Digital Marketing

Near the end of the year, I was invited to attend the Grow Your Business With Digital Marketing event, arranged by the Northumbria Enterprise and Business Support (NEBS) and held at the Northern Design Centre. This event focussed on the effective use of Google‘s AdWords and Analytics products, as well as business support opportunities offered by NEBS, such as their graduate internship program.


Introduction to the event was handled by none other than my start-up mentor, Graham BatyEnterprise Manager at the Northumbria Business Start-up Hatchery. Also in attendance were Cissie Tsang, our Enterprise Officer – who I got to speak to briefly during the intermission – as well as Victor Ottaway, the Graduate Internship Manager at Northumbria University.

Victor gave a brief but interesting talk about the support NEBS had given 126 small-medium enterprises (SMEs), by providing quality student interns and a salary subsidy of £4000 for up to 6 months (26 weeks) work. Impressively two-thirds of their graduates stay employed by the SMEs who choose to provide their internship, which proves the value and worth of such a scheme for both the employers and employees. Information on registering interest for the programme was given and I jumped at the chance to add my name to the list. While I don’t have full-time employees at present I do feel strongly about the importance of acquiring new talent, and I definitely intend to use this option in future if the opportunity arises.


The main event was, of course, Chris Simpson, founder of Karma Computing, Northumbria University graduate and example of a successful startup from the same hatchery I currently inhabit.

For the first half of the evening, Chris spoke about the importance of developing a measurable digital marketing strategy and setting up Google Analytics properly, so you can track your goals effectively. For example, if you make blog content to boost your exposure to potential clients, you can find out if the blog post you just spend hours crafting is bringing in any business for you.

The importance of targeted and measured campaigns was not new to me, as I had thoroughly enjoyed reading into this during the New Media Marketing module on my course. Memories of Gattiker, Jobber and Kotler, bubble in my mind. However, Chris added another, Aninashs Kaushik, author of the Digital Marketing Measure Model. Chris suggested reading it first to figure out your D.U.M.B. objectives; Doable; Understandable; Manageable;
Beneficial.)

Start with just one goal and focus on configuring it correctly said Chris, e.g. set a goal to track enquiry forms to completion. We do this by defining the goal in Google Analytics, setting a key performance indicator (KPI) for it and, most importantly, setting a target you can measure it against. Then, using the various tools, such as the live preview function or a plugin for Google Chrome, we can then test that the analytics are triggered when we visit the website ourselves. This means we can follow the customer journey and see how our analytics are collected as users browse our site.

For the second half of the evening, Chris dug deep on tracking. He explained that by linking Analytics and AdWords together we can send our goals and conversion data from Analytics into AdWords automatically. This would be the crux to better estimating the types of customers Google is going to target in our AdWords campaign. You can even track online clicks and attach them to enquiries (leads generated, meetings set up, etc.) in order to account for offline conversions. Say for example you have a contact form to generate leads; when you meet this client you should update your Analytics data to reflect a successful conversion, giving you better data for your future campaign.

Chris also wanted to clear up any confusion over keywords and explain how to use them effectively. His first tip, be as descriptive and specific with your keywords.

  • SPECIFIC – exactly what you’re providing (service/product)
  • HELPFUL -e.g. prices from £12.99 (transparent pricing)
  • ACTION DRIVEN – e.g. “before they’re all gone” (scarcity principle)

Utilise the ‘Negative Keyword‘ list. This prevents AdWords from placing ads on keyword searches that you wish to avoid. The example he gave was rather amusing, involving a jewellery shop in Yorkshire that kept getting visitors who had been searching for Yorkshire cheeses. A quick look at the ‘Keyword Search Report’ and he figured out how people are wrongly arriving at the site. It only required him to add “cheese” to the negative keyword search for Google to know not to waste the advertising budget on the wrong audience.

He also stressed the importance of making sure you take the time to correctly target your audience through individual campaigns for each of your customer segments. Separate your business and consumer campaigns. Tie the call to action in your ad to the landing page for that campaign e.g. ads that state “contact us to find out”, should bring the customer straight to a contact us button or form. Don’t have a one size fits all advertisement. Be clear and concise.

At the end of the night, Chris took questions and one of the best answers he gave was on budgeting. His final advice:

  • Budget at least £6 a day. By doing so you can call google associate to guide you through the setup, to give you pointers on your ad campaign.
  • Be conversion focused – bid for conversions, not clicks or bids on keywords.
  • Plan, budget, forecast and drive down the cost of acquisition over time.

