Hypothesis invalidated

Business risk and experiment I’ve been running (and repeating) a Lean Sprint designed to address a top-of-mind business ...

Business risk and experiment

I’ve been running (and repeating) a Lean Sprint designed to address a top-of-mind business risk, which I wrote as:

I don’t have the skills to work with development kits and create prototypes.

My experiment was to simply:

Get an example project working with <redacted> Development Kit.


I haven’t been able to do that, and it’s time I accept that I don’t think I can. I was reminded of Seth Godin’s book, The Dip, which is about knowing when to quit, so that you can move on and move forward. It’s time to move forward.

In a recent post, I wrote about a recollection and a realization that I had started down the path of getting this development kit to work because I was proving something to myself, but not the business.

The Saga

What drove it home for me was writing to an FAE and explaining the journey I’ve been on to get the kit working. Here’s what I wrote — I’ll avoid using company names out of professional courtesy.

Here are some notes of what I'm up to wrt [the Dev kit] — this has been going on for nearly 5 months now, which is bananas:

  • In December 2019 I started looking for development kits that I could use to test a product concept—a portable audio front-end device as a bluetooth accessory for hearing aids.

  • On January 20th, I purchased a [Dev Kit] from [Distributor] (the only U.S. distributor I found who had the [Dev Kit] in stock).

  • After I received the kit, I learned that I needed to register with [Dev Kit Company] in order to receive the software necessary to get the kit working. I worked with [Distributor] to reach someone in [Dev Kit Company], who connected me to [Sales Org], where I finally learned that I couldn't register as an individual — I needed to be operating under a legal entity, which I wasn't at the time.

  • On February 20, 2020, I officially registered Spark23 Corp. as a Delaware C Corp for my company, and I reached out to [Sales Org] and [Distributor] again to help me register with [Dev Kit Company].

  • A couple of weeks later, on March 6th, I was finally able to get access to [Dev Kit Site], where I could access the materials I needed.

  • Since then, I've struggled to navigate their chaotic website, their hit-and-miss documentation, and their buggy build scripts.

    • The 2020 software releases promise an easier build process, but the integrated build scripts included with all of the packages are for the 2019 releases, so I gave up on getting the latest 2020 to work.

    • The 2019 integrated build scripts are buggy and specific to a configuration that my dev kit doesn't support.

    • I was able to get further along in the manual instructions for the 2019 software release, but I finally hit a block in trying to build and compile the boot loader image. Once again, the build script failed to work as advertised, but this time I have not been able to figure out on my own why and how to fix it.

  • Being completely blocked, I started reaching out to [Dev Kit Company] for help, but I learned that I'm not able to create a support case because I don't have a "Customer Project" in my [Dev Kit Company] account. 

  • On May 20th, I created a general admin support case with [Dev Kit Company]—the only kind I could create—to ask for help getting a Customer Project created in my account so that I could submit a support case.

    • This general admin case number is [Case #].

    • After weeks of back-and-forth on this case, I still do not have a customer project created. Along the way:

      • I was told I need to contact my Business POC or TAM. 

      • I reached out to [Sales Org] again for help, and they have tried to reach out to [Dev Kit Company] several times.

      • I reached out to [Distributor], and they said they could not help me.

      • I was told to fill out the Sales contact form on [Dev Kit Company’s] website, and I have yet to hear from anyone.

And that brings us to this past week, when [Sales Org] introduced me to [FAE].

I'm happy to provide more information on any of the moments / steps I described above, and I'd greatly appreciate it if you could forward this along to folks inside of [Dev Kit Company] for some kind of escalation or clarity.

One thing that kinda sucks for me — I'm well past the point where I'm allowed to return the dev kit to [Distributor], and I'm clearly getting screwed by [Dev Kit Company]. If there was a way for me to get a refund (from [Dev Kit Company], as compensation for their BS), and find another option, I'd be open to that.

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