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Djibril September 22, 2015  by Vahid Dejwakh

Proof of Concept: The First Step All Startups Must Take
Finding and Distinguishing Your Usefulness in a Crowded Marketplace
Last updated April 5, 2019 at 8:24 AM.   [Comments]

I love bread, even though it doesn't love me back. If you make bread--especially a baguette--I will eat it, love you, and my stomach will hate me. If you make a gluten-free bread, however, I will eat it, love you, and not have to face a remonstrating stomach--so I will love you even more.

Anyone who has an idea for a startup is like someone who wants to become a baker. You gather some ingredients, get a recipe, buy some necessary tools, and perhaps even accumulate all the necessary skills.

But until (1) you actually make the bread and (2) someone else tastes the bread and likes it, you are still not a baker, but just another person who dreams of making bread. There's nothing wrong with that--but of course, you don't want to just dream, but to actually succeed.

Establishing proof of concept is transitioning from the idea stage to the initial baking stage: you are demonstrating you can bake tasty, crunchy, fragrant, sensational bread. This requires testing your recipe, your tools, and of course, your bread.

Thanktime currently is at the proof of concept stage. It began as just an idea: that we are capable of making life more enjoyable and meaningful for each other. Now, as a result of this site, Thanktime is a piece of bread everyone is welcome to try.

Some may rightfully say, "Yes, the bread tastes good, but I don't know how much I can pay you for it." To which I say, "I'm not thinking about that now, so don't worry about paying me. If enough of us love the bread, we will figure out how to keep making it.

I need you to first try it, then tell me you love it, and most importantly, tell your friends to come try it."

At this stage, I'm not trying to be a professional baker. I'm just trying out some recipes at home, and getting feedback from friends and strangers who stop by for some tasting. Potential revenue models exist--but I'm not there yet.

It took Djibril Bodian, pictured here, many years to become the baker he is today--and what a baker he is. In the most competitive environment for making baguettes, Paris, he won first place for the yearly award of making the best baguettes. He won this award not once, but twice: in 2010, and now in 2015. As a result, this Senegalese-born immigrant will get to make the baguettes for French President François Hollande, just like he did in 2010 for Nicolas Sarkozy.

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