As I mentioned, this event really got me thinking about digital marketing once again. It was good to see the powerful tools that were available to help me measure my goals, and all of it was free of charge! So the first thing I had to do when I got home was following Chris’ advice.

I opened up accounts for both Analytics and AdWords. I drafted an ad, just to get the feel for it and then took to implementing the analytics tool for my domain.

What was immediately apparent was how powerful these tools really were. Immediately I was overwhelmed with options, jargon and a list of other, compatible Google services that I should deploy to improve my Analytics account.

In honesty, I struggled at points, trying to wrap my head around utilising Google Tag Manager in conjunction with Analytics, in order to track the custom goals I had created using Kaushik’s measurement model.

A completed example from Kaushik.net

However, I persisted in figuring it out and made decent progress the next day. This wasn’t something I alone had experienced. As I discussed this with others from the hatchery who had attended the event, it became apparent that most people opt to get someone to do this for them.


After a day’s work reading the documentation, following Chris Mercer‘s guide – over at Digital Marketer – and using the Tag Manager tools, I reached a point where I was near giving up. The tags I had created to measure my goals were firing, but no data was reaching my Analytics account. So, I left it. Two days later I checked the account and there it was. Data!

Attending this event and implementing Chris’s advice proved invaluable. It helped me understand how to implement these tools to my benefit and guided me to a digital marketing strategy that I can control. As a result, my understanding of SEO improved and I have a clearer understanding of online marketing techniques that are relevant to me.

Despite the time and effort required to get to grips with it all, this was easily one of the most immediate results I have gotten from a conference.

VRy Merry Christmas

A few days ago I got to attend another VRTGO Labs event, VRy Merry Christmas. Hosted by Carri Cunliffe from Secret Sauce, this free event was a chance for the clusters associates to meet up and look at the future events and activities coming up in 2017, as well as hear from a guest speaker while wearing their best Christmas jumper and enjoying mulled wine and mince pies.


Carri started the afternoon by discussing some of the key events they were planning for the new year. Each month they are looking to host an event would focus on a particular sector or industry, including:

  • January – VR in Education and Training
  • February – VR in Architectural [email protected] and Design
  • March – VR Developer Conference; plus, VR Film and Audio at Tyneside Cinema
  • May – VR and Games
  • June – VR in Manufacturing (e.g. Automotive, Process Industry)

She went on to explain how VRTGO Labs will also be developing their online presence and network connections, through having their own FaceBook page (separate to VRTGO, the conference) and reaching out to other virtual, augmented and mixed reality networks (e.g. Immerse UK, Digital Catapult) to share data, knowledge and funding opportunities; to further bolster the strength of the UK developer community.

I am particularly interested in the January and May events, after developing a service around VR in Education while developing my own VR game.


Next up was the guest speaker and Developer Evangelist, Mike Taulty. Mike works in the developer group at Microsoft UK where he has spent the past decade helping developers to understand and get the best from the Microsoft platform.

His presentation, Developing with HoloLens: The Path to Mixed Reality, was an interesting but brief exploration of Microsoft’s exciting hybrid reality product, that lets users see and interact with ‘holograms‘ in their environment. Though, as mentioned on his blog, Mike is not privy to any other information on the Hololens than what is available to the public. However, his knowledge and insights proved quite informative and useful to a less experienced developer like myself, all the same.

Mike gave us a rundown of the tech being used, dispelling any misconceptions we had about the device. He explained that the device is a portable PC, with an array of advanced sensors that record depth, light, inertia (6DoF) and a video feed. All of this information is handled by a holographic processing unit (HPU), which is a performant, low latency x86 device. The processed information is rapidly combined in real-time, to be available to the universal windows apps that run on the devices Windows 10 platform.

Included in the package are a pair of spatial sound speakers, located above the ears, as well as wi-fi and a battery which gives around 3 hours of usage. Most impressively the unit uses custom-built transparent holographic lenses, which use waveguides to project the image into your eyes. Mike stressed that the lenses themselves are often mistaken as a form of LCD, which isn’t true. This aspect of the display can be confusing, so if you’re interested I suggest reading the article by James Ashley, over on his blog, The Imaginative Universal.

What does all this mean for developers? It means you can do some pretty cool things that you can’t on VR headsets.

