This Thursday PADT was asked to help participate in a lunch and learn entitled “The Startup Lifecycle.” The event was a joint presentation of the Arizona Technology Council and the Maricopa Corporate College and it was held at CEI’s fantastic facilities. Given our background, we were asked to talk about Product Development, and specifically on Minimum Viable Products and Lean Manufacturing Principles.
You can download my presentation here, or read on to learn more about the event.
There were four presenters. Hart Schafer the Founder & CEO of TheraSpace and an experienced Adobe guy, among other things, kicked things off with a great discussion on customer validation and discovery. He pointed out the common mistakes in thinking you know your customers and finding out you were wrong to late. Some great examples were given and he shared some practical ways to really find the Problem-Solution fit.
Next was yours truly, talking about those uncomfortable bits in the middle, where you need to actually design your product, then make it. I covered the concept of a Minimum Viable Product and how to use product development to come up with one. We also touched on how lean product development can be applied in a startup environment.
Then I dived into lean manufacturing, which is a topic worthy of several Lunch and Learns on its own. The bottom line was that Startups can effectively apply lean manufacturing to get a better product to market faster, and on budget. I included some examples and advice on how to implement it.
As mentioned above, you can download my presentation here.
This is a picture of me gesturing widely as I explained how a simple cake doughnut is a Minimum Viable Product and one with frosting and sprinkles was not. All the time hearing Homer Simpson saying “doooonuts” in my head.
NExt up was Nate Curran, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at CEI. He went in to how to commercialize a product. Another huge topic, but he boiled it down to some basics on commercialization, marketing, and sales. The last speaker was Russ Yelton, the CEO of Pinnacle Transplant Technologies, a successful startup that was a client at CEI. After we talked about what you should do, he shared the real world and how to scale and grow. The big takeaway from his talk for me was the importance of people and culture when you scale and grow.
After a great Q&A session, we posed for a picture:
As always with events at CEI, the venue was great. And, also as always with AZ Tech Council events, the audience was smart, engaged, and full of their own ideas worth sharing. Yet another indication of the growing and improving startup ecosystem in Arizona.