Tidy Joins One Million Steps at Google LaunchPad 2015

One Million Steps is the first Welsh start-up chosen by Google for Launchpad 2015 in London, and I on behalf of Tidy, took the opportunity to attend as an advisory team member.

Tidy started working with One Million Steps as part of our User Experience and Data Science consultancy programme. During our time together, Ranjit Ghoshal, founder of One Million Steps, took the opportunity to invite Tidy along for us to work closer together as the week covers a wide variety of topics, one of which being User Experience which is highly appropriate.

Building a social venture is never the easiest journey, so at Tidy we were keen to help wherever we could. One Million Steps has been created through necessity by Ranjit’s passion for the charity sector, an area we are familiar with from our own story.

“I knew of Craig in his role as National coordinator for Code Club in Wales. Chatting to Craig made me see some key qualities and values I was looking for. Craig is passionate about Wales, he understands the difficulties facing small organisations and charities, and his work in gathering an army of volunteers to help build a new generation of coders in Wales impressed me. So it was a great pleasure when Craig agreed to be an advisor and brought One Million Steps onto Tidy’s “User Experience consultancy programme”.

– One Million Steps founder Ranjit

…And we’re off

We head off on Sunday morning to arrive in London early afternoon. The full team consisted of Ranjit, Ioan Morgan and myself. We had booked ourselves an apartment for the the week, so we were going to be living with each other too. That night, Ioan, Ranjit and I had a in-depth chat over beer and pizza to get a grasp on the week before us and what was expected.

So far, I’ve found no better way to really understand a business than to sit down in a relaxed environment and chat it all over. I learned a lot about the business that night, but also a great deal about Ranjit’s past and most importantly, a crystal clear understanding of his drive. The passion, or purpose is important to me and I really got it. I was looking forward to the next few days.

Each day was unique

Google really wanted to fit as much as possible into a single week. We had a key area assigned to each day and during that day we would have 8 incredible area specific mentors from Google as well as other big/small successful companies to guide us through. The idea is to have as much experience as possible available to each start-up during the week, and with 8 mentors a day, and 15 start-ups, we all had a good solid 4 hours of 1-on-1 mentioning which was brilliant.

Day 1 (Monday): Product day:

Today we were tasked with pinning down our MVS (minimal viable start-up). Great introduction from Mark Masterson getting us thinking about engines of growth, vanity metrics, and above all else, validated learning. Validate, validate, validate. That was my biggest outcome from the day. Simple, but often overlooked.

Google launchpad 2015 Mark Masterson introduction

Mark also got deep with the origins of Lean being an old idea based on the manufacturing context. He also recommended Eric Ree’s The Lean Startup book (which I would recommend too!). Other than those concepts, we were debating the struggle between what’s minimal and what’s viable. A key area to explore and get right.

Google launchpad 2015 Ranjit one million steps

Once the talks and introductions were over, we were off to put together our business model canvas which took us some time as we were working with a large idea, and condensing to a few boxes was more difficult than expected. In later hindsight, we should have focused on creating 3 concurrent business model canvases as we were a platform with 3 market segments, but that’s why we were here, to learn from the guys who’ve done it before us.

Day 2 (Tuesday): User Experience day:

Today was all about the User Experience, our day. Stavros Garzonis was our lead mentor and took us on a journey through a variety of User Experience tools available. Today was a good day to validate the type of work and process we already employ at Tidy. It was great to see iteration loops take centre stage as that is the core of our consultancy club which we run on a monthly basis. Other than that, we covered the diamond design process, A/B testing, and even Google Buzz and why it was a horrible disaster.

Google launchpad 2015 user experience day

My biggest learning from the day was our 1-on-1 mentoring from Tim Jones a Google veteran in mobile design and User Experience. He helped validate our idea from the previous day, but also gave clear concise user testing feedback on our wireframes and personas. Great down to earth guy who said it as he saw it.

Day 3 (Wednesday): Marketing day:

Marketing! Today’s mentor leads were Stefano Marrone and Andre Schober who essentially baked down marketing to content and storytelling. Ideally visual storytelling.

Marketing is all about connecting people with your idea so there’s no better way than to tell your story. Andre introduced a brilliant way to see the story unfold using the golden circle and the all important question of “Why?”. Start with why by showing, not telling, then move forward with how and what. The example was of Apple and the ‘why’ was something like “We are obsessed with design and strive for design perfection”, followed by ‘how’ “we do this by meticulously designing our products for ease of use”, finally ended with a ‘what’ “by the way, we sell computers”. Did this approach work for Apple? You tell me.

Andre helped define the days we’ve already progressed through and allowed us to see through a marketing lens with the idea of the MVC (minimal viable campaign), a brilliant way to look at it all. My biggest take away from today would be the emphasis on content and storytelling only. In comparison to the other channels, they are the single biggest game changers you could have.

Google launchpad day 3 marketing day

Unfortunately, I had to head back

After day 3, unfortunately I had to go back to Wales so my notes end here. Although, this was a great opportunity to not waste my space and instead, invite along my good friend Jonjoe of Indee to take my place. Technology day was next, so I could think of no-one better. I’m sure you’ll see notes of day 4 and 5 over on Indee’s blog soon.

To summarise, I’d just like to say thank you to Google, all the mentors, and Ranjit for a half-ish week of intense learning. It was a great experience and I learned a great deal.

As a final note, we are still seeking our 11 members to join our User Experience and Data Science consultancy club. Hopefully from this post you can see we work very closely with our members in an effort to understand and be as effective as possible, so feel free to get in touch if you are interested.