Why it's important to build a prototype first, not a product

Image via Tech in Asia
While the concept of lean start-ups has been around for a while, most entrepreneurs err in their understanding of what the first prototype is, which they need to put out in the market for testing.

This fictional story may help you understand:

A king, with a small but strong army, was constantly being raided by thieves and smugglers who lived in a nearby forest.
One day, after countless complaints and one raid gone awry with deaths throughout the countryside, the king decided to wipe out this little problem.

There was only one problem – a river ran between the land and the place where the thieves had taken refuge. The king’s men also expected an ambush when they landed on the other side.

So they kept mulling over it for days, until one day, a bright young chap told the king he had a solution. He dropped a paper boat into the water, and dropped two pebbles into the paper boat.

These were days before people knew what boats were. The king was surprised to see that the paper boat could float and even carry two pebbles in it without sinking.

Wowed by what he saw, the king could visualise the solution in his mind. With an excited sparkle in his eye, the king’s next question was, “How do we build this?” The young lad replied, “Give me carpenters and wood, and I’ll get you the boats to carry your men across.”

The paper boat was the prototype. Your goal, therefore, when building a prototype is to get that wow, and show the customers and stakeholders a glimpse of the solution.

This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here. Known as The Startup Guy, Vijay Anand is the founder and CEO of The Startup Centre

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