The headset utilises inside-out tracking and the use of transparent lenses mean users vision is not completely occluded. So, for example, you could develop a 2D projection of your app and then let the user control it with voice commands, gesture controls or even their gaze.  Alternatively, you could build a holographic app that harnesses the full power of the sensor array. 3D avatars can walk around the room and sit on your living room couch. All this because the software can use the real-time information from the sensors to recognise obstacles and boundaries or flat surfaces of a certain height.

Developers can use this environment scanning ability to map a room and then share it with their colleagues. They could then take this data into Unity or the Hololens emulator and start programming an app using C#, C++, DirectX or VB.net. Mike confirmed that the device is constantly scanning, updating its model of the environment to get an up-to-date representation. However, at this point, the system cannot recognise people or animals specifically.

Earlier in the day of our event (8th December) Microsoft also held their annual WinHEC keynote, where they announced that Windows holographic would extend to other devices, beyond the HoloLens. This means that Windows holographic devices would be available in many different form-factors at multiple price points, all with inside-out tracking capabilities. I definitely feel like an interesting future for mixed reality lies ahead.


For the final talk of the day, we had Marissa Brindley, Technology Sector Specialist from Gateshead Council. She was there to discuss the Northern Centre for Emerging Tech. A working title for a new development which will comprise of office accommodation, a research and development testing facility and access to specialist emerging technologies equipment.

The centre is going to combine the existing Open University building located in the Baltic Business Quarter, with a new construction in the parking lot that would act as a research and development facility.

Renovation of the existing structure will allow businesses to access the office, startup and move-on spaces from September 2017. Open access to the RnD building with its specialist equipment and modular is planned to be completed by the end of 2017. Eight million pound of European Regional Development Funding, as well as private investor funding, has been secured in order to allow the council to build and support the centre for the next fifteen years.

Marissa, along with an as of yet unappointed Business Engagement Officer, would be working with the cluster to develop and maintain strategic relationships with businesses in the region. She was also able to show us some of the development plans for the building and was looking for input on the types of equipment and facilities companies would need to help them succeed.


The event was smaller than other VRTGO events I had attended, but I felt it was relevant to my future in building an emerging technology business in the area. I liked the mix of news, technical talk and business, which kept my interest and introduced a lot of new opportunities that I can explore going forward.

Public VR Demo

Recently I seized the opportunity to hold a public VR demonstration at my local Grainger Games store.

publicvrdemo5

This was a chance for me to test the viability of a business idea I had arrived at, while exploring the possible VR services I could provide to businesses, using my current knowledge of the industry and the business model canvas.


I had spent the week before preparing for the event by check-listing all of the tasks I would need to complete, such as: costing the equipment and consumables I would need; planning all of the processes I would need to follow; creating notices, posters and flyers; promoting the event on social media channels, etc. I also reached out to all of the hardware and software vendors, asking for any support or guidance they could provide for the event but unfortunately I did not hear back from any of them. However, I knew I had all of the equipment, knowledge, experience and even a small budget from my personal finances which I was able to utilise. I used this to purchase the extra equipment, software and consumables (e.g. treats and refreshments) for the event, making sure that the items I chose could be useful again in some manner, even if the event was not repeated.

publicvrdemo1

I want to make special thanks Suzanne Leibrick who posted a helpful article which I used to inform my health and safety approach and which I also adapted into safety notices for the event. I also followed the advice of Geoffrey James and Robert Falcone, who both gave excellent pointers on performing a successful product demo; as this is something I hadn’t done for the general public before.

The only significant problem I had was the acquisition of hygienic face masks that could be used with the Oculus Rift. I did purchase some online which – while very expensive for what they were – stated they were compatible with the Rift. When they arrived I found that they were simply the wrong shape and size. Even after some fiddling it was apparent that I would have to have them fit uncomfortably across the person’s mouth, which exposed the foam seal and effectively made them unhygienic. Alternatively I could fit them across the nose which meant they would either slide up into the mask and obscure the person’s vision, or tilt upwards causing air expired from the nose to fog the lenses. This could have killed my ability to demo effectively to a large audience so I decided to get a little creative with some non-porous tape.

publicvrdemo2

After some time and patience I had created a very effective seal that was comfortable, unobtrusive and could easily be cleaned, without compromising the function of the foam. I tested this the night before the event with a couple of people who hadn’t tried VR before and the feedback I got was reassuringly positive. I will remember next time to test all of my critical equipment sooner, as this problem nearly grounded my efforts just a day before the main event.


