Refresh Miami helps keeps ideas flowing during summer doldrums

Communities / Article

RefreshMiami meetup at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Miami. Photos by Carolina Wilson.

Summer may tempt even the most dedicated entrepreneurs to take a break, but Refresh Miami attempts to keep them engaged in building and improving their businesses through a “summer startup series” of educational events.

On Tuesday evening, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science hosted Refresh Miami’s “Bringing Your Ideas to Life” event, sponsored by Wyncode, a coding bootcamp.

Brian Breslin of Refresh Miami

Brian Breslin, RefreshMiami founder, introduces guests.

“Our purpose here at Refresh is to foster the growth of South Florida’s tech and entrepreneurial communities,” said Brian Breslin, founder of Refresh Miami, which Knight Foundation has funded as a means of supporting and growing the Miami entreprenurial and technology community. “Tonight’s going to be all about how to bring your idea to life.”

Two business leaders spoke about the importance of adequately developing a product and maintaining the flexibility to make changes if needed. Ellie Cachette, the vice president of product marketing at digital design and development agency Koombea, took the stage before Miami entrepreneur and recent blogger Carlos Taborda.

Ellie Cachette

Ellie Cachette, of Koombea spoke on the Lean Startup concept of a minimum viable product.

Cachette’s presentation stressed the importance of building a “minimal viable product” (MVP), “the minimal amount of features you need for [a product] to be alive.”

Do it early and do it well, she said.

“The better the MVP can be, the better technical talent you can get,” Cachette said. “When you’re going to investors, what you want to do is create an MVP that will inspire that person.”

But don’t rush.

Cachette said startups should dedicate four to eight weeks to developing their minimal viable products.

“To really validate a business idea, you need time,” Cachette said. “You need to be able to talk to people other than friends and family to validate your idea.”

Carlos Taborda

Miami entrepreneur Carlos Taborda 

Taborda titled his presentation “This Is Exactly How I Killed My Startup,” sharing the mistakes he made.

The first lesson? Don’t go into “stealth mode.” According to Taborda, that’s when you start working on your idea and don’t tell anyone.

“Those that believe in this stealth mode will tell you that people will steal your ideas,” Taborda said. “My answer to that is, if your idea is any good, somebody’s already working on it.”

Taborda says protecting your idea in this way does more harm than good. In fact, it prevents you from building “pre-launch buzz.”

“It limits your unsolicited feedback opportunities, which is really important when you’re building something,” he said.

Taborda referred to the second lesson as “burning pains.” He urged participants to base their idea in a problem that begs for a solution. If it doesn’t solve a major pain, don’t bother.

“It’s easy to solve a problem that nobody has,” Taborda said. “It’s really hard to find a problem that’s a burning problem.”

Finally, Taborda said that many entrepreneurs usually neglect the business component of a startup. “Business is equally important as technology,” he said.

Carolina Wilson is an editorial intern at Knight Foundation.