Learn how to create products that people love

Micro-startup 1 / Week 1: Business models & ting

As I mentioned last week, I’ll be reporting on our ‘microstartup’ experiments at Spook Studio (should be Spook Labs really).

We’ve created some of our own products before including Personapp (a simple way to create user personas), Gifty (a wishlist app) and iControl (our very own content management system) wiith varying degrees of success. iControl aside, we’ve just not had the time to really get our teeth into our own ideas to any degree.

Over the years we’ve developed and launched many successful products for our clients including Objective Manager (performance management made easy), Family Bhive (‘Facebook for the ultra wealthy) and Get Comparisons (user generated product comparisons). But working on our own ideas has taken a backseat. Mainly due to the fact that we’ve been so busy with our client work that there’s just not been enough time in the day.

More recently as we’ve worked on lots of cool projects for other people we’ve started to get more into the idea of devoting some time to exploring our ever-growing list of product ideas. All with the potential of being the next Facebook (in our heads).

As flag bearers for the lean startup movement (and regular advisors to first-time entrepreneurs and wannabepreneurs) we’re aware of the pitfalls of getting too attached to an idea. So in the spirit of adventure we’ve decided to devote 1 day a week to working on our own stuff, and using everything we’ve learnt from working on the web since it was a screaming toddler (well since 1998 anyway…).

So, on to our first micro-startup… [here our developer Dave describes his ‘eureka’ moment:


OK, so the name could use a little work… The basic premise is this:

1. Go to http://pinterest.com/

2. Imagine replacing each image (most likely a puppy, motivational cliché, or glistening vampire), with an item from ebay.

3. You scroll down, glimpsing a wall of second-hand speakers, frying pans, joysticks, lawnmowers, t-shirts, mobiles, console games…

4. That’s a nice tee shirt, the seller’s just down the road, and it’s only £2.50. You click a button and wait for the seller to contact you to arrange the exchange.

5. You pick the shirt up on your way to work the next day. Ladies swoon, men nod in respect, the world is yours.

6. You get home that evening and want to find a choice spot in your wardrobe for this thing of beauty, but you still haven’t found somewhere to store that second vacuum cleaner that’s just too good to throw away but not worth putting on ebay.

7. Phone out, app open, click button. Take photo, set price, confirm location, send.

8. ???

9. Profit.


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