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EXECUTION A product for guitarists, my story and the progress of the project

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by SevenJay, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. SevenJay
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    SevenJay Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Hi to everyone, I'm Jay.
    Even if this is my first post, I'm about 2 and a half years in the process of starting a business about a little invention I made, I have the 36th (final) prototype, and I'm about to begin my first pre-selling marketing campaing to fund the production.

    My story (if you don't care just skip to the product)
    I want to share my story because honestly I feel like this is becoming an "exodus" more than a journey, I'm craving for some company during the trip and I don't really have very "fastlane entrepreneur" friends so deep in the process, nor family members whom I can talk about how I feel, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.

    I'm now 30, I used to be a professional guitarist until I was 27, I practiced many hours a day, did a bunch of important gigs with my band, recorded an album, a couple of guitar brands were sponsoring me, I owned a music school and I was very happy, I wasn't famous but people in my town recognised me at parties, even if I had never met them: "you are jay, you are a real guitar hero", "you play like a god, your band is awesome, you guys will become famous" and the like, it was fantastic and I thought I was going to "make it" in the music industry sooner or later.

    Every other month a new opportunity appeared, I loved my life, didn't really make any significant money but I frankly didn't care, I felt I had a greater purpose in my life, and that was making art.

    Then 3 years ago my left ulnar nerve decided to troll me, I went under surgery 2 times with no significant improvements and, long story short, I had to stop playing the guitar as a professional, I can still play for about an hour but then it hurts and I have to rest 2 days. Guitar in Italy these years couldn't really work as a plan for life when I could play as much as I wanted...imagine how reliable it is this way.

    Since when I was 17 I always felt that working 8 hours a day was unacceptable, that i'd rather live poor with no family than be a slave. I always answered arrogantly "I don't need kids, I need statues" to the people who told me "one day you'll need money for a home and a family", so following the annoying incessant advice of getting a full time a job wasn't an option.

    Given that I had now so much free time (found a part-time job in the mornings) I replaced the afternoon and evening guitar sessions with Call of Duty and Tekken, waiting to be able to play again, but after several months that time seemed to never arrive, about 1 year later decided I would never play another note to earn a living. I closed the school, unable to even teach anymore, and I dove into some marketing material, thanks to a promising 997€ online course.

    It was quite good actually (even if I discovered later that it was just a plagiarism of an american course translated into italian and priced 20 times more, but they did mention Fastlane, and even that single advice was worth the money!). I loved the matter, i had already read Cialdini, and many books about people's behaviour, so i was very fascinated about putting another passion to work, this time relying upon something that couldn't break so easily: my brain instead of my hands...and if it does i wouldn't know.

    Since then I've read about 40 books about topics like branding, naming, positioning, storytelling, startups, creativity, psycology, advertising, and countless blog posts and guides on SEO, css, html, javascript, ruby on rails, web-marketing and customizing wordpress themes. Yes I spend a lot of time reading, sometimes I feel it is too much but I don't regret it, I really knew nothing about the "real world", I was all about music, now I feel I know a lot of useful skills, it's incredible how many interesting things exist in this world.

    Anyway I've always had a passion for building and designing things to solve little daily problems, thanks to my lego technic addicted past (ohh the good old non-video games, buy lego to your kids if you have!). Often their main function was to be ridicolous overly complicated knacks to do jobs simple as holding a smartphone, other times they were smart little solutions related to wiring musical devices or MIDI systems, holding instruments in place on stage, or doing DIY jobs without the right tools.

    The product

    One of my DIY projects involved finding a solution to the one problem that annoyed me so much when I played long hours: the back pain during long guitar practice sessions. One day I decided once and for all I want to practice comfortably and given that no solution existed (at least one I could find using google) I built a contraption that worked good enough for me and used it happily for years, playing 6-8 hours a day, sometimes 12.

    Actually it was so effective that friends who saw it asked me where did i buy it, then when told I built it they said me I should sell it, that they would even buy mine, even if that first one was so homemade-looking, and only worked on my guitar.

    Execution
    Years later, fueled by the paint-brush cover success I read on MJ's fastlane 2 years ago, I realized that this tool could be a good product to start a business after all, it was full CENTS, it had a big market, was well worth trying...fast forward nearly 2 years and I built 34 prototypes in my garage, until I found a solution that looks pretty for an artist, works for most guitars and guitarist and is endlessy durable.

    It took so long because I was indeed trying, I questioned the design, then the idea itself countless times, I began pursuing other projects like a social network I began to program by myself studying ruby all along, then I wrote 20 songs for an electronic music album, then this then that....every few months I read fastlane again and returned on my track: monogamy, monogamy.

    Eventually I decided I had to do it and not just try, that one day I will own a nice recording studio and the free time to compose all the music I want, without having to worry about how "commercial" it is.

