Winner's formula: RAT-directed marchitecture

SkadiRatDirectedMarchitectureIsWinnersChoice

They say that starting a growth business is scary because it involves high capital investment and high risk. No, it isn’t! Here’s how to make it fun, while living a normal life.

Validate business ideas with zero cost

Yes, starting a new growth business involves risk. Nobody guarantees you will make any money with your ideas. Starting a business involves an investment also, but that does not immediately have to involve capital, as in money. The investment can well be just some additional hours now and then, while being paid for a day job.

Most new businesses need not and should not be started as full-time ventures, where the founder(s) spend all their time in figuring out which business idea could fly. Often, it makes sense to validate new ideas on the side, while mainly being paid for something else. That may involve evening and weekend work, but not necessarily extra money.

Done this way, starting a new business is fun. The main risk is that time spent learning and formulating business ideas does not bring in money. In other words, the main risk in starting a growth business is that you don’t get paid for learning. Not a huge risk, as in the 21st century, those who don’t invest time in learning are not likely to be paid for long!

RAT-directed marchitecture in business development

At Skadi, we appreciate the concept of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). However, we love the concept of the Riskiest Assumption Test (RAT) and apply it to all new business opportunities. That way, we eliminate everything that is not absolutely required to find out if an idea provides a meaningful opportunity.

Skadi was originally founded to test a hypothesis regarding chatbots being able to increase retail and media, especially newspaper, revenue. We built a few chatbot prototypes for media, mobility, and entertainment, and quickly found out that the opportunity for chat bots in retail or media sales was not lucrative in the UK or in Finland. However, our biggest learning was the afterthought that we would have been able to learn the same lesson faster without building anything. Developing a chatbot framework took us time which we could have skipped if following the RAT guidance.

While moving out of chatbot business, Skadi quickly RAT-tested and dropped e.g. machine learning in image categorization. One of the ideas that survived the RAT was automating mortgage and other loan processing. Having learned from the unnecessary chatbot development, we validated the idea with slideware, which contained also technology details about the implementation of the solution. However, we did not build any of the solution before going to meet customers with a product description. Knowing that in finance, lead times may be long, we estimated that our marchitecture description of the solution was sufficient for iterating towards a feasible design.

Don’t build it before they buy it

The RAT-directed marchitecture approach proved valuable. We visited several finance and lender organizations with our story and slideware, improving the story and our customer understanding with each visit. After a few of the first meetings, it became obvious that we were on to something feasible. Even though the concept wasn’t fully shaped yet, we built a demo, which solicited further valuable feedback.

With the marchitecture and demo, we were able to create the concept for Skadi CreditWorthy, while mostly running on the financing we got for testing the opportunity of chatbots in retail and media. We built the solution when the concept was already rich and validated with prospects.

RAT-A-TAT-TAT – it’s fun!

We got traction with CreditWorthy within a short period of time, and developed related leads in e.g. car finance, collateral processing, and automated handling of several types of documents. Most of the business ideas beyond loan automation came from the prospects that we approached with our RAT-based marchitecture for loan automation. Thus, the ecological validity was high, and we successfully RAT-tested many of them.

Using the RAT-directed marchitecture approach, business opportunities can be validated without dropping your current job or assignment before you know it is worth it. Funding, or the courage to spend more time on the ideas, is easier to find with validated opportunities. Risky? No! Fun? Yes!

"No business card? I have something better for you!"

Skadi's Aarne Ylä-Rotiala, Timo Koola and Mikko Nikkanen at the Future Digital Finance Forum in Helsinki in April 2018. Many visitors at Skadi's stand did not carry business cards.

Skadi's Aarne Ylä-Rotiala, Timo Koola and Mikko Nikkanen at the Future Digital Finance Forum in Helsinki in April 2018. Many visitors at Skadi's stand did not carry business cards.

Should you carry business cards to fairs and meetings? Will they just be thrown away on the same evening?

While business cards may be considered old-fashioned, they are still useful in exchanging contact information. However, many people do not carry them these days.

At fairs and events, if you are presenting at a stand, you want to make it easy for visitors that have interest in your products to leave their contact information. At Future Digital Finance Forum in April 2018, Skadi's team did the following to make it convenient for cardless visitors to leave their contact info:

  1. Allow visitors to type their e-mail address using a full keyboard (on the laptop that we used for presenting the CreditWorthy product).
  2. Send an immediate greeting on the spot.
  3. Include something useful in the e-mail message. (We sent the Skadi research report on mortgage markets in the EU).

This method brought us a higher amount of relevant contact details than business cards did, so it was a good complement in engaging people. See how the method works for yourself at https://mortgagewhitepaper.skadi.me/

How FinTechs will impact the mortgage landscape - read the Skadi white paper

Fintechs are bound to change the mortgage market to an instant, automated business.

Fintechs are bound to change the mortgage market to an instant, automated business.

The emergence of financial technology in Europe bears both opportunities and challenges for FinTechs. The new EU-level payment services regulation (PSD2) empowers third parties to offer solutions for financial processes that until now only banks were entitled to. FinTechs are already peaking beyond borders and endeavors a fast market entry in multiple European countries.

Skadi's white paper sets the way for how innovative FinTechs can reshape the mortgage market. Germany, Denmark and the UK are covered as case examples.

Download the Skadi white paper at https://mortgagewhitepaper.skadi.me/

Skadi CreditWorthy as a case for Aalto University School of Business students

Skadi's Mikko Nikkanen pitches the CreditWorthy assignment to Aalto business students.