The day went smoothly though, thanks in part to my planning but mostly through the helpful efforts of my partner, who acted as my cheerful assistant and promotional cheer-leading champion. We had setup, tested the setup and had breakfast before the event began, which gave us a confident start that continued throughout the day.

publicvrdemo3

Running this event was a great way for me to see first hand how VR sampled across a wide audience. It was interesting to talk to people and see what they thought about VR going in, as almost everyone I approached had not tried any kind of VR before, while those that had experienced it had only used smartphone VR platforms, such as Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR.

For the first hour people were a bit wary of us at first and I found that I had to pro-actively approach people to get them to agree to a demo. However, after the first hour we had a large swell of people of all ages crowding round, their attention fixed on the demo’s in progress. I knew going in that forming a queue would be difficult and maybe off-putting if the demo was a success, so between myself and my partner we tried our best to get as many people through at least one demo as efficiently as possible. The hours started falling off the clock before we knew it and interest remained high throughout the day, with some customers travelling from the opposite sides of the region to get their first taste.

The day was filled with many awesome interactions which challenged my expectations, as the – in my mind – most unlikely people embraced the technology on display, and sprung to life in childlike curiosity and awe. Though there were some exceptions. One person didn’t like the feeling of being inside the headset, while another couldn’t get a clear image with or without his glasses, then one further still had to stop as a sudden motion had caused him to feel simulation sickness creeping in. Despite these unfortunate experiences there were generally positive vibes and the moments of amazement and reverence not only made it worthwhile but also managed to get my client a significant boost in orders for VR equipment.


In reflection the day was an outstanding success, which I attribute to the preparation activities as well as the quality of the technology that is now available. I also think I should thank my first customer, who was very patient with me and that helped a lot.

publicvrdemog10

By providing this service I also learnt a lot for myself, as people gave lots of useful feedback on the games and experiences they were shown and this in turn revealed a lot about how different aspects of VR can be perceived, both positively and negatively. I will next be looking at improving upon and extending this service to local retailers in the future, with a view to take my knowledge of VR and it’s audience to a deeper level of comprehension.

I have created a page for this service, which I’m calling VR for Retail.

VRTGO Meet the Experts

VRTGO provided another great event for developers, in the form of it’s Meet the VR/AR Experts day, hosted in the Northumbria University conference rooms at the Northern Design Centre.


During the event I got to see some of the most talked about VR demos in action. One of which was Epic Games Bullet Train experience, which utilised the Oculus Touch controllers.

The demo itself seemed to encapsulate the true possibilities of an interactive game experience in ways that didn’t seem just novel but practical, exciting and fun to play. The control scheme showed the strength of the Touch controllers, in that they felt comfortable to hold and were intuitive to use, thanks to the button placement matching where fingers rested naturally. The attendant also confirmed the second camera sensor being used for the demo could in future be expanded upon by adding additional sensors behind the player. However, during the time spent with this demo there were no occlusion issues, even though it is likely that these units weren’t the final version.

In comparison, the HTC Vive wand controllers which were used in other demos weren’t as comfortable or immersive as the Touch controllers. They were easy enough to pick up and hold, even after the headset was on, and their tracking didn’t miss a beat. Nonetheless, Neutron demonstrated their interior visualisations using the Vive, in which you could use the wands to look at a virtual wrist display and then swiping the trackpad to navigate it’s options.

vrtgocollage

The familiar motion of looking at your forearm by twisting your wrist is an example of excellent design, but there was a disconnect when the need arose to fiddle with a (seemingly non-cooperative) trackpad. The veil was lifted for a second as my attention moved to correctly positioning my thumb. A small gripe, which may be down to design more than hardware, but it’s noteworthy when the complete extent of the interactivity in your experience hinges on it.

Which makes me wish I had have been able to spend some hands-on time with the NVIDIA Funhouse experience. This one I was looking forward to, as it showcases the impressive physics capable in VR with the latest GPU technology.

Time was tight and the queue was long. No fun house today. Though, this may just be the best excuse to budget for a Vive and a GTX 1000 series GPU. If I couldn’t convince my partner perhaps Mr. Wolff from Epic Games can?


