Take me to Stanford!

To those of you who are rolling your eyes now knowing that this post is long overdue, please complete the whole nasty remark with hands on your shoulders. I wanted to post this up immediately after the program but (usual excuse) got loads of work to do. Hehehe.
Anyway, it was so good to be going back to class after sooooooo long! I had a week long of a back-to-school kind of experience with the Stanford Go2Market program hosted by the Malaysian Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC). I learnt so much by the end of it I feel like packing my bags and head to Standford University to study. It was such an eye-opening experience and when you’re done reading this post you’ll all want to head to Standford with me. 
The structure of this program encouraged us to think about the business model as a whole and rethink if there are other avenues in which the business can work. Working with Fintech, the room to navigate is relatively small with regulations constraint and all but after day 1, I was flooded with ideas on ways to make Save4Dream to work. 
The opening case study was to create customer segment in which a business function can be delegated to. For instance, if you are creating curated travel aggregator site, you can classify your customers into 2 main groups: One who absolutely enjoy planning for travel and one who absolutely hate it (this group is where I belong). So, instead of creating a platform to curate for both, you create a platform that facilitates the interaction between the two groups. So, the travel plan can be created by the group that absolutely love to plan for travel (and incentivise them to do so) and the people who can’t stand planning can just choose the package created. Done! 
I think that’s a brilliant way to allocate resources and focus. Especially for startups, we don’t have the luxury of time and money (especially) to create solutions for everyone at once. The highlight from this case study is, to ask yourself the following questions:
  • Who is this problem that your business addresses causing the most pain to and try to find ways to tackle them first
  • How are people solving this currently or before the use of technology? – I think the problem with tech startups is we think technology by default and lose sight of making it work using simple ways
  • Demographics are the usual way most businesses segment the market in which will not be that effective 
And that was only the tip of the iceberg to the learnings from this program. Heck, it was just the air that floats on the tip of the iceberg! I am amazed at the methods used by the program to approach problems and mistakes. We always talked about seeing problems as opportunities and mistakes as a great way to celebrate progress and learning during the program. It was unorthodox compated to how problems and mistakes have been perceived in the world today.  
The main highlight for me would be the people I met during the program. The other participants were so amazing and I think the program committee did well overall including the selection of the participants. I’ve met so many people from different stages of business and industries. Gained so many useful insights and inspirations from one another as much as the professors they brought in for the program. 
The pitching session in the end. So nervewrecking! Glad it went well.
Will I want to go again, ABSOLUTELY! But will I be considered again? I’m not sure, I’m writing a letter to Magic right now. Hahahha!
Seriously, if any of you are working on startups right now, do apply for the next cohort of the Go2Market program. It is worth all the effort and the time spent on the application. Best of luck!
Nadia Ismadi

3 thoughts on “Take me to Stanford!

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