Braintrust

Braintrust

Peer-to-peer strategic review to help us move faster

A startup is a temporary organisation designed to search for a repeatable business model. Therefore, our job as a founder is to search. And since good ideas initially look like bad ones, opinions about our idea aren't terribly useful. Similarly, pitching to impress our peers isn't helpful either.

Real customer knowledge doesn’t live in a spreadsheet or around a boardroom table, so we must navigate using data from the only place that matters: the market. This is a peer-to-peer sanity check, to give and receive help on how we're choosing to navigate through uncertainty. Or in other words, startup strategy.

Groups

Split your team in half. Each half joins up with 2 other pairs from other teams, giving you a group of 6-8 people representing 3 businesses. Each business has 10 minutes to give an update and gather feedback, after which you'll return to your original team to share any learnings and plan next steps.

The update (4 minutes)

  1. What you're building and how far along you are (a description, not a pitch)

  2. What you did and learned since last session

  3. The next big question about your business you want to find an answer to

  4. What you're going to do to get that answer

Feedback (6 minutes)

  1. Have they chosen the right learning goal or are they overlooking a big, critical risk?

  2. Is there an easier or cheaper way of learning it?

  3. Do you know any good resources (books, blogs, case studies, tools, competitors, etc) that they should check out?

  4. Can you make introductions that would help with their learning goal?

Pitching & judging

It's easy to slip into old habits. If someone from your group starts pitching or judging, just say so and get back on track. The goal isn't to evaluate each other's ideas; it's to help each other move faster.

Outputs

What is your current learning goal? What’s the fastest and cheapest way to do it? This is your strategic heartbeat. Remember that a startup is, by definition, a learning organisation. Write down your learning goals and hold yourself accountable. It’s how you prove to yourself (and your investors and your team) that you’re making progress.