As we learned in my previous posts, the purpose of a high-tech “cognitive system” is to not only offer real-time expert assistance to the founder with regards to the market viability of their concept, but to also answer the most critical question they face on a daily basis; “What should I do next?” Previously we painted the big picture of how a cognitive system will build the next startup and then dug a little bit deeper into how to execute the first phase of the customer development model “Customer Discovery”. This article kicks off a series that will explain why you, as a founder, should follow and execute the Customer Discovery process to find your business model. It will also delve into how having access to assistance from a cognitive system like “Herbie” will significantly multiply your chances of building an extremely valuable and highly scalable enterprise.Herbie will significantly increase your chances of building a scalable global enterprise Click To Tweet
Customer Discovery is part science/part art-form designed to capture your vision and turn it into a series of business model hypotheses. These hypotheses are then tested with customers in order to turn these educated guesses into firm actionable facts. Because of the copious amounts of research, the need for complex analytics, the constant cycles of testing and iteration, and the high level of team collaboration involved, a cognitive system like Herbie can add immediate value to the founding team of an early stage startup searching for the right business model. Borrowing inspiration from “The Startup Owners Manual” authored by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf and leveraging business insight acquired via my 20+ years of cross-industry global market development experience, I will share with you my future vision of how Herbie can and will guide the intrepid entrepreneur through “The Matrix” of building a very valuable startup (while avoiding and/or overcoming all “agents”).A hypothesis is an “educated guess…Herbie can help you turn them into actionable facts Click To Tweet
Whether you are building a physical product or one that only exists online, there are nine business model hypotheses that must be formulated and tested during the Customer Discovery process. They involve: Is my market big enough? Will the customer pay for it? How will I distribute it? What market am I in? What is my competitive edge? How do I acquire new customers? How do I keep existing customers? How do I grow “product share” with existing customers? What type of external support do I need? What partnerships are good for my business? Exactly how much money can I make?
As you can see, there is no shortage of subject areas that the next Zuckerburg must continuously navigate through in order to bring their idea to profitable life. While I don’t know how Zuck did it, he surely would have appreciated having access to the virtually unlimited informational and analytical resources of a cognitive system like Herbie. Even if you are fortunate enough to have a dream team of subject matter experts as co-founders, there are five areas that Herbie can assist in driving bottom-line results to your enterprise:
1 Enhanced speed to market – speed kills the competition and penetrates markets;Speed to market kills the competition and Herbie is your lethal weapon Click To Tweet
2 Unlimited access to historical subject matter expertise – constantly leveraging past business lessons to help establish current business model states;Analyzing past success/failures drives tomorrow's winning strategy Click To Tweet
3 Unlimited access to current market conditions – constantly scanning current data/recent events to determine real-time strategy shifts/pivots;Constantly scanning for global market business shifts drives adaptability Click To Tweet
4 Enhanced collaboration – constantly blending, reassessing and communicating the impact of business model changes across all roles/functions; and
5 360 Degree learning – the ability to constantly learn and adapt to the unpredictable nature of an early stage startup by offering prescriptive feedback based on the results of hypothesis testing and real-time inputs.Prescriptive analytics offers founders objective actionable insights Click To Tweet
The ability to rapidly plan, act, and react in real-time to the vagaries of the startup experience is the clear dividing line between success and failure. The competitive advantage afforded by having a cognitive system like Herbie at the disposal of the founding team has been demonstrated in recent days via the exploits of IBM Watson and other highly publicized use cases (ie.“Connie” the robotic concierge at the Hilton) that highlight current advancements in AI.The ability to plan & react in real-time is the difference between success and failure Click To Tweet
From a technical infrastructure perspective, there are a mix of several key technologies that make Herbie such a dynamic offering. The starting lineup includes BIG DATA acquisition and storage, Machine Learning Algorithms, RDBMS/NoSql Databases, Hadoop Ecosystem, Enterprise Service Buses (ESB), Content Management Systems, Descriptive/ Predictive/ Prescriptive Analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Systems. They will all work in concert to enable the next generation of cognitive systems, which in turn will drive the next generation of highly valued technology startups.
The future is exciting and I look forward to sharing my vision on the critical role that I believe cognitive systems will play in making it happen. My next series of articles will serve to build my case for how I believe this technology will help founders identify, define and test whether the payoff from their new venture is worth rolling the dice and going all in for or if you are about to come up snake eyes and you should really go cash out.
Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for following me on the journey.