Long road to final dectination

9. Why you need to validate ideas with SWOT?

In today’s article we will talk more about experience, because as we all know:

The only source of knowledge is experience.

The experience, which we would like to share with you, refers to our road to start CayenneApps. That road - to be honest - was quite long and had couple of unexpected turns and pit stops, but at the end we think it was required journey to find the right track.

Some time ago we felt a special urgency to start something new on our own, what would give us excitement, motivation and possibility of making decisions. This urgency has showed up during our work for different companies, where we have discovered  small influence on the final result and long time needed to come up with a solution.

So as we discovered our need,  we started to look for something that would use our skills in the field of software development, user experience and knowledge of different areas of business. Finally, we came up with first idea: Club.me.


The idea of club.me was pretty simple as we thought at the beginning.

At that moment, we suffered from lack of service that would offer suggestion in which club in our city, we might find party which best fits our music taste. We thought that we would definitely use portal, that would take our playlist from last.fm website, compare it with available clubs and suggest the best place to go. We swung into action, even though we did not have any plan. But of course he had a lot of ideas how our service should look like.

After couple of weeks of brainstorming meetings, prototyping and even developing, the timid questions started to come to us: how are we going to convince clubs to be our users? Actually we still do not have an idea how to do it.

As a proof of our long engagement to the idea of club.me please look at the screenshots below. These were two different clickable versions of interfaces (yes, we even had time to prepare two versions).

Club.me - version first

First version of Club.Me

Club.me version first

Next Version of Club.Me

Beside working on our new “excellent product” we begun to look for ways to validate if our idea is not a bit overwhelming for us?

From this perspectiveowl we might ask: really, only a bit overwhelming?!  At that time, we had a little experience in making this kind of websites and a lot of faith and passion to go further towards dreamed service.

We felt that something is wrong, so we wisely looked for help in literature. We started to read books, which gave us a good deal to think about, inspired us and we are still challenged by them. The books, which we have read include:

  •  “Lean startup” by Eric Ries (we are continuously infected by the never-ending anxiety of hovering between ‘persevere’ and ‘pivot’),
  • “Running Lean” by Ash Maurya (changed absolutely our thinking about interactions with users and validated learning),
  • …and a bit later “Rework” by Jason Fried (convinced us that working and creating your own company at the same time is possible and this company does not have to be as large as Facebook to be successful)

So after reading “Lean startup”  we decided to do small pivot - “structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth”. 

At that time, we do not have an idea of: how to convince clubs to join website which do not have users and how to convince users to join website which do not have clubs. All we had to do was eliminating this necessity and then problem would be solved. Again: entrepreneur best friend  - wishful thinking. That is how the brand new idea, codenamed Placeherd appeared to us.

Placeherd.com - The herd of places

People should learn from their mistakes. Apparently: from at least two mistakes, because with Placeherd we have made the same errors, which built foundation to our first failure with Club.Me. I guess reading books once did not bring so huge change in our behaviours and for sure did not benefit in deep understanding of the idea behind Lean.

With Placeherd we assumed, that to feed website with content we should expand. Do not limit available places to clubs, but add other kinds: parks, statues, restaurants and so on… Here you can see of course clickable improved version of Placeherd, place where the content magically appears.

Placeherd - our second startup idea

Placeherd. Our second startup idea.

Meanwhile, one of our team members participated in time management training, where she learned that SWOT analysis can be used differently. We were profoundly inspired by the idea of conducting SWOT and evaluating relations between features. We could finally deliberate and validate our idea. First of analyses we have done were in Excel spreadsheet (we wanted to use some kind of tool but we could not find any that would support this method). The results for our beloved service were rather rough. Scale of the project, list of potential competitors (hello, have you heard about this small website called TripAdvisor?), lack of funds showed us that we were not prepared and we will not be second David who will defeat Goliath. We were confused and demotivated.

A road to CayenneApps

We firmly believed that the time has come to learn a lesson from past events. We started to validate every next idea with newly learned SWOT analysis (unfortunately Excel was not so helpful). Finally we stopped to waste our time on doing something that cannot be launched and verified in finite amount of time.

After spending some time on validating ideas with SWOT, we came up with an alternative thought. Why not create product based on SWOT itself and make the process easier for others. Let’s create an application which would help us and other entrepreneurs to save their time. 

Feedback we have gathered was pretty cool. People were actually eager to use this kind of tool. Moreover we realized, that the possibilities of our tool reach beyond ideas validation. SWOT can be used to personal development, marketing or SEO strategy defining, seeking for a job, looking for a flat, analysing new business opportunities in existing companies, or even building strategy for final World Cup teams… 

This is how our journey began! What about yours?

If you would like to try, how SWOT analysis would change your road, you can take this opportunity here: CayenneApps. Feel free to share with us your thoughts.

World Cup Final - Germany

8. Day after World Cup Final. SWOT beyond business.

What a game!

It was historical 113th minute, Mario Goetze scored and Germany won their fourth Cup in history.

For Argentina it was a disappointment, also because it was their best game in Brazilian finals. But it was not enough for Germany, which - to be honest - did not have another “wow” match, similar to ones with Portugal or Brazil.

It was also a interesting game for us at CayenneApps. We were wondering, whether the assumptions we made when we did our World Cup Final SWOT were correct or not. Interestingly we were not so far from truth :)

Here you can find more detailed description of conducting SWOT for World Cup: Germany vs Argentina - SWOT analysis.

Story of Argentina

Why Argentina lost - was it tactics or just lack of luck? Let’s take a look at SWOT. We suggested that Argentina should take aggressive strategy meaning:

Use your internal strengths to gain an advantage.

And for Argentina their biggest asset, identified on analysis were attacking abilities. Features which included Messi and other attackers involved over 50% percent of all points calculated for aggressive strategy. Yet they did not managed to overcome Germans.

What is important, they have their chances: Higuain had one after getting gift from Kroos in a first half and Palacio had his chance in second half. Argentina actually played more offensively than in other games and when they did Germans seem somehow lost.

But why this attacking power did not have impact on overall score? Let’s take another look at our analysis and check out impact statistic.

Impact shows which features have biggest impact on all strategies, not only the one with the biggest overall score. There we can see that their weakness:

Efficiency. Argentina scores little and when Messi is not scoring, they score even less. With Germany they can have only few situation to score the goals and they must make use of them.”

has impact equal to almost 40% which is actually more than impact assigned to their biggest asset Messi (which is 24%).

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 08.27.50

When we compare it to the situations they had it occurs that the insights included in SWOT were quite right: their biggest weakness was their lack of efficacy.

They had two or more opportunities but did not manage to use them. When we look close enough we can that the impact of weaknesses on opportunities (limiting) or threats (intensifying) was also significant - that is great example of showing that when analysing it good to overview all features we have, not only the ones connected to recommended strategy.

Story of Germany

Now let’s take a look at the strategy of winning team. We suggested defensive strategy, which means:

 avoid threats and try to eliminate weaknesses which has biggest impact.

 The biggest weakness we identified was their counter-attack vulnerability. Matches