For this chapter, we spoke with Dan McLellan, founder and creator of the application TwoCents, a platform for sharing opinions that was acquired in 2014.
Gunner Technology: Dan, talk to us about your idea a little bit and why you reached out to Gunner Technology.
Dan McLellan: Well, ideas are easy, but execution is hard. Execution is actually really, really hard. And that’s why I reached out to you guys.
GT: And how was that initial process for you?
DM: Well, it was a lot different than what I’d done before. Usually, we would just dive in with no goals or ends in sight, just with a general idea of what needed to get built. The big difference working with Gunner Technology was the fact that so much up-front work went into the project. We must have had 200 or 300 of those user stories before you guys even started developing.
GT: Which isn’t even that many, believe it or not.
DM: And I was skeptical at first. I thought that was a bunch of mumbo jumbo and was gonna just be a big waste of time, but it turns out that made it so much easier to build out the project. We had a running list of what needed to get done and we could prioritize it however we needed to.
GT: And what about all of those initial questions? We really dug in with you and tried to get all of the nitty gritty details locked down.
DM: Yea, you’re not kidding. It felt like an inquisition!
GT: But like a good inquisition.
DM: Exactly, exactly. At the end of all those questions, it felt like not only did you guys understand my idea better, it felt like I understood the idea better myself. So it was an incredibly valuable phase of the process.
Every great achievement in human history began as an idea. From bottle rockets to rocket fuel, super glue to Super Nintendo, someone, somewhere, at some point said “wouldn’t it be cool if…”
And that’s what this book is about. If you have an awesome idea but don’t know what to do next, hopefully the advice contained in these pages can help.
Working for a tech company, we get approached all the time with ideas for new products or services. And we’re always all ears.
Step one, when talking with someone about their idea, is to get details about it. Whether it’s in a boardroom or a bar, we’re always curious to hear more about your idea. It’s always something that the person is passionate about, and if there’s one thing we appreciate, it’s passion for one’s ideas. So step one in the process is to simply get an idea of what the idea entails.
But once we have a sense of what the idea is all about, we want to dig in.
How will it work? Will it work differently for different kinds of users? What functionality will it have? (And what potential functionalities have you thought would be cool to add someday?)
There’s so much to discuss with any given idea that you can never get enough detail.
We’re also interested in what existing solutions are out there. That’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but it’s always tougher when someone is first to market (or when multiple companies are first, second, and third to market).
Of course, a lot of success comes down to luck and marketing, so we’re never going to turn down an idea just because a solution already exists. If you can do it better (or promote it better), there’s every possibility the idea will still succeed. MySpace was first to market, but how’re they doing now compared to Facebook?
Finally, we’re always interested to hear more about the business strategy.
How is the idea going to make money? What are the potential revenue streams? Have you thought about funding? How high is the upside? Have you thought about marketing at all?
Most of the applications we build turn into long-term partnerships, so the business side of things is incredibly important. Again, not a deal breaker, but we love to see some sort of business plan.
In the beginning stages it’s all about learning about the idea. We love hearing about what people come up with and we’re always eager to help ideas get implemented. We’ve built tons of successful relationships at Gunner Technology and we’re always on the lookout for the next great idea. And with the 30 days free that we offer, there’s really no risk in working with us to implement your big idea.