Why the hell did I build a startup slot machine in Kansas City?




  1. It is fun. In our workshops and when I mentor I push people very hard not to just build something for the sake of building it. There is a reason I do more experiment-athons than hack-athons. However, if you are self aware and do not pour too many resources into a project (and don't delude yourself into a loophole of build first learn second) I think there can be tremendous value in building things for the sake of building things. 
  2. I do think it will be a good teaching tool. It will help first time entrepreneurs identify the "correct" relationships between customer/problem/solution and eventually with /value capture/luck/team/timing etc. 
  3. Might be a marketing tool for events and such. 
  4. The analog to gambling and startups is very real. Risk / Reward. Knowing when to hold em and when to fold em. When to double down at the right time, when to wait. For the LEAN practitioner and teacher in me, I like to think of #leanstartup as card counting vs regular blackjack, poker vs wheel of fortune, and with slot machine - think of how the odds change when you can set the reels one at a time, rather than rely on luck for them all to align at the same time (which is what many of us entrepreneurs tend to do sometimes)
  5. It was fun to watch the community get involved and sort of crowdsource the thing. Will post photos shortly of Bob helping Tim, then Jim helping both, then me trying to hack at it and when we ALL got stuck on it - opening it up to the greater community and even to the public on stackoverflow. 
  6. It is good to continue to see new languages, play with CSS, and write code - even if I will never be an expert coder. 
  7. It gives me an excuse to play with different analytics tools and see what kinds of experiments we can run. 
  8. It gives me an opportunity FUCK IT SHIP IT. I cant tell how many entrepreneurs I have pushed to ship something they think is ugly, or embarrassing to them. No matter how many times I tell them Reid Hoffman's quote, I know how uncomfortable it is for some people. THIS SITE IS UGLY right now - but that's not the point. Which plays in to my last point...
  9. HAVING A METRIC - it does not matter what the site looks like right now, it matters what I want people to do. I want people to PRESS PLAY 2x. The first time tells me they get it, the second time tells me it was interesting enough to do again. IF 20% of people click play 2X I will continue. IF NOT, I will make 2/3 iterations tops to get to that metric. If I am still not there I will probably move on from startup slots. 

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