The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

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What Is 'Prototype'?

A Prototype is an early representation of what your offer will look like.

For best results, create your prototype as similar as possible to the finished model. The more realistic your prototype is, the easier it'll be for people to understand it and give you valuable feedback.

The purpose is not to make it perfect. It's to quickly create something that you and others can see, evaluate and improve.

Josh Kaufman Explains 'Prototyping'

The classic MBA product development model is shrouded in secrecy and mystique: develop the offering in private, make everyone involved sign non-disclosure agreements , raise millions of dollars in venture capital, spend years making it perfect, then unveil your creation to the astonishment of the world and the thunderous sound of ringing cash registers. It has all the appeal of a secret agent movie, with the added benefits of a big paycheck and a stylish office while you craft your plans for world domination.

Unfortunately, this mentality ruins careers and empties bank accounts. On their own, ideas are largely worthless-discovering whether or not you can actually make them work in reality is the most important job of any entrepreneur.

Don't be shy about showing potential customers your work-in-progress. Unless you work in an industry with unusually aggressive, competent, and well-funded competitors, you really don't have to worry about other people "stealing" your idea. Ideas are cheap-what counts is the ability to translate an idea into reality, which is much more difficult than recognizing a good idea.

"Stealth mode" diminishes your early learning opportunities, putting you at a huge early disadvantage. It's almost always better to focus on getting feedback from real customers as quickly as you possibly can.

A Prototype is an early representation of what your offering will look like. It may be a physical model, a computer rendering, a diagram, a flowchart, or a one-page paper that describes the major benefits and features. It doesn't have to be fancy: all your prototype has to do is represent what you're offering in a tangible way, so that your potential customers can understand what you're doing well enough to give you good feedback.

For best results, create your prototype in the same form as the finished product. If you're creating a physical product, make a tangible model. If you're making a Web site, create a working Web page with the basic components. If you're creating a service, create a diagram or flowchart of everything that happens in the process, then act it out. The more realistic your prototype is, the easier it'll be for people to understand what you're trying to do.

The prototype is your first attempt at creating something useful, but it won't be your last. Your first will be embarrassingly poor and incomplete, and that's okay. Prototypes are valuable because they allow you to get good feedback from real people before you invest a huge amount of time, money, and effort into the project. The purpose of a prototype is not to make it perfect: it's to quickly create a tangible focus for your efforts-something you and other people can see, evaluate, and improve.

As you show your prototype to potential customers, you'll get a steady stream of ideas and Feedback about how to make it better.

Questions About 'Prototyping'


"It's this simple: if I never try anything, I never learn anything."

Hugh Prather, author of Notes to Myself


From Chapter 1:

Value Creation


https://personalmba.com/prototype/



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The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

More about Josh Kaufman →