Land Wiki enters the Hub Westminster Launchpad Accelerator Scheme

My new venture is now fully embedded in the Hub Launchpad Accelerator Program!

This means we have taken a round of seed funding, have a super cool new office on Haymarket, just off Piccadilly Circus, and have undertaken our first week of an intensive 14 week program. land wiki logo

The name of the project is: Land Wiki ( subject to change). Land Wiki is trying to achieve two goals with one website:

  1. Make it easier for residents to discuss and change land in their local area that has the potential for better use.
  2. Provide a comprehensive database of available land for individuals, community groups and property developers that are searching for land.

Its been a fun but gruelling first week where we’ve been stretched and tested, repeatedly challenged our assumptions, we’ve pitched, been mentored, we’ve ‘got out the building’, we’ve designed products for people with disabilities, and we’ve met a lot of cool people.

Watch this space for an update and our first publicly available demo!

Asking for more from organisations that get too big to care

Have you ever wondered why there are seemingly obvious things that the government could fix but it doesn’t. Easy examples could be better recycling collection schemes or care for the elderly.

Why do these problems persist? Because they are not accounted for by supply and demand economics. There is no financial gain to look at an economically dependant group and improve their lives. This is also why there are very few, if any, start up companies taking on the challenge.

This apathy towards un-profit making activities happens everywhere without us noticing. Corporations like Microsoft and Google do not innovate in the ways they could because their is no financial incentive.

I read this article today which makes this point very clearly:
http://www.fastcompany.com/3006992/why-techs-biggest-players-favor-illusion-progress-over-real-innovation?

Among many good points, it looks at the Cloud. The race is on to make sharing easy, improving speed and making space accessible, but this bypasses years of Moore’s law hammering down prices and increasing the power of processors inside our devices. With this power we could run background semantic activities that improve our individual performance and output. By connecting up and contextualising our previous files and documents we could draw upon greater resources and easily find information. But why do that when the space is moving towards small devices and cloud storage?

I think the article is a must read for any one involved in digital. And the thinking around it can be taken down many routes. What are the opportunities for start ups doing good, not making money? What research has been done into the past offs for providing ancillary cool products? How can the government or big organisations work with businesses for good causes?

A template for customer pain

Crossing the Chasm, by Geoffrey Moore, is a must read book for any tech start up. And as I have said before, maybe any product maker who intends to scale at all.  Maybe even all business owners full stop. The book is full of common sense/ business theory tactics on launching products. It is designed for high tech products but I think it lays out a general prescription for products of all kinds. This is just one example (taken straight from there), about your customers. Anyone who has or is going to start a business should know the results of this at the front of their working memory:

A day in the life of your customer (before sale)

Scene of Situation – Focus on the moment of frustration. What is going on? What is the user about to attempt?

Desired Outcome – What is the user trying to accomplish? Why is this important?

Attempted approach – Without the new product, how does the user go about the task?

Interfering factors – What goes wrong? How and why does it go wrong?

Economic Consequences – So what? What is the impact of the user failing to accomplish the task productively?

— I swap some of the words around to make it suitable to my industry eg. I turn “economic consequences” into “pedagogical consequences” as I work in edtech.–

 

A day in the life (after sale)

New approach – with the new product how does the end user go about the task?

Enabling factors – What is it about the new approach that allows the user to get unstuck and be productive?

Economic Rewards – What are the costs avoided or benefits gained?

 

This is the basics of business. What problem does your product solve? Know the answer to this scenario and  the empathy you are able to offer turns you into an instant sales person. Of course, it is hard to get accurate answers for, but we live in a world of social media so now anyone can use their brain and start asking clever questions.  

The book has so much more than this pithy blog. Read it.

 

The ideas Entrepreneurs DON’T follow up..

While I was swimming this morning I was wondering about something.. I have loads of ideas, so so many, and I think that lots of other people do too. Most of these ideas just sit in my head, or maybe I have a conversation about them a few times, but mainly they don’t get acted upon.

I am not saying that all these ideas are good. But what if some of them had some legs? I have always been a creative person and I also have a great deal of start up business experience as well as industry specific experience. One thing I have found, after many ideas fizzling out, is that you really have to only focus on one idea. Use all of your creativity and energy to make this work. It is so incredibly difficult, after a hard days work, to take time away from your hobbies or partner, just chilling out, or whatever, to then start launching a new idea or project.

Yet, entrepreneurs are both creative and know how to get things done, so their ideas/ visions are probably worth something. I think there is a good opportunity here for a re-think into “business as usual”. This area is where real collaboration could be encouraged. Whether it is between entrepreneurs and students, or through some great on-line networks. Or maybe something else. Maybe some kind of internship scheme where entrepreneurs get free labour to support people to run their ideas. Creating some kind of trickle down of ideas as well as skills.

If something that solves this problem exists already, I would love to hear about it. I will gladly throw a few ideas in the pot.