Note: This is the start of a team-journal on how experimentQ gets built, the decisions we take, the ways we think about business and the tools we use to get from ideas to valuable products.
It's July 17th. The second iteration of experimentQ failed, yet another pivot is on the way. Why? Because the problem we try to solve (lack of documentation and validation for informal learning) is still out there, screaming into our faces impacting millions of lives, yet our execution suffers. But first, let me take you to the origins of experimentQ.
Generation 1: In the summer of 2015, while working on Qodemo, we registered experimentQ Foundation as a way for us to develop and release software into open source / non-commercial communities, mainly those working on DIY hardware projects within maker spaces. Qodemo was a Dutch software company backed by Rockstart and Doen Foundation and we were building a web collaboration platform for engineers. We attempted to build the GitHub for Hardware engineers, hence the plan was to release the main product as an open platform and charge for premium features.
At the same time, we traveled to dozens of maker spaces in Europe, USA, and China to document how hardware engineers work and to conduct customer interviews. We realized that there is way more activity and value in the learning/education process of making DIY engineering projects vs the final product itself. Qodemo ran out of money and was close to bankruptcy but we tried one last solution - a Horizon 2020 grant via our office in Romania.
Generation 2: Eventually, Qodemo went out of business and I moved to Paris for private reasons and joined a Master Program for Education Technology. The year was 2016 and I developed a serious crush on lifelong learning, mainly on ways to document and validate continuous learning experiences. Surprisingly, at the beginning of 2017, we got a positive answer for Horizon 2020's nearly 1M euro in funding. We tried to use experimentQ Foundation for it, sadly the legal conditions did not allow to change the receiving entity.
We ended up developing experimentQ from scratch, starting with a podcast about innovative learning communities from which we drew inspiration for a tech tool to track lifelong learning experiences. Despite a small momentum by the end of 2017 / beginning of 2018 and a financial support from CRI Paris to organize a podcast world tour, we failed to build a sustainable model.
Generation 3: Here we are today, launching the 3rd iteration of experimentQ, in Amsterdam. This time our objective is to make it sustainable from day 1, via consulting services. On one hand we build expertise in designing learning experiences by producing the experimentQ podcast and facilitating community engagement with free web resources and in-person learning circles, and on the other hand, we consult individuals and organizations in building world-class learning and development programs. First client project got signed in July.
We still have the technology platform on our horizon but that will be built quietly in the background, from our own savings. No VCs needed at this point.
Voila, the "/make journal" is our way of documenting the results of generation 3.
Got feedback? Please leave a comment below and #GOexperiment with your learning ;)