This is the second entry to my Start-up Diary. This week I started coding and attended a IESE business plan workshop. During this workshop I was surprised to discover a challenge that I haven’t mastered yet: The one-line explanation of your idea.
The One-Liner challenge
Firstly, I always feel that if you can’t explain what you are doing in one single line, then there might be a number of things wrong: You could not have thought it through enough, so your business model might still be undefined. Your product might still be undefined. Secondly, your idea could be too complex (if you can’t explain it in one phrase). During a business model work shop at IESE with Matieu Carenzo we discussed a number of businesses and the role of the elevator pitch. As we were doing a round explaining what we were planning to do, I was confronted with the fact that I needed a lot of words to explain my idea. Everyone I show my slide deck or even the prototype that I am working on, understands it immediately. However standing in an elevator, it will be less obvious. So I need to work on my one-liner, especially a tagline. Below are some of the things that are currently in my mind, without knowing the exact idea, which one is more appealing to you?
- “Crowdsource your project”
- “Data visualization”
- “Social Global Project Delegation”
- “Simplifying complexities”
As you can see I haven’t figured it out yet. But by sharing my idea with people it gets a little better each time I explain it to someone. The challenge is that the product I am developing, would fit of all of the before mentioned tag lines. But the fact that it does all of these right now probably means I need to focus it towards a specific niche before I launch. I am just thinking out loud here and if you have any suggestions… they’re always welcome! Also Mathieu promised some “Elevator Pitch Push-ups” during our one-day session before we go to The Valley. Those should be very helpful.
Now for the technical stuff and the factual progress of last week. I was only able to put in 3 hrs of coding this week due to exams. But nonetheless I made some progress. Again for the professional developer reading this, these are baby steps. But they are steps and as long as I don’t have a developer helping me, I will keep moving forward.
- Scripted a script in PHP to add and remove information from the app. I know that to some this is very, very basic stuff but it was nice that I got it working in just 45 minutes. Then added unique ID for records and got everything to work. Created my first AJAX script to avoid re-loading the entire app for just adding one record.
- Added and styled the top-bar of the application. This will hold the logo and basic user info. Also added the subbar which will hold context specific information.
- Scripted my first AJAX popup.
- Started working on the visualization of a graphic using CSS. It needs some dynamic scaling of lines with dynamic margins based on other items in the graph. This is the biggest challenge at the moment as I need to develop the math for that.
That’s it for this week, hopefully next week I will have more time to give to my project but little progress is also progress.
for your one-liners: #1,2 and 4 are too vague. #3 is the only one where I can imagine something.#4 is really vague but could be turned into something that describes customer benefit. You might be able to merge that with something more descriptive. #1 sounds like a bunch of other websites. I don’t know your idea but I’m sure it is different somehow 😉
Good progress buddy! Regarding the tag line: I like “Simplifying Complexities”, more appealing than others for 2 reasons:
1. I could immediately understand it and could relate to it: I don’t know much about elevator pitches, but I think the person listening to you has even less time to understand the idea. This tag line was most easier to understand.
2. It answers the question “What” and explains what your product could do for listener’s business etc. Even #3 is “what” but it’s too complex. #1 and #2 are “how”. If your idea intrigues the audience then the next question will be “how”.
If you run into issues with AJAX and CSS, let me know. I used them few years ago.