This is Part 2 of the “Failplans Stop Here” series.
As I mentioned in the introductory post, we are going to not only talk the talk in this series, we’re going to walk-the-walk as well. Instead of regurgitating tomes of “best practices”, we’re going to create a fictitious company (no, it isn’t WifiCat – lol) and build an elevator pitch, fast pitch deck, formal pitch deck, one-pager, and a full business plan around it.
Without further, adieu …
Our fictitious company is named Frobozz, Inc. For you younger readers out there who may not be familiar with Frobozz, it is taken from the legendary Zork series of text adventures authored by Infocom back in the 1980s.From Wikipedia: FrobozzCo International was a fictional monopolous conglomerate from the game. FrobozzCo products are littered throughout all Zork games, often with humorous effect.
Can’t get any more fictitious than that. We’ll stick with the fantasy theme and see where it goes. Of course, the last time I uttered those words, I ended up in a 5×5 Taiwanese jail cell with dressed only in a red shawl and clutching a half-eaten box of Raisinettes. Shudder.
Let’s set the scene …
At Frobozz, we have a pretty amazing product prototype – a smartphone app called The Clockwork Canary (TCC). Yes, another obscure Zork reference. Through the company’s advanced research into all things magic, TCC provides a rather unique proximity-based, early-warning system to its owner. When someone matching the TCCs early warning criteria approaches you, you’ll get an alert. The beautiful part, is that the profile can be configured for just about anything. We can detect people who are single and rich, brilliant thinkers, or time sinking losers. Think of the possibilities! The best part is, because it’s based on proprietary magic, it requires no consent or participation of the third party. Ha! We’ll deal with the privacy lawsuits later, after we’re sufficiently rich.
To function properly, TCC requires at least one set of custom rules (we call them Canary Scripts) to be loaded into it before it will function. The application and the complete collection of Canary Scripts will be sold via the iPhone and Android App Stores. You can see the Clockwork Canary in action below:
The product is currently in a “campus beta” state, with 500 students at Georgia Tech. For the purpose of the beta, we have provided our users with a Canary Script that will detect people in close proximity who are single, of compatible sexual orientation, and have at least one hobby in common with the phone’s owner. It isn’t perfect yet, but we wanted to get a “minimal viable product” out the door and start getting some feedback so we can ramp up to a public release.
As you can imagine, the market for this fictitious technology is very broad, nebulous, and potentially incredibly lucrative. Think of all the possibilities for this thing (criminal or otherwise). I chose this by design, as, right or wrong, every entrepreneur views their deal in that way. So this is something we’re going to have to deal with in our plan.
The original brains behind this fictitious product is a guy by the name of Thaddeus Kaine (@ThaddeusKaine). Thad’s a good guy – really knows his stuff, if he were only real. He is currently a student down at Georgia Tech in the Computational Sorcery undergraduate program. Thad reached out to me a few months ago, thinking that I might be able to give him some feedback on his product. I was pretty blown away by the concept, and after seeing it in action firsthand, I agreed to work with him on refining the concept. Fast forward a bit, we’re a team now, and I’m pretty excited about where this is going!
We wanted to have a cool logo, but it wasn’t a priority until now, as we’ve been working on the product. Not being a graphic designer, I ended up bartering for it. Had a friend of mine do it in exchange for helping him move two Pianos. Sometimes, moving two insanely large and expensive wooden musical instruments that have completely weightless and free alternatives on an iPad is the price you pay to move your venture forward. Life’s strange, sometimes.
Bartering is far and away the most popular technique in bootstrapping from nothing. Quid pro quo. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Master this, and you will already be ahead of 90% of other would-be entrepreneurs.
Stay tuned for part three of this series, where we’ll start digging into creating our pitch.