Skadi's Mikko Nikkanen pitches the CreditWorthy assignment to Aalto business students.

Creating a go to market plan for Skadi CreditWorthy is a case study for Aalto University School of Business students in spring 2018. In Aalto's master's level Capstone business development course, students solve real life business problems.

In Skadi's case assignment, students learn about a new business area in automating loan processing and loan decisions, as well as about related EU regulation, which becomes effective during the assignment.

Skadi opened a fidget spinner shop in Telegram - delivers to Finland

Fidget spinners in four colours in Skadi's Telegram-based shop.

Fidget spinners in four colours in Skadi's Telegram-based shop.

Skadi, the forerunner in e-commerce chatbots, conversational robots, has opened a fidget spinner shop in the Telegram messaging service. Spinners in four colours are sent to the customer’s home in Finland, when purchased in the shop, and the payment is handled through a credit card directly inside Telegram. Thus, Skadi is arguably the first in Finland to utilize the commerce function that was recently enabled by Telegram.

In addition to ecommerce, Skadi has implemented chatbots focused also on e.g. events and news.

You can try Skadi’s Spinnerkauppabot shop, in Finnish, in Telegram using this link: http://telegram.me/spinnerkauppabot

Find things to do and places to go with Kontula Bot

Kontula Bot finds activities and events for you.

Kontula Bot finds activities and events for you.

Skadi has developed an enjoyable conversational chatbot for finding things to do. Kontula Bot is best suited for active city dwellers, but includes attracting activities for all age groups and lifestyles.

As the summer holidays are ending and back-to-whatever parties are booming, Kontula Bot proposes especially evening program. But don’t let the surface fool you – the bot knows also news, restaurants, movies and some surprise activities.

Try out what Kontula Bot can do at https://m.me/kontulabot
 

Konala Bot user experience fine-tuned with students

Skadi's Mikko Nikkanen talking about startups and running a group usability test at  Helsingin Uusi Yhteiskoulu . See the original tweet in  T  witter .

Skadi's Mikko Nikkanen talking about startups and running a group usability test at Helsingin Uusi Yhteiskoulu. See the original tweet in Twitter.

Skadi develops its solution in iterations, and each iteration is validated with user feedback. In early May, Skadi visited local Helsinki schools to find out how Konala Bot is perceived by teenagers. In return, the students learned about entrepreneurship and software development.

Findings: Konala Bot is straightforward to use, and movies and events are a hit.

Wishlist: add restaurants and improve the bot's conversation skills.

Feedback noted - the Skadi team is working on it!

Skadi's Konala Bot is a useful and fun conversational chat bot. You can try it out at https://m.me/konalabot.

Skadi and Eximap to take Smart Traffic to chat

Skadi and Eximap have agreed to jointly develop chat based mechanisms for Smart Traffic solutions.

The AutoMopus(r) system is popular among Finnish car owners, and a useful channel for car related service providers to provide information, get feedback and increase their engagement and customer satisfaction among drivers and car owners.

The companies will develop and publish AutoMopus based information on Facebook messenger platform to make the valuable material easily available to the drivers. This will make Smart Traffic smarter and easier for the drivers to use and interact with.

For further information, please contact:
Eximap: Pasi Pohjala pasi.pohjala@eximap.com
Skadi: AarneYlä-Rotiala aarne@skadi.chat

 

Your 15 minutes of fame - every day, every hour

15 minutes of fame for you

It would be great to know where your consumers are and what they are doing, wouldn't it?
Offline you'll see them when they show up in your store, and with in-store tracking systems like https://www.walkbase.com/ you can form a pretty accurate picture of their movements.

Online you can follow general insight and data mining, especially for the consumers that visit your site. Predictive analytics and SEO help with that. All that is great to gain historical insight, but how does that help with your next offer, sale, transaction at the cash register?

People like to talk. We talk on the phone, we all over the place, and we listen to those we trust. We follow those who we trust, to the extent that if a trusted party recommends something, we are much more likely to believe it that.

Which brings us to the question - what are your customers about to do now, in the next 15 minutes? Where is your fifteen minutes of fame, right now? Do you know, or are you looking at the history just like a Nautilus? Those are fabulous animals, but their direction of travel is opposite to their eyes - just see http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/nautilus.html.
All Nautilus ever sees is the past - and that is just about the same as looking at visitor data on your site, social media behavior, search engine patterns from the past hour, day, week, month. You are looking at the rear view mirror only, and trying to find the right location.

Your consumers are on line, they are chatting, so the perfect way to find out and possibly influence them is to engage them and match the consumer intent right now, to give an offer when it matters, to make the most of the next 15 minutes.

This is possible with the help of Skadi bot system, whichprovides the tools to identify the next 15 minutes for your business. Skadi does that by letting chat bots know about the topics where you can help consumers so that your offerings can be brought up with people who are looking for it right now.
What would be a better opportunity to help your customer than the moment they are asking for your product or service?

CTO Koola interviewed for Lit Hub

Lit Hub wrote a nice article about publishing books, poetry etc on Twitter and they interviewed Skadi CTO Timo Koola for the article.

It is somewhat unexpected how a great work like Ulysses is read as tweets - but based on the number of followers of @Ulyssesreader or @finnegansreader, a bot is a great way to help people read through a book they are interested in.

The article is in LitHub . Timo Koola is not a bot (seriously, he is not) and you can reach him at timo@skadi.chat. If he sounds a little bit like Alexa, that is just you imagination:-)