Taking lessons learned from lean startups, I’m going to build and market an iPhone game in 11 days. I have no experience in game development, but why would that deter me?
This past May I had the opportunity to attended the West Michigan Lean Startup Conference. I originally hadn’t planned on attending. I thought the event was sold out before I had the inkling to go. Fortunately for me I was able to attain admission.
And I’m glad I did. It was an excellent conference, and I came out of it understanding how modern businesses are created.
I took some of what I’d heard with a grain of salt. I’m a skeptic by nature, and some of the things they were talking about seemed un-applicable to a tech climate like Grand Rapids, MI.
After all, several of the speakers were from “The Bay”. My impression of California is that you can’t throw a rock down the street without hitting a VC or angel investor willing to take a risk on your rock throwing startup. While West Michigan has a growing tech scene, it’s a far cry from the leviathan out west.
Skepticism aside, I did walk away from the conference full of ideas and inspired. Much of what I did take away from it was the essence of what everybody discussed.
First and foremost build something and show it to people. I’m a developer and as such, I build things. I can’t count how many times I’ve built something an never shown it off because “it’s just not that good”.
If you show your product to people and elicit feedback from them, then you can determine why it’s not good. You can then tweak it until it is a product that somebody wants.
Who cares if it’s a failure? As long as you minimize the cost of failing, your return on investment is the knowledge gained from doing things wrong. You can always try again, but with the lessons learned from your past mistakes.
The Ground Rules
So I’m going to apply the lessons I learned at this conference and flesh out an idea I’ve had for some time.
This idea is a video game for the iPhone. It’s going to be a casual game very simple. I intend on marketing it for 99¢ on the iTunes App Store. I want to make it something I would play, and something that others would enjoy playing.
My main goal is to break even (on actual costs) within the first month. Right now my only cost is paying for the Apple Developer Program ($99). If I make 70¢ per unit that means I need to sell 143 of them. On the 11th day I will submit whatever I have to the iTunes App Store (regardless of done-ness).
As it goes without question, my family and career come first. I have a 9-5 at Mutually Human Software that I need to stay sharp for. So I need to be cautious about how much time is spent on this so as to avoid burnout.
I’m hoping that these constraints will help me get things done faster as opposed to thinking about things I need to do and leaving deadlines open ended.
Each day I plan on blogging about my progress. This is very much a learning experience for me. Not only because of the technical hurdles I’ll have to bound, but also because it’s my first experience with marketing and customer development.