Doug Wolff is Partner Technology Manager at Epic Games, the first of two speakers at the event. Doug’s enthusiasm was apparent in his speech as he championed the designers and content developers as key to the success of VR in a number of different digital industries. He spoke at length about how his team can provide a range of support to developers through their integration with leading technology teams, as well as some of the projects he wanted to highlight as stand out uses of Unreal engine in the virtual and augmented reality spaces. NVIDIA Funhouse was up there, along with the outstandly thrilling and magnificently innovative Field Trip to Mars, winner of 19 lions at this years Cannes Lions Festival.

Second speaker for the day was Humphrey Hardwicke of Digital VR, who I talked to briefly at the VRTGO Labs launch event. Humphrey ran us through how his company, the Luminous Group, found applications for VR across their existing sectors of digital surveys and architecture and what this meant to them and their clients. He provided a range of examples and gave lots of good advice on how you can approach potential clients in order to win work providing AR or VR products/services.


The event was again flawlessly hosted by the ebullient Carri Cunliffe of Secret Sauce. She took the opportunity to promote both the upcoming ARM Optimised Mobile Rendering Techniques Workshop, which is free to attend on 8th September at Gateshead College, as well as the annual VRTGO Conference & Expo at the BALTIC, November 9th.

For this outing I was accompanied by my partner, who endured the technical barrage of information and gave me useful perspective on the day’s events from an outsider’s point of view. I would recommend doing so if possible, as it’s quite easy to adopt an insular mindset and get caught up in the hype, especially with new technologies you’re invested in.

Altogether, I walked away from yet another VRTGO event filled with ideas and inspiration.

VRTGO Labs Launch Event

VRTGO Labs held its launch event on Wednesday evening, in the suitably impressive venue of St Mary’s Heritage Centre, Gateshead. VRTGO Labs aims to be Europe’s first industry-led virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) centre of excellence. While I was unable to attend for long, there were some very interesting things going on inside.

Among the exhibitors was Humphrey Hardwicke, Creative Director at Luminous Group, purveyors of digital architecture, surveys and VR. He explained to me how his company were making use of Unreal Engine 4 to demonstrate interior design visualisations using VR. What grabbed my attention initially, however, was that they were using the hand tracking capabilities of LeapMotion paired with a standard Xbox One controller, to allow rich interactivity in their Oculus Rift experience. The improved accuracy of the latest version of the Leap Motion software was exploited well by the Luminous group, and I was able to stylise the room and interact with its objects in a much more intuitive way than I had expected.

HammerheadVR made a brief speech on their AbeVR and Feel Wimbledon experiences. Just two of the projects they felt were successful based on the positive feedback they had gotten, something which may pave the way for even more interactive and emotionally engaging experiences from the studio.

A week earlier I had sampled AbeVR, which places you in the body of a woman from the 2013 psychological horror short by director Rob McLellan. Their Feel Wimbledon experience, made for Jaguar and starring Andy Murray, lets people see what it is like to make the winning strike as a professional tennis player during an intense game. HammerheadVR’s portfolio includes encouragingly varied and noteworthy works with big names like Star Wars, Lexus, Whirlpool and more.

Animmersion had brought along one of their Dreamoc hologram displays, which are gesture manipulable display cabinets that render vivid, animated 3D objects. The clarity and vibrancy of this was immediately impressive, as I had only ever seen very dim holograms in darker environments before. This display was of much higher quality, even though it was being showcased in a church hall flooded with natural lighting.

Other exhibitors at the event included talented work from local studios CCP, Coatsink, Spearhead InteractiveVector76 and Wolf and Wood, who released their highly praised A Chair In A Room, which I am looking forward trying.

Carri Cunliffe, manager of Secret Sauce, welcomed us to the event and explained VRTGO Labs as a mix of office and co-working space, situated at Baltimore House in Gateshead. She made clear how facilities such as their VR demo room and GTI open source fibre – a high-capacity, high-speed open access fibre optical network – would provide exciting opportunities for local business to co-operate in making the region a hotbed for their VR and AR cluster development programme. Carri then went on to introduce the Mayor of Gateshead, Allison Ilderton-Thompson, who expressed her amazement at the experiences she’d had and exuded a positive outlook on the role the council will play in supporting and encouraging technological and artistic innovation in the area.

Despite being only able to attend for a short time, I felt the event further reinforced my hopes that a starting up a VR business could prove to have long-term viability. I experienced and learnt about some new tech and opportunities that could be invaluable to me as a startup developer. I eagerly await the next conference and learning from all of these very talented and inspiring people.

