Last month, we took our first concrete step since the formalization of the company with the start of a pilot group to protect used smartphones. But let's start from square one.
A very common mistake that technical people commit when it comes to validating an idea is to focus on what we know how to do (develop software, in my case) instead of focusing on what is really the most important goal at the moment: validating the value proposition with actual clients. In an environment with so many uncertainties, it is very easy to embrace our vision of solution, bury our heads, and spend months developing a tool that many times no one will want to use after all. But we have already gone through this in other experiences, and we are determined to do differently and try to follow the "learn by the book" approach.
A more obvious way would be to quickly develop a simpler MVP, but when we think of the dynamics of a mutual aid group, we see that there are many different ways of working, and while we have several good assumptions about how the app should be, we know they are only non-validated hypotheses. So, to further shorten the learning process, we embraced the spirit of co-creation and decided to take a different path: to form a first pilot group formed mainly by entrepreneurs of the startups ecosystem of Vitória, ES using only third-party solutions such as WhatsApp for group dynamics, SurveyMonkey for registration forms, indemnity claims and other processes, PagSeguro/PicPay for payment and spreadsheets for controlling group resources.
On December 21, even though it was on the verge of Christmas, we were able to bring together a group of dozens of entrepreneurs at Cowork Nest to present our vision of co-creation and to gather feedback from our enterprising friends. We were not there to defend or sell our vision, but only to present our assumptions, our doubts, and hear what the participants had to add. We made that very clear and made a very transparent presentation of what we were planning, and received many really important feedbacks.
In the end we announced that we were starting a smartphone protection pilot group that would work experimentally, but for real. We created a registration form and two groups on WhatsApp. Interested parties filled out the registration that was shared via WhatsApp with the group to vote and approve or not the entry of the new member. Once approved, the member must make a provision of 5% (plus fees) of the desired cover amount to be included in the group. We know that 5% may be a very high percentage for higher average ticket protections, but since it was a smartphone, that was a pretty reasonable value. And it is worth remembering that only when an event happens and the group approves an apportionment that each member will need to make a new contribution to reimburse the provisioned amount.
In the days that followed, some people signed up and, although the number of members was less than ideal, our first smartphone protection group was born. All very improvised and manually operated by us, but always trying to make the most of the tools available to provide the best experience for our customers.
But apart from the "official" WhatsApp group for more formal interactions, such as approving a new member, we also created another group we call "co-creation". In it, all pilot participants were invited to participate actively in the validation process and the definitions of how the group should work, discussing with us ideas and proposals that could then be put into practice. We believe this is the only way we can really design a platform that provides a great user experience.
The result so far is that the early feedbacks were very good. Everyone has that "what a fantastic idea!" reaction. Of course, the fact that the group is made up of friends might mask our validation a little at this point, but in general the participants are entrepreneurial friends, accustomed to looking critically at any new business, and trained in the culture of honest and direct feedbacks. We have not received much criticism, but many questions have been asked for which we do not know the best answer yet. But we are just getting started, and given the acceptance and praise for a shared self- insurance proposal, we believe we are on the right track.
So, let's go!