pexels-photo-92028At the lab we started approaching developers for creating our minimum viable product. Those conversations are a lot like a pitch. You offer an overview of your market, how you anticipate serving them and what your payment strategy is all about.

We spoke with Oak City Labs in Apex, NC. and Big Pixel, Raleigh, NC both gave us a master class in preparing for bidding an app project. Five questions that I found particularly helpful and I want to share them with you.

Do you need a tech solution to validate and test your assumptions? This question is all about cultural cues. What are the major community paradigms at play that you see or can replicate that illuminate a service? Those assumptions can be tested. Our goal at this stage is test the idea, serve a niche community and challenge our monetization strategy.

What is your operating choice android or IOS? Seems straightforward enough. It’s a warm-up question. The question laid the groundwork for a conversation starter into progressive web applications. Remember the person we hire wants to provide the right service that will make us happy. They maybe better suited for a larger build when you have an established community in your service.

What kind of server will you need? It’s a helpful question that I think many clients don’t consider. We know the features that are needed. How to give them a home and keep the user’s stuff is a different consideration. Seeing the need for more information and details about our server needs is helpful to know before we start coding. The server expenses per month will help you estimate your burn rate. Are you ready for those expenses?

Who is creating the logic? Logic!? I thought we would just dial up Sergy Brin. When you start designing wireframes it’s easy to skip over the magical properties that computing creates. You may not need to begin with sophisticated math for your MVP. However, your customers will ask for more features and services. Planning for the logic at the start will help you determine the stages of your feature builds.

What is your monetization strategy? Push yourselves to work this question to the marrow. We address the question during business canvas conversation. But it needs to be aired out and discussed. It’s an opportunity to challenge expectations. The monetization question is tied directly to what your application does and what problem does it solve. The back end will need to align with the monetization solution that best matches.

Take the questions in stride. We used them to form a conversation about our service to University students, details of the wireframe, and our business projections. You don’t need to have all the answers. But you do need to seek to understand the areas you understand well and the areas that need new insight. When you have the answers start over again. It’s going to help you serve your company and your customers. Do you have questions that you always ask during business canvas iteration sessions? Share your comments with the Protagonist Lab team.


Paul Mosca founder of Protagonist Lab. MA Social Science, Essex University. Business ideation and execution consultant. Avid reader. Loves playing the drums. Information Technology is only as interesting as the people it serves.