Leenboek.nl: Experiment 2 – it’s live

In our new proces, we take the riskiest assumptions to an idea and really validate (or invalidate) them. Which seems to be the absolute bridge between the ultimate timeboxing in 400 minutes and creating a big long-term idea (vs. creating a fluke)

So the previous riskiest assumption was to test whether people would actually sign up for a some sort of online library. You can still find the experiment here: http://www.leenboek.nl/sprint2/ This experiment validated, in fact it validated much better than I expected. So I persevered [<I will write about this]

However, apart from finding the perfect product – market fit I believe that in 400 minutes I try to do more. I am also trying to find a customer – design and product – technology fit. Such fancy words for something you build in 6.6 hours! I agree very much so, what I try to say is that I try to build it as quick and decent as possible and try to make it look as appealing as I can.

For the first experiment Leenboek worked really well but the framework and design wasn’t really on the level you would want it to be when actually trying to get people to register and add books. So I threw out the old design and quickly made a new one. I also chucked out the 1140 responsive layout, not because it was not good, in fact the layout is fantastic but I felt it took me too much time to get it right. Instead I started using the good old 960 grid again. So this 400 minute sprint was not just about creating a new MVP, it was als about sorting the design and tech out.

I am very happy that this week a new experiment has gone live, I will test whether people will actually add their books to leenboek.nl. For this I redesigned it, created 2 landingspages, 1 FAQ page, a registration page and a book adding module (using google books). After one day the results seem to point to having to pivot at this point (huray! I wish I could have failed faster!)

Next Chapter: Leenboek 3 >

Leenboek.nl – Persevere

In the new approach to getting idea’s out there, I added the pivot & persevere experiments. In this post I would like to explain how this works.

400 minutes to an experiment

Every 400 minutes I build something that I can experiment with. In the case of leenboek, I designed and developed 2 landingpages, something that would email a form to me and 2 adwords ads.

Minimum Success Criteria

Before I started the experiment I defined some metrics that would tell me whether this went well or not. I decided I wanted to use about € 20,- on adwords and for that money I wanted at least 4 subscriptions (which would make it € 5,- per subscription)

The experiment

I decided to target traffic on both lending out books as well as lending books, so basically you want to give out a book or you are looking for a book. I created two landingspages and two ads so the variation could not be in the design of either. The landingspages had two buttons; “I want to lend a book”  and “I want to lend out a book”, leading both to a registration page where people had to choose a password and give their email address.


The result

This images is overcomplex, but that’s just the way I like it. What it means is that 10 people registered. Much more than I expected and I actually had to stop the experiment because I was getting too much registrations. All people that registered received an email saying that they registered for something that wasn’t there yet.

Pivot or persevere

After the experiment I have two choices, pivot or persevere. If the minimum succes criteria weren’t met, I need to pivot. In other words; I wanted 4 people to sign up, then apparently this platform is viable and simply a good idea. If I wasn’t able to have 4 people sign up, I would have to pivot, because the idea wasn’t good enough. In this case, as the experiment was a succes, I need to persevere. By which I basically mean, continue with the idea in it’s form and find out what other assumptions in the idea need to be tested/perfected.


So the next assumption I made is that people actually want to open up their book collection to other people. I think this is very important to test, so right now I am building the simplest way to add books to the library and this will be my next experiment, trying to get at least 4 people to add their books to the library for € 20,-.

Whats with the 4’s?

I have no idea, I just like the number 4. To be honest I have no clue what I base these statistics on, I dont think it matters really, if I can get members for € 5,- to open up their book collection, that is fine, if I can make it work for € 2,- too, thats even better.

Next chapter: Leenboek 2 >

Building the worlds biggest library

Who says a 400 minutes project should be small? Like I mentioned in the previous post: Pivot (http://www.400minutes.com/pivot/) The 400 minutes process is changed slightly. What changes is that I take 400 minutes to create a true MVP, rather than a finished service or product. With the MVP I will test out the idea, and either pivot, persevere or terminate. I used leancanvas, to sketch out the business model (haha!) and found that people are interested in lending books from each other. However, nobody is going to lend his or her book to a stranger, just like you wouldn’t rent out your apartment to a stranger. So this week my MVP is testing out ‘the airbnb for books’ but really the bigger picture is that it would be simply freaking awesome if we could make the worlds largest social library.

After day 1 I already got the first sketch, registered the domain (leenboek.nl) and started to build it. It is in dutch, simply because it is easier, and easier to test!



Next chapter: Leenboek >


It is more than 2(!) months ago since the last update. And still the mobile project is not done yet. I stepped into my own pitfall again: Dont fall in love (http://www.400minutes.com/dont-fall-in-love/) so now I will do something else you should never do: Quit an idea (http://www.400minutes.com/never-quit-an-idea/) Or at least pause it. I still believe it is a fantastic idea but lat weekend I was at Lean Startup Machine Rotterdam (http://leanstartupmachine.com/events/rotterdam-october-26-28/) which was superawesome and gave me a lot of new insights.

One of the insights was pivot. Something I haven’t done at all so far (I have been starting over and over again) And also making the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) absolutely the minimum. So this week I pivoted my 400 minutes method by going for the absolute MVP, after a week pivot, persevere or abondon, and start off with a clean sheet and a new idea.

Mobile projects:You Snooze, You lose!

The last two weeks (800) minutes were spent going mobile. Almost every idea made before into a website would be better as a mobile app. However I can’t make mobile apps.

Needless to say; that had to change. The concept I wanted to build: an alarm app that would donate money to charity every time you snooze. So I spent the first 400 minutes on gathering what this would be like, setting up mobile environments and testing out various tools to make mobile apps.

Halfway the 2nd 400 minutes I realised that this idea already exists: http://mashable.com/2011/08/17/iphone-alarm-clock-donates-your-snooze-to-charity/ which is awesome! So I spent the next part on finishing what I could finish and will spend the next week on turning this basic app into a great idea.

If you have an android device you can download the app on http://www.400minutes.com/YouSnoozeYouLose.apk. Use your android device to navigate to this url and install the app. What works: the app knows when it has registered (AlarmID™) and prompts if you havnt. If it prompts for an AlarmId, just fill in anything random, it will remember and never asks for it again. Don’t try to register, this button doesnt do anything. Further more setting the alarm works, snoozing it works and dismissing it works too. What doesnt work yet is donating money to charity (since the registration part is missing)