"The key to success is learning faster than your competitors. That’s why startups are able to out innovate the big guys: they can learn and iterate faster..."
I love the notion that faster learning (and iteration, because any learning needs to be put into practice) is (or can become) a competitive advantage within a startup. It's this speed of learning and a mindset of we never know everything (that's why we do->measure->learn all the time) that ultimately allows startups to disrupt the status quo.
So in the spirit of accelerating the learning within your startup, I absolutely love how iDoneThis chose to request credit card details up-front for their 30-day trial. This is how they describe the rationale behind this decision:
"We also decided to take peoples’ credit card up front. The idea was to test the question of whether people were willing to pay in the harshest way. We felt like people must really want the product if they were willing to put their credit cards down for a free 30-day trial period. And we’d know within the first month whether people were willing to pay instead of having to wait the 30-day conversion period."
Doing that has saved them 30 days of waiting, making assumptions and doing other things that are not needed or might be a waste of time (once they have the learning). iDoneThis managed to accelerate their learning by 30 days simply by requiring credit card details form signing up.
The old cliche time is money rings true here and in Startupworld that's even more accurate. Regardless of whether you are bootstrapped or have a nice, comfortable war chest from fundraising, every day that you have unvalidated assumptions and you're not learning, is a day that costs you money. That expense ultimately shortens your runway and theoretically reduces your odds of success.
What can you do today to validate an assumption or accelerate your learning?