Philip Grother tells us about how his need for feedback led him to create the Test my App Meetup, and how playing the long-term game has allowed him to create some very close and strong relationships with his different partners. As Simon Sinek says: “Start with why”
As an entrepreneur, Philip has been involved with several budding start-ups, some with fantastic ideas, and others with slightly crazier ones. No matter the idea, it’s always been clear that the old way of bringing an application to market – building something and praying that someone needs what you’ve built – is not a viable approach to improving the chances of success.
Building on the idea of regular feedback loops, and leaning on his growing network of fellow entrepreneurs, Philip explored the idea of getting people in a room, showing them what he was working on and collecting objective feedback.
“The term “objective” is very important because it means that those around the table aren’t there to give him a pep talk about how great his product is and how wonderful everything looks – quite the contrary – the more the feedback rubbed him the wrong way, the better the feedback tended to be”, told Philip Grother.
He also learned that anything that was obvious to him, wasn’t always logical to his audience. This allowed him to challenge all his assumptions and create a better user experience, because of the open and honest conversations he was having.
“As founders, we tend to be emotionally attached to what we have built, and we remember how long it took us to choose a font or place a line, or even how many images we had to scroll through before finding THE right one… The hard truth is: no-one cares. No-one cares about how long it took for you to write those lines of code, no-one cares about how you struggled to choose that shade of orange – all they want is to download your application, use it, and for it to do what it says on the tin.”
“Now, it is also true that you shouldn’t wait until everything is perfect before releasing it. As Tim Ferriss often quotes “If you’re not slightly embarrassed by your first release, you’ve released it too late”. So, what to do? How can we get feedback about what we’ve done, without relying on what your kind aunt or elderly neighbour says?” This is where the power of the community kicks in, and this is what Philip is already achieving with the Test my App Meetup.
In 2017, there were a few small scale events organized at nyuko with the help of Thibaut Ciccone. The word quickly spread, and a handful of start-ups started getting interested in this idea of feedback outside of their usual circles of friends and family. Philip knew he would not be able to provide high end quality events alone, so he reached out to his now corporate partner, q-leap, which has led to the upcoming event on February 26 at The Office, during which Supermiro’s new application is going to be tested.
Philip believes that nothing great comes from working alone – we all need to put ourselves out there and test the waters, even if with a few representative people. Sometimes, the feedback is going to be a bit disappointing or hard to hear, but negative feedback at an early stage is much better than no feedback at all because no-one wants what you have spent your precious resources building.