able to enjoy what you create.

That being said the last two weeks I’ve been slowly realising how I’d gradually been falling out of love with my product Rize – (app integrating therapeutic concepts into interactive exercises to support mental well-being). My thoughts have been engrossed for months in deadlines, strategies, timelines and milestones. I had barely spent any time appreciating the quality of what I was creating for myself (beyond thinking “What would the user think of this?”).

Now, we have reached the big milestone – The launch of Rize is at hand! Rize will be ready on iPhone, Android, Tablet and iPad for the 5th March..just a few weeks away. I’ve had a small bit of space to think. At first I panicked – thinking I should be filling this space in my brain with sales, marketing, strategies for maximising downloads – and although believe me I’m filling a lot of my time with this still I’ve found that these parts of work just won’t fit in the space I’m describing.

So I took the advice of my ever patient girlfriend and tried this relaxing thing all the kids are talking about. I started to reflect on every thing I’ve achieved (and admittedly began to stress over everything I haven’t).

The most important thing is that I’ve come back to looking at my product – the app – and have started congratulating myself on getting here. I’m now starting to get great feedback from the beta testers of Rize. Through the talks I’ve been giving to large audiences people have reached out to me and suggested potential partnerships with existing health platforms. I’ve even been invited to pitch Rize to the Duke of Edinburgh at an event called ‘Pitch at the Palace’! We’ve been featured in Cambridge News and the Huffington Post and our twitter followers increase steadily by the day.

I may not have started to generate revenue yet – I don’t have an apartment of my own like I had hoped for, I’m still considering the sainsburys meal deal as the treat of the week, but I’ve still come a long way. For that I’m proud.

And into the future I plan to walk forwards, hand in hand with my new tool for mental well-being. And together we will see what the world has in store for us.

[Rize will be available on all major iOS and Android platforms on 5th March. In order to stay up to date and be the first ones to download it please follow us on twitter: @rizenow]

Take a step back

29 Oct

Already today I’ve had a handful of comments on how tired and stressed I looked – I try to explain it’s the beard (and the inevitable itchiness it brings) that is creating this impression for people.

In some ways they’re right – I am pretty tired; working days and band rehearsals in the evenings. What if I don’t have rehearsal one night? – I tend to head back to the office or have a meeting with someone to advance BlueSkies or LifePets.

My name is John – I’m a workaholic –

 

Image

I admit it – I’m enjoying the work, and am very focused on progressing every day. It feels great each time I take another step towards creating a successful enterprise.

The problem is recently I’ve been spending so many hours at it (my next post will describe what IT actually is that I’ve been doing recently) that I suddenly found myself bogged down with the nitty gritty of all the tasks and not really getting anywhere.

For example in the game I’m developing I’m having to draw the storyboard of the prototype for our programmer so he can get to creating the game itself. I was adamant to include a very detailed and long tutorial with a storyline that will engage the user. Not only would this require a lot of time for myself, the mental health professionals on board, our designer, and programmer (ending up costing me a lot!) but it would mean that it would take a lot longer to get even the prototype complete – let alone getting the final product out to market.

So after a day of sitting there and just telling myself all I need to do is to work harder and this will get done in the same time I finally realised what needed to be done (and needs to be done regularly).

I took a step back

Instead of insanely thinking “this needs to be done, then this has to be done” ad infinitum, I sat back and said to myself “what needs to be done? – In less than three sentences?”  — “I need to have a prototype developed that can show potential customers what we offer, and something we can build on to complete as the final product” BOOM, one sentence!

So did I need a 60 page storyboard for the prototype? No. I need a 15 page one that can show off effectively the value of the product – 5 mins sitting back and checking what really needs to get done = a whole evening I don’t have to do any work; watch game of thrones.

I’ve got a quick story that taught me the same thing in a different way.

I was on holiday earlier in the year with some old friends. Near our flat was a small island with a lighthouse on it. Three of us wanted to swim out there.

So one day we set off. It took us about an hour and a half eventually. In our first 30 mins two of us tried to go as fast as we could. We looked at where the lighthouse was when we started swimming and then kept our heads down for long periods of time as we swam as hard as we could – we just wanted to get there as quickly as possible.

The other one of us did breast stroke – keeping his eyes firmly on his goal, the lighthouse. The two of us quickly got out infront, but because we kept our heads down a lot the current kept taking us off course and we swam in a direction that wasn’t directly towards our desired destination. Each time we realised this we had to change our direction and make up for lost time we spent going the wrong way. Half way there we realised the third guy was making distance as well as we were, and had spent less energy doing so.

So, at that point we learned from him, and as a three we swam hard, periodically looking up and making sure we were headed straight for where we wanted to go. We got there in good time with less wasted energy. What if we had have not looked up at all ? (like we all do some times in situations in our lives) – we might have been to far away by then to even reach the lighthouse.

In enterprises it is important to often take a step back, look up, and make sure you’re on track and not going off course. If the goal changes, as indeed it does sometimes, that’s fine. You don’t need to religiously lock eyes on a target and get there regardless of developments in the situation. I think it’s helpful just to be aware of your goals, and ask yourself on a regular basis – “Is what I’m doing taking me towards this goal?”

Happy swimming!