    So when I finally had a final prototype, 3-4 months ago, I realized I didn't know were to start to put my tool into people's hands ( :p ), I had read "The lean startup" and honestly it was very inspiring but mostly it was the story of the author, not very useful aside from the concept of fail fast with a MVP, and even that was not so easy to apply, just a piece of information one could misinterpret in so many ways. But he mentioned over and over "the 4 steps to the epiphany" and how it guided him through all the steps to his fortune, so I read that other book and it was fantastic! It gave me a clear framework where I could find a place and a time to put to work all my other studies, and a little intricated but very smart blueprint to follow about how to test my idea in the real world and bring it to the market without risky investments.

    Following the book's principles I realized I made a big mistake: I had to test the product much earlier and shouldn't have build dozens of prototypes to perfect the design only to discover that perhaps everybody thinks it is useless.

    I called all the guitarist friends and aquaintances I know and went to visit them for my on-field test and it luckily it went all good, they liked it, it is much more beautiful than needed but that doesn't hurt at least, everybody said they would buy one, I've collected comments like: “This is addictive, you can’t play without once you try it” or “The only problem is that now I cannot play the guitar without wondering how uncomfortable it is”.
    This doesn't automatically mean they will buy it, obviously, but at least I can go to the next phase, that is selling the MVP and see if people actually buy it.

    I'm really excited about this but my main concern is that this tool is as effective as it is so simple, i guess the right chinese guy could copy it and put it on ali-baba in less time than it took me to write this post.

    My solution to the problem, having studied a lot of marketing and branding books, is that there is one thing that they cannot steal me, and that is a well executed management of meaning: i.e. my brand.
    There are a lot of products out there that suffer competition from copycats but still have the biggest share of the market, because they have the best brand, so I decided that my MVP has to include the best brand I can, something that tickles guitarists pride and dreams of glory, that lets them identify as successful, if there is a psychological profile I know, that is the guitarist.

    I decided to launch a kickstarter campaign for this part of the project (selling the mvp) but then I found again completely stuck when I had to decide the final name.
    I wrote nearly 300 names, spent 3 weeks reading again and again all my notes and summaries about naming and branding, I couldn't get out of the mud, at one point every name seemed good and banal at the same time...I decided to vote them using a list of ten parameters (Sound, Spelling difficulty, is it Guitaristic, is it Archetipal, is it Inspiring, would I wear it, Identification, personal Preference) then I made a weighted average of the rating, picked the first 15 and made a complete artwork for each of them to give them more context. I picked the best 6, but i couldn't narrow further and choose the best one.

    Then I read unscripted and the chapter about testing is like a hands-on, down-to-heart, version of "lean-startup", and it struck me the obvious: let's test the freaking names too.

    So what I'm doing right now is creating 6 different landing pages of the product with the 6 different branding options, I will advertise with a split-test all of them on facebook as a kickstarter "pre-launch", people will be able to opt-in a mailing list and they will be notified when the kickstarter will be launched, so they can grab the "early bird" price. The name with the most subscriptions will be the final name on the kickstarter campaign.

    That's it until now! There are so many things still to do, for example I have no idea about how to start a company in italy, but i will figure out things when I face them! Sorry if I made writing mistakes, I'm not native speaker, but anyway I'm sure this post will help me not to temporise now that I am "publicly committed"!

    If you really read it until here thanks for your time, I'll keep the thread up to date with the future events!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2018
  2. SevenJay
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    SevenJay Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I'm alive and well, obviously everything takes 10X the time planned.
    But eventually the kickstarter will start somewhere in the next 30 days, and hopefully validate this idea and the business around it.
     
  3. Tri Pham
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    Tri Pham Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    As a fellow guitarist and Fastlaner, I hope you succeed in marketing your product. I'm excited to see the demonstration of the product!
     
  4. Thoelt53
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    Thoelt53 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    My father plays guitar and his back is always screwed up for a couple days after jamming for a few hours. This is definitely a very real pain point. Nothing sucks more than not being able to do what you love because it causes you discomfort.

    Do you plan on building these yourself initially?
     
  5. GPM
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    GPM Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    As a guitar player myself, I will be keeping an eye on this thread!
     
  6. SevenJay
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    SevenJay Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Everything is ready, except for one thing: I'm losing my mind to understand how to export to US!
    I'll launch soon and keep you guys updated with more frequence and details once the thing is public
     
  7. SevenJay
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    SevenJay Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Well I just sent 2234 emails to the waiting list telling them that I'm launching the campaign on Monday. Wish me luck!
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
  8. sparechange
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    sparechange Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    million dollar idea, awesome
     
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  9. sparechange
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    sparechange Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    just one thing, whats the padding like on the bottom?

    after hours of playing guitar could it potentially be painful for your leg? or does it have something to prevent that?
     
  10. SevenJay
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    SevenJay Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I really hope so! MJ deserves all the credit for me taking action on this device, in fact I actually invented it many many years ago and built one just for myself but after reading things like "solve a need in a field you know well", this idea was the perfect candidate
     
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  11. SevenJay
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    SevenJay Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Guitars are made in hard wood and nobody ever complains!
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
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  12. ShellShock
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    ShellShock Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    This seems like a good idea with a lot of potential. Like and follow!
     
  13. Longinus
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    Longinus Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Ex-guitarist here, this is a great solution for a pain most guitarists suffer. Following, good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
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