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After spending much of 2018 evangelizing about the vision for Playmaas, the time came to stop talking and start experimenting! I say experimenting specifically for two reasons: 1) to acknowledge that developing a working business model for any startup involves testing assumptions, measuring results, making adjustments and testing again; and 2) to always focus the scope of what’s being built through the prism of core customer feedback. No frills, no nice-to-haves, no wouldn’t-it-be-cools; just trying to do One Thing really, really well.

Having lived in Toronto for over 20 years, I start with a few safe, first-hand observations that don’t require any particular validation:

  • Toronto is a city of the future (i.e. progressive; tech-savvy)
  • Toronto is an established destination for Caribbean entertainment
  • Caribbean entertainment options in Toronto have not significantly changed in quality or variety for decades

Based on those assertions, my greater goal makes the following assumptions that do require validation through research and experimentation:

  1. There is an unmet desire for new/unique Caribbean entertainment experiences
  2. There is a desire for Caribbean entertainment experiences that reflect Toronto’s status as a first-class city and innovation hub
  3. Entertainment value (for the dollar) in this space hasn’t kept par with consumer expectations and satisfaction

It’s crucial to note that the assumptions are numbered because they’re actually ranked in order of critical importance. The first item is the MOST important assumption you’re making… so much so that if it were to fail the IS IT TRUE? test, then your business model also necessarily fails. You’re otherwise wasting valuable resources and runway creating a solution that no one asked for, and in all likelihood will neither pay for. Cue post mortem.

…if it were to fail the IS IT TRUE? test, then your business model also necessarily fails. You’re otherwise wasting valuable resources and runway creating a solution no one asked for…

This approach is known informally as the Javelin method, named after the outfit that pioneered it into a tool for solving the elusive Problem-Market-Solution conundrum that all startups face (whether they know it or not).

I only provided a cursory description of how the tool is applied, but anyone can research it further and practice using it like I did. It’s also a great aid in helping focus your startup vision by asking some tough gotcha questions, and there’s a free pricing option. Highly recommended!

What you’ll realize is that a startup endeavor is much like a big experiment with lots of smaller experiments, all in pursuit of proving a larger assumption (your vision). Only when one experiment bears fruit do you move onto the next, until you’ve eventually answered 1) does a problem exist?… 2) does a viable market exist?… and 3) does my solution fit the problem?

Let’s hope my experiments are all proven TRUE on the first attempt! Keep watching.

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