A couple of weeks ago we applied (late) for Y Combinator with FIXDIT, our take on making the market work for homeowners and contractors again.
I participated in Y Combinators Startup School this winter, and upon graduation, I got an email saying that since we were among the 10% participants in the school that continually got the most positive feedback from our peers, they recommended that we apply for the real program even though the deadline for submissions had officially passed.
So we did. It was a hectic weekend with the team, but we submitted, and now we’re crossing our fingers that we will make the cut for this summers programme, even if it is going to be a bit different (probably mostly remote) than normally. There is no time like crisis time to give fresh ideas on known problems a decent spin.
It’s been a couple of weeks now. And while understandably there are a lot of businesses and startups in despair, I also sense some opportunities to look beyond the current corona pandemic and lockdown.
People are easier to get in touch with, because they’re home. Of course many are in video meetings, but it’s still easier. Negotiations become more pragmatic because we’re more left to our own devices. People will tell you ‘Yes’ more because they’re just happy somebody is offering opportunities. And people will give more thoughtful responses to propositions because they have better time to do their own personal due diligence.
I am not in any way, shape or form advocating for more of the same. I am just quietly saying that there is also opportunities in the current climate, if you just look for them and can distance yourself a bit from all the doom and gloom.
When I conduct interviews with potential customers I like to do it in two rounds.
The first round is an online questionaire that establishes the base and provides context for the interview. Customers agree to filling it out and are usually very good at it. What it does is that it helps me understand them and where they are coming from a little bit more before the actual interview, so we can make the most of our time together.
When I then sit with them for the interview itself, we don’t have to waste time establishing the baseline. We can go directly into talking about the stuff that matters to the customer, and I can use the info from the questionaire as background and context and thus get the best possible outcome of the interview.
It always give the best results.
Today we’re soft-launching a simple pilot of our latest project, which we call FIXDIT.
FIXDIT is for homeowners and home maintenance professionals who wants to get rid of all the horror stories about home maintenance and redecoration projects. It is a challenging area, and lots of homeowners put off doing projects for fear of getting into a quagmire. I know, because I am one of them myself. Which is why I thought it was an important problem to try to find a better solution for.
With FIXDIT we’re looking to bring the love back between home owners and maintenance professionals. We try out a completely new spin on the market and the dynamics in it, and time and – most importantly – your reception of the concept will tell whether this is the start of something more or just a stupid idea.
Enjoy! (the website is in Danish)
Hello 2020! It’s a new year and with that comes fresh opportunity including the opportunity to set really ambitious goals for the coming 12 monts. So naturally, I have done that on behalf of my work as Head of Studio at inQvation.
In 2020 I want us to co-found at least one startup taking on a really big problem that affects +100M people worldwide.
I want us to develop a project from idea to startup with an experienced entrepreneur-in-residence, where we use our combined strenghts and experience to make a mark. Maybe we could even combine it with the above goal?
And finally, I want us to create “A Path To Success” for great talent within the startup space in Denmark, where inQvation becomes the ‘go to’-place for those looking to unleash their potential to bring great tech solutions to people who have the problems and pains to match.
Ambitious? Yes. Doable? A stretch but if all things align right, why not? Realistic? Not if we don’t try.
(And then of course there are all the other things that comes with being part of a great team that pulls together when needed :-))
Last Friday and Saturday we hosted the first bootcamp of the iQnite case competition on climate change at our inQvation-hub in Taastrup. 35 participants turned up to spend two days exploring and sharpening their idea in the hope of making it into the main competition.
For me as an organizer it was an amazing event. When you do something like this for the first time, you are always a bit nervous how things are going to turn out. How many people will sign up? What will their profiles be? What are their ideas about? And how many will actually show up and do the work?
We had set ourselves a goal of getting 8-10 great teams or projects into the main competition. We ended up with 9, which is super. They are very diverse both in focus, industry, background, experience and so on, and it is truly a great experience to get to work with such a great bunch of people looking to drive change.
Yesterday, me and a couple of colleagues went for a video shoot at the intimate studio of Veronika Grosik of a series of promos, we’re going to use for an upcoming project that you will hear more about in due time.
It was a super fun experience. In a couple of hours we got everything we needed thanks to just the right dose of preparation beforehand; knowing enough to be focused while knowling little enough to remain flexible in the moment. It is really a fine balance.
On top of that it was great to feel the energy of going out of the office and doing something out of the ordinary. It created a sense of purpose, belonging and fun that was just second to none. So remember that, folks: Get out of the building!
One of the things I spend a significant amount of time on is devising, designing and running experiments on various different ideas for new concepts. It is both fun and challenging.
The challenging part is mostly about not reverting to the same 2-3 types of experiments and use them again and again. But because it is wrong to do so, and you might develop bias. But also because there are actually a lot of different ways, you can design and run experiments based on what kind of hypothesis, you’re trying to (dis)prove.
For that reason I have built yet another Excel-model; a simple database of all the different experiments, we know and can run with titles, applicable stages, ‘how to’-recipies and our know-how and experience in running them with valid results. Using the filter option on that one quickly allows me to narrow down the list of useful experiment-types for any given idea, broaden our horizon – and generate better results.
It is really that straightforward.
There is no way around it: The greatest learning opportunity is when things don’t go according to plan. When you envisioned X and Y or Z happens, and you have very little idea about why that is.
When that happens – and it will happen – it is an open invitation to learn. It is an invitation to go back, investigate and walk through everything you have done in order to try and find the spot(s), where you missed something important.
It is by no means certain that you will be able to find it at the first time of asking. But if you adapt an experimental approach and try to adjust here and there in a controlled way, chances are that you will finally understand what happened, and what you could have done and should be doing forward to make it right. And voilá; you will actually have learned something.
This summer I am trying to teach myself how to do visual programming using Bubble. I have been trying to get a better understanding of coding for years but never had the patience for it. Bubbles visual approach is a lot more appealing to me.
Why am I doing it? Because I like being able to execute on the ideas, we’re working with at inQvation Studio. I like being able to take the next step from a workshop or a discussion and actually get things done. Be concrete. Get something out there.
I am very aware that what we can do with tools such as Bubble or Unbounce or Typeform and what have you is not the finished article. Not by a stretch. But it is something. It moves the needle in the right direction for what we are trying to do at the studio team. And it is a lot better than nothing.
(Photo: Product Hunt)