There are several guidelines in the magic world. Even though those are for magicians to behave themselves, they can also be applied to entrepreneurs when they are building their products in startups.
As a self-taught magician, I came across this great short piece of article by Joe Hadsall at Ellusionist. (http://blog.ellusionist.com/four-points-important-magic-lessons-learned-in-army-of-52/)
It is inspiring for magicians a lot. But it is also educational for startup community if it is “properly translated”.
For magic, not everything has to be impromptu, and there’s power in preparation. SPECTATORS DON’T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. All they see is the magic you want them to see. When combined with good sleight of hand, a gaff card introduces a new realm of impossibility. That’s worth figuring out how to get out of a dirty situation, or packing a few extras on you.
It is the same for startups. Building a MVP aligns with this concept. As long as the product is viable, it should be as dirty as it can be in order for us to quickly deploy. Your backend code might be all over the place, your database might be a complete mess, but as long as people can use it, it’s good.
You can hack all the stuff together, as long as it rolls. Use quick hacks or quick tools to build your prototype quickly. Landing pages with signups, the concept of alpha and beta, the invited only or close private testing, are all just ways for people to validate their ideas.
Even though the sleights were taught within the context of using them, the uses of each one with a normal deck of cards popped in our heads instantly.
Sleights are meant to be versatile. But how?
Pratice. Pratice. Pratice.
You talking ’bout practice?
Yes. It is funny when people sometime look down upon magicians with gaff, as they say to themselves “It’s just expensive gadgets, nothing impressive.”
They are wrong.
I can send these people a package of Invisible by Damien Savina and see how they struggle using it without a crazy amount of practice.
It’s similar for startups. The logic and thoughts behind your MVP is important. But when you are sure you have a product-market fit, you need to polish your product crazily. It’s like practice, but with an actual product.
Watching JM perform is a treat, and the reactions he got while filming A52 rank among our favorite (especially the dude with the afro reacting to Doug Conn’s pip matrix). Watching his video is a master class.
A good routine is good. A good routine with a good presentation is great. Good magician always put deep thoughts into his/her presentation. When should I talk, what should I say, where should I point at, and why should I do these things.
If the skill decides the lower limit(aka the floor) of this magic, then the presentation decides its upper limit(aka the ceiling).
Same applies to the product. The product itself can be exceptionally useful or awesome, but it won’t attract users if it is presented poorly.
If the idea of product itself decides the floor of this product, then the presentation decides its upper limit(aka the ceiling).
That’s why we want to work on our pitch, work on our presentation, whether we are facing our users, investors or journalists.
Gaff cards are tools. We’ve written about how the use of gaff cards is a sign of either sloth or skill, and we know a lot our customers lean heavily on their skill, and are unafraid of ending dirty. But in watching Justin perform, you quickly realize that these strange things are happening for reasons, even if those reasons aren’t always known. In other words, there is a lot of thought as to how the revealed gaff cards are revealed, in order to get the most magical impact.
During a magic routine, it is important for things or moves to happen for a reason. There might be bizarre outcome happened during a magic routine, but these strange things are happening for reasons, even if those reasons aren’t always known. In other words, there is a lot of thought as to how the revealed gaff cards are revealed, in order to get the most magical impact.
For startups, the product must be built to solve a question. You don’t build a product simply because you want to, but also because you need to. If you have a pain or a problem that needs to solve, while no other method seems to work, you apparently need to build it. That’s the creativity and beauty, otherwise there won’t be any value added to the world if people simply copy from one and other.