On the 23rd to 24th of November 2018, I attended Startup Drill Smart City Cyberjaya organized by Startup Drill, Malaysia Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) and Inspire Series.
For those who do not know anything about Startup Drill, this is their first pilot in Malaysia.
The two helpful mentors also traveled all the way from Croatia to share their expertise and experiences to passionate learners.
I was one of them. Gratefully, though I spent 4 hours traveling from Johor Bahru to Cyberjaya, Startup Drill did not disappoint me!
As mentioned in the tagline, Let Your Idea Survive 24 Hours, this event aims to let participants understand the process and importance of validation.
Tips to let your idea survive in 24 hours?
Cliché pieces of advice will sound like ‘Never fall in love with your idea; Tweak it when it is necessary.’
But when is it?
I guess most of the people are the same as me.
When we heard about idea validation, the only thing that popped out of our mind was going out of the building and interviewing our customer segments; the more, the better.
We never know whether we are doing it the right way or not.
Most of the times, after the interviewing sessions, we learned nothing and gained no values.
In 24 hours, we were taught the concepts of lean startup initiated by Eric Ries and performed a lot of meaningful hands-on activities guided by Miro and Filip, the wonderful mentors!
Unlike most of the startup events that focus on the Business Model Canvas (BMC), Startup Drill focuses only on the idea validation.
Startup Drill Board is used by the participants to get through the whole process of validation with the help of Miro and Filip.
Surprisingly, this board is much more helpful than I thought initially.
Startup Drill Board guides you through the process of validation, from picking the right assumptions to validation by classifying them into the level of uncertainties and impact, including the accurate customer segment to interview to help you learn and quantify the results of the validations.
Do not get me wrong, Startup Drill Board is not a board that you can fill up at once.
It is an interactive board where you have to interact and engage with the board every time after you brainstorm or go out to interview a potential customer segment.
In other words, this process is called build-measure-learn. In the event, my team used more than 18 hours to fill up the board almost completely.
After struggling to fill up most of the information in the board, each team is required to perform a simple 5-minute pitch about their Startup Drill Board.
24 hrs VS 54 hrs?
I believe that most of the startup enthusiasts in Malaysia attended Techstar Startup Weekend: Build Your Startup in 54 Hours.
In my case, I attended twice in Kuala Lumpur and organized once in Johor Bahru.
So, what are the differences between Startup Weekend and Startup Drill?
First and foremost, obviously, the time period. Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event, while Startup Drill is a 24-hour event.
Secondly, different aspects are focused on in these two events.
Startup Weekend requires participants to not only validate the idea but to come out with an MVP and viable Business Model Canvas (BMC) in one and a half day.
On the other hand, Startup Drill only focuses on idea validation.
Similarly, in both events, participants are urged by the mentors to get out of the building and interview potential customers.
Due to the time constraint during Startup Weekend, mentors spent only a little portion of the time explaining idea validation but focused majorly on BMC, preparation of an interesting pitch deck and pitching.
Most of the time, to speed up the progress, participants (not all of them) tend to ignore the process of validation.
Even during the final pitch, as long as the BMC sounds make sense to the judges, they would not ask you more about the validation as well.
Therefore, even though after attending two Startup Weekends, I have little knowledge of the process of idea validation.
On the other hand, Startup Drill teaches you every detail in lean validation from how to select the most suitable assumptions to be validated and the appropriate customer segments to how to construct an interview script that will bring you more quality feedback and how and what you could learn from the feedback to make your idea more relevant and solid.
The process of build-measure-learn involves repetitively emphasizing building products for customers.
Participants are only required to focus on idea validation.
After the session, participants are only given 10 minutes to prepare a presentation following the specified format by Startup Drill.
This is simple and hassle-free, as participants do not have to divide their attention designing slides or writing fancy pitch scripts.
Both are Awesome!
In conclusion, both of these events are awesome and surely invaluable to me.
As a startup enthusiast, these two events, especially Startup Drill, should be your must-go event before you launch your own startup.
Validation plays a vital role in preventing you from wasting meaningful time and burning a hole in your pocket for an infeasible business idea.
Attend one before you regret it!
Tong Xin Jo
Co-founder of Edu/AR,
Universiti Teknologi, Malaysia.