Idea To Execution: Building ListDive (Product Thinking)
This post is the first of the series "Building Listdive" from idea to execution. A peek behind the curtain in moving Listdive from idea to launch and my hopes for what it can become. While it isn't my first time working on a product, it is my first time documenting as I learn through the process.
At the end of last year, I was working with Founder Institute on the Gradrange idea. There was the need to pivot steadily as user interviews were conducted and in-depth research done. It was around this time I remember thinking; "I wish there was some mechanism I could use to search for insights on competitors and industry leaders in specific sectors in Africa 🤔". Indeed I acknowledge that there are far worse things in the world than this and there were some companies that do this already, it got me thinking about the gaps in this scene. What better way to test my no-code skills than to build a product to solve a problem I encountered.
To think about a product (Product Thinking) means to explore the different ways in which different functionalities can be combined to solve the same problem.
Defining the scope
- Customer segment
- Solution/Value Proposition
- Minimal UX - level of usability user must have
Stakeholders from across the startup ecosystem (investors, operators, regulators, vendors, policy specialists,product managers, engineering) and other ecosystem players.
The ProblemHow will play a product play a key part in how stakeholders better navigate (gain comprehensive understanding of) the evolving African Startup landscape, evaluate investment opportunities, carry out due diligence?
The ResearchI started exploring the idea of 'ProductHunt for Africa'; a rating app where stakeholders could anonymously review the products they interacted with. My first port of call for research was to pull together some Twitter searches to try and validate the idea:
Having passed though the Founder Institute scheme, it was only natural that I go back to my 'old notes'. Here are some pointers from 'An Expert Guide to Developing the Perfect Startup Idea'. On the contrary, I do not believe in 'perfect' startup idea only validated startups ideas.
- Focus on very specific targets during the ideation phase
- Focus on solving an existing problem
- Deliver something that a small number of people need in a large amount
- Become an expert in the industry you are most interested in
- Keep the ideation process as simple as possible
- Start with something you are passionate about
- Search for valuable information related to the industry you want to start up in
Here's one that got me uneasy - "You will never pick an idea until you have quit your job. You are never going to say ‘this is the one I’m doing’ until you are forced to.” - Munjal Shah, co-founder and CEO of Health Equity Labs.
My advice: Do not quite your job trying to find an idea. Startups do not succeed because founders have amazing ideas. It could be your loss if you quit based off an idea that has not been validated.
Here's more on things you DO NOT have to do to start a company, 'do not quit your job' being the first one:
As a Y Combinator Startup School alumni, here is a noteworthy post on "How to Get Startup Ideas" by Paul Graham, venture capitalist and co-founder of YC on the creative process of generating startup ideas.
Phase 1 - Upvoting Platform
The plan was to create an upvoting platform similar to Product Hunt + Glassdoor.
- Discover the latest information on deals, companies, technology products that everyone's rating.
- Get listed to boost a buzz around your company around, get signups.
- Think Crunchbase, Betalist, Angellist, Startup List but for African Startups.
- Bump your startup up the charts by upvoting.
- Discover your Next Favourite in the African Business Environment.
We did just that, attempted to validate the idea without writing a line of code and did a soft launch on Pory.io.
After interaction with some potential users, it was evident that there was little or no need for a 'Product Hunt for Africa'. What we needed was to compete on a global scale, build for the world and showcase that, discover and gain insight into the African Ecosystem.
Phase 2 - Synopsis of the African startup landscape across various sectors
The timeline reflected the fact that for a lean team a lot of activities overlap in timing. However it was evident that understanding and communicating with users will be ongoing through the building and iteration phase and building the will take longer than other processes.
“Job-to-be-done”: What job is Listdive hired to do?
The JTBD theory helps the innovator understand that customers don’t buy products and services; they hire various solutions at various times to get a wide array of jobs done.
My hope for Listdive is that it becomes a platform that can add value to the startup ecosystem, raising efficiency across discovering the latest information on deals, companies, technology products.
- Provide value to researchers, startups, investors and entrepreneurs to understand the African start-up landscape better
- Propose valuable resources to investors, incubators, accelerators, founders eager to understand the direction of this growth in-order to make conscious decisions
- Connect entrepreneurs in emerging markets to global investors who aim to support early-stage startups
- Companies can see and keep up with competitors in Africa and the Diaspora
Thanks for following me on this journey. If you have any feedback or thoughts on anything Listdive, interested in learning more, or want to get involved, drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the first post in the journey of starting and building ListDive. In the next post, I will share details on branding and name generation for ListDive — a platform that helps stakeholders gain insight into thousands of registered startups, investors, operational resources, key players and hubs in the African Startup Ecosystem.
I'm Juliet 'Hiri' Edjere, a no-code expert focused on design, business development, and building scalable solutions with minimal coding knowledge.
I document all things product stories, MVP validation, and how designs, data, and market trends connect to one another.
In our world where innovation knows no boundaries, and creativity reigns supreme, no-code is a game-changer in today's tech landscape. Whether you're a developer looking to expand your skill set or a beginner curious about creating without writing a single line of code, you will learn from practical examples, and explore the possibilities of no-code technology. Together, we'll navigate the tools, platforms, and strategies – one blog post at a time!