Here’s the email explaining the brief for WAW12, Mint’s annual product development retreat:
Hear all ye Ladies and Gentlemen of Mint,
After much nefarious speculation and loose-tongued gossip, finally it is the time to reveal the brief for WAW12.
But first, some history.
Last year Cameron announced the brief for WAW11 by saying:
In the past the brief has been very focused on production. We’d conceive of an app, design it, build it, and allow it to be judged. This was fun, but we left out a key piece of the puzzle, which meant that no WAW app ever had much of a life after the weekender ended. This was a bit of a shame.
There are four parts to our business:
1) Concept development
2) Design (interaction and visual)
4) Marketing to consumers
In the history of Mint, we have been primarily focussed on the first three parts. We’ve either ignored part four altogether, or we left it to our clients.
It is striking that since then we’ve made huge strides in marketing to customers. The learnings from WAW11 made launching Stickygram easier. Since then Olly and Bacon and NYR have all benefitted from those skills. Now that we’ve filled that gap, we can attempt a yet more ambitious challenge.
You have 4 days to launch a business.
(Keen historians of the WAW will remember this was the brief in 2008, the year that SuperGuessGuess trounced Snppr and Oh!Creative. That year, despite great projects, we didn’t manage to create something that could live on, mainly because we lacked those marketing skills.)
But - what sort of business?
You have to create a business that scratches a person’s creative itch in a low cost way and touches the physical world.*
How will the judging work?
This year, there won’t be a judging panel. The beauty of launching a business is that we don’t need judges. It’s up to the market to decide the winner. I find this exciting. Paul Graham notes a good new business is often surprising for the same reason that a scientific discovery is surprising. If it was expected, it would already have been discovered. WAW12 will be judged by the market, meaning there’s no chance that idiotic judges will fail to appreciate the brilliance of your idea. No one can bitch about the winner (including you, Cameron Price).
Launching a revenue generating business is 4 days a incredibly ambitious. To make it slightly more possible, each team will have one person for one sprint allocated immediately after WAW11. The aim is that the design and development should be done - this sprint should be predominantly about business and marketing and bringing your product to market.
People’s Choice Winner On the Friday night of WAW week, all the Mints will be asked to vote on the interim winner (you won’t be able to vote for your own team). This People’s Choice winner will get a token prize.
Grand Winner 6 weeks after WAW, the grand winner will be announced. This will be judged on revenue minus cost of goods sold. The winning team will get winners’ hats, a slap-up meal and, most importantly, bragging rights.
Budget As per last year, each team will have a budget of £1000, to be spent on raw material and promotion.
Good luck, my fellow free-market buccaneers,