NU Startup Experience 2016

Last weekend I attended the Start-up Experience hosted at Northumbria University Student & Graduate Enterprise, in association with the Startup Foundation and Santander Universities. The event ran from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon and was a cohesive mixture of informal talks and group tasks which would help us redefine our understanding of what startup means and gave us an overview of the agile approach to product/solution development.


During the first evening we learnt that a start-up is not, and should not be thought of as, a company. Instead we were told to think of them as temporary organisations that are seeking a repeatable and scaleable business model, while companies should be seen as entities which are currently executing a proven model. Various historical examples (read: failures) were shown and a convincing argument for adopting lean and agile development practices was given. The slides above briefly highlight the key points covered on Friday evening, including the importance of customer discovery and validation, which was reinforced throughout the whole weekend. Most of the presentations used for the event have also been added to SlideShare by Leon Pal, Chairman of the Startup Foundation and main speaker at the event.

I found these insights very useful, as I have been learning about and practising lean and agile software development methodologies through university. So it was encouraging to see that those philosophies are somewhat transferable to my goal of running a startup through the Northumbria Hatchery.

For the rest of the evening we assembled groups based on problem themes – topics such as finance, work, travel, retail or any other area we felt passionate about improving – and then set about applying some of the taught strategies ourselves, focussing firstly on the value proposition and customer segments of a business model design canvas. We also tried our hand at – and gloriously failed – the Marshmallow Challenge, which really reinforced the importance of iterative prototyping in order to find a successful solution sooner. An interesting explanation of the challenge and its pearls of wisdom I have included below.


Saturday started with walkthroughs of lean startup processes which involved ‘Learn and Confirm‘ and ‘Customer Conversation‘ segments, which taught us the value of getting out of the building and starting customer conversations around the problems we identified in our teams the night before. We refer to these as our problem statements. The idea being that actual primary field research would either validate or invalidate our problem statements and help us decide if we should pivot (a fundamental change in the business model) or proceed with developing a solution. By doing so we avoid developing a product/service based on our assumptions, that has no real customers willing to pay for our product/solution.

Thankfully our team worked well together and we tackled this task well enough to both validate and invalidate different assumptions that had led us to our problem statement. By going back and reviewing what we had learnt we decided to pivot our idea in terms of the customer segment and their needs. This helped grow us from the idea of hiring out food trucks to local businesses to instead aiming to provide a venue for local chefs and ‘foodies’ to try out their own startup at a pop-up stall in key city locations.

The key here is that we again needed to test our assumptions to gather real-world data on our renewed problem statement. So we quickly developed a social media presence and spread the word among our target audience in order to get validation, in the form of customer participation tests. This took the form of a simple competition in which we encouraged people to submit images of their best culinary creations using the hashtag #icookedit2016. We set a fail condition, a minimum of 100 responses, from which we could find perhaps 10-12 people who would come to cook and sell their dishes at our venue in Newcastle.


After promoting the competition overnight we returned on Sunday to the event and started analysing our results in order to help us give a five-minute presentation “pitch”, which consisted of an explanation of our journey and key findings we took from the weekend’s activities. The deconstruction was just as helpful as the activities that preceded it and even helped us understand and identify how we could take the idea further if we had more time to develop our problem statement and solution.

The slides we produced are included above but don’t really explain the concept or the joy of challenge, learning and discovery we all had in developing our startup over the three days. Even though we did not get the results we wanted we had applied everything we were taught and each team member agreed that we could see the benefits of the lean and agile startup approach.

In closing I got a great deal from the event and would highly recommend this or similar events to anyone looking to go into, or even considering from a curious distance, running their own startup. At least reading up on and trying out different methodologies will help you avoid the pitfalls of that blinkered approach we too often default to in life and help you stay focused on developing a minimum viable product (MVP) which is backed by a viable business model and has proven worth to customers that are actually willing to engage with it.

Thanks to all those involved! Invaluable.

Lesson learnt: Don’t build so fast that you didn’t have time to test your assumptions because your assumptions are mostly wrong. Aim for a solid, stable base (MVP) and iterate rapidly through your testing phase to find out what exactly that base consists of. You have to be able to build a skateboard before you can start to get anywhere near building a car. Learn, validate, re-learn, re-validate…repeat until $$$.