Building Prototypes that People will Buy

Building Prototypes that People will Buy

Danielle Applestone, the CEO of Other Machine Co. stopped by our Oakland-Berkeley Chapter to spoke on how exactly to build a prototype that people actually want to buy. Applestone had something to say that could have been perceived as a little controversial -- she advises startups to create the cheapest prototype possible, so that you can truly gauge your user need and experience, without wasting a bunch of time on making mistakes. To her, rapid prototyping may just be the way to go, spending the least money to make the right product from the get-go, putting the customers first immediately.

Key Takeaways

1) Go to your market, before you have a product.

Just go to market before you have a product, Applestone says. Before you really feel like you're ready, jump into the business and figure it out. This isn't for crowdfunding or pre-sales, she says -- crowdfunding and pre-sales break the rules and can shoot you in the foot. Instead, she says to build prototypes and then sell those prototypes. Get a person to pay you for your product, so that you can truly learn your market.

2) Don't set expectations for your pricing.

Don't set a price from the beginning. Before you make a product, you won't know how valuable it is for the consumer. A product's value is only based upon how much money a consumer will pay for it, not upon how much you've spent to make that product. If you start a crowdfunding campaign, you may be poorly setting an expectation on what the price of your product will be, without truly establishing the value of the product.

3) You need the customer's voice.

If you need money to grow your business, you need the customer's voice. You can't get anyone to invest in you if you merely tell them how great your product is. Instead, you need to show what the customer thinks, and how the customer is willing to buy your product because of how it helps them (and have data to back it up); that's how you find investment dollars.

4) The prototype is about the customer.

When your customer has a prototype in their hands, it's not about you, it's all about the customer. How are they using it? What do they need to use it more efficiently? How does it help or hinder them? What is their experience with your product?

5) 3D print as many parts as possible.

You don't need to invest in molds or tooling before you know what your customer needs. When you're making prototypes to discover the customer's experience with your product, 3D print as many parts as possible, to save on costs.

Need more reasons to go the prototype route? Applestone gives you 10!

Preview Full Top10 Reasonsto Sell Prototypes Pdf

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