top of page

From pivot to product in 3 months; how we built a modern app for women's sports (part 2 of 3)

Principles and lessons learned while building a product addressing one of the largest untapped growth markets still left in sports, and how we got to beta in under 3 months.


Read part 1 of 2 first.

This is the story of how we went from product to pivot in three months, the principles that guided us and lessons learned along the way.


Begin with purpose

Simon Sinek wrote in his book to, "start with why." That is, zero in on the purpose behind what you want to do first. Your why will inform the how and the what.

Lean Enterprise principle #1 is similar but stated as, "define value" and by that they mean customer value. What matters about your idea to people who would eventually pay for it?

It doesn't seem like 🚀 science that it's best before building something, to know why you want to build it. And beyond why-- for who? Why now? Why is nobody else doing it, or why will you do it better? Or, it may be a great idea, but is it a viable business?

So, some of the first activities we did as a team were strategic workshops where we

debated our hypotheses, gathered information about the market, the unmet consumer needs, sizing, competition, industry trends, etc.; all to get to our why.

We used lean startup methods and frameworks like the lean canvas to make sure these exercises were fast and effective, so we could get to the work of testing our hypothesis, building our MVP, onboarding partners and generally getting the business operating.

Out of our workshops, we crystallized our purpose into our vision statement:

Vision: Give a voice to all women in sport.

We also dove into the how and what and those became our mission:

Mission: Create the world's first sports centralized platform that empowers women in sport around the globe.

Defining a purpose grounds and aligns an organization. It makes it so when inevitable pivots come up, the organization can lean on the why and determine a new how, if necessary. That's what the strategy work did for us, and more-- it continually guides us when we need to prioritize, regroup, rethink and redeploy.


Drive fast toward your MVP

What if your hypothesis is wrong? What if you've done market research, but what consumers would ❤️ is something nobody has done yet? What if the way you've envisioned your product is too complicated?

Lean startup principles touts the value of minimum viable products (MVPs) effectively, so I won't say a lot here, except that they're right. Show people, lots of people, and most importantly, be open to feedback.

One comment on speed. We pushed hard to MVP, but couldn't do it as fast as we wanted until we pivoted (see below). One lesson learned here is if your how isn't right, it may take additional resources to unlock alternatives, which was true in our case (and made possible thanks to one of our amazing advisors). 🏆


Low or no code your ideas for speed and collaboration

Building an unproven product from scratch before people validate it is working harder, not smarter. Low code is having a moment in digital-- there has never been an easier time to build, validate and improve software. If you make the right low-code choices, you can break free of the tool and still use the codebase and innovate on top of it with little refactoring.

Some of our platform is custom built using node.js and running in the cloud, but for speed, we also used Make, ProductHunt's no-code 2022 Golden Kitty Award winner. Some of these functions make sense to custom build in the future, but using Make at this early stage got many automations up and running very quickly, which is what you want for your MVP.

We also found useful low code products to use for team collaboration and operations. makes Google Firebase look like a spreadsheet, which made it possible to enlist non-technical talent to contribute to building product data, without having to know command line tools, understand JSON or use GCP directly.

Check out ProductHunt's best of no-code tools for 2023 and see what some users are recommending in low-code as well. You may outgrow them, but speed at the start is what you want and tools like these can help.


Pivot, if you should

An outcome of our strategic work was that the team decided on starting with a mobile app for Android and iOS devices, meeting fluid fans where they are, with plans to expand to more platforms as we grew.

To do this, plan A was to adopt a mobile sports platform already in market. We considered multiple options. Some were out of financial reach for our bootstrapped startup, and others had use-cases that weren't closely enough aligned with ours.

So, like other startups, we pivoted in our approach, and having strategic alignment early on made a decision like this possible.


Tune-in to read part 3 of 3 next week, March 3rd, to see what we did.


By Guinevere Orvis, February 24, 2023


bottom of page