“Find a problem, create a solution.”
When asked to define entrepreneurship, the quote above is one of our favorites. As with so many beautiful quotes, this one is also completely true. And it seems so simple, but we know that when something seems simple, it doesn’t always have to be. In the meantime, we therefore advocate updating this quote to “Live a problem, create a solution.”.
Because finding problems, that can still be done. Most entrepreneurs know by now that you should focus on the problem instead of the solution. But what many entrepreneurs don’t yet understand—or aren’t willing to understand—is how deep you have to go, and how much you have to live the problem in the real world, to actually build a good solution for it.
In the next few minutes we will tell you how the idea of Amigos, and the underlying problem, have been ‘lived’ and how this has formed the foundation for the success of Amigos.
THE IDEA AMIGOS TO THE CONCEPT AMIGOS
As a venture builder, we often come into contact with entrepreneurs with business ideas. Within Duodeka we call this the ‘scouting’ phase. A large part of the ideas already die here, because entrepreneurs often fail to go from an idea to a validated concept. Our current three operating ventures: Mr. Winston, Notul Software and Amigos are examples of ideas that have made it into a validated concept. In this article we zoom in on Amigos.
At the time of writing (February 2022) it has been about 1.5 years since the Utrecht-based Dutch Concepts approached Duodeka with the idea of Amigos. As always with Duodeka, we first started with the critical validation of the central problem. It was defined as: “You can’t see who is open to spontaneous contact”. Underneath the problem lay two assumptions:
(1) People need new social contacts
(2) People need spontaneous encounters
To validate these assumptions, the team immersed itself firmly in the problem using the ‘get out of the building’ principle of the Lean Startup Method. After all, you don’t get to know the problems, needs and dreams of your target group at the conference table and during brainstorming sessions. If you really want to understand your target audience, you have to live the problem.
Keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer
Do people need new social contacts? It soon became apparent that there are several apps and platforms that respond to this need. Think of nmlk.nl, Eetclub, Meetup and Joinby. Based on the existence of all these apps, it can already be concluded that this need is there. Taking a look at these platforms also shows that they are used extensively.
Under the motto ‘keep your friends close; keep your enemies closer’ has been chosen to literally infiltrate these competitors. Who are the people using this? What are they looking for? Why are they looking for new contacts? This has created a very good picture of the target group of these platforms. By living the problem with your potential target group, you really get to know the target group. This provides more valuable insights than any desk research.
Planned versus spontaneous
In short, it soon became clear that there is a target group that needs new social contacts. However, the idea of Amigos is based on the need for spontaneous social contact. The existing comparable platforms focus on planned social contact. Because there were no platforms that reasoned from the spontaneous principle, situations had to be set up to imitate this. For example, calls have been made on Eetclub with the purport: “Who would like a spontaneous dinner?”. Subsequently, it was of course possible to talk again with the people who came to this: Who are the people who need spontaneous social contact? Why do they need this?
The enthusiasm with which many people responded to calls for spontaneous socialization resulted in the validation of the second assumption. In short, living the underlying problem confirmed people’s need for new spontaneous social contacts. The Amigos idea slowly transformed into the validated Amigos concept.
DEEP DIVE IN THE TARGET GROUP
However, this still wasn’t enough. The underlying problem for Amigos was validated, but to make your solution a real success, you will also have to make a deep dive into your target group. Does your target group consist of subgroups again? Do they have different roles in your solution? And do they derive value from your solution in different ways?
Had this not been hammered in, the solution might as well have been just an app with a map. Or we could have had people put “Open to contact” on their foreheads.
But of course you don’t build a successful business with that. By making a deep dive into your target group, you can see that your solution often undergoes a transformation, including at Amigos.
Types of users
Within Amigos, there are roughly three types of users. A number of functionalities of the app provide value for all types of users:
Easy insight into what is going on around you;
getting to know new people;
Getting to know existing contacts better
However, different types of users also derive value from the app in different ways. The app solves a different problem for each user type. Only when this link is there with every user type does the solution to the validated problem have real value.
The organizers in Amigos are the people who organize events themselves. The ‘star function’ has been added to the app for this group. The stars allow users to give a positive review to other users, creating a feedback loop.
Amigos provides value to the subscribers by offering the opportunity to join events in an accessible way.
The “regular joe” is not an organizer, but not necessarily a follower either. Amigos has value for the regular Joe because he or she interacts more easily and more with people who are not in his or her regular friend group.
By bringing the idea of Amigos to a validated concept, many valuable lessons have been learned. Why has Amigos become a success? We are aware that luck and timing always play a role, but more than ever it has become clear how important it is to really live your problem. The next time we start taking an idea to a validated concept, we’ll be even better for all the lessons learned. This is the magic of the venture building model for us.
Of course we are curious about your view on this article. If you want to share something about this, or want to spar about your insights, be sure to send a message. We will be back with you soon with another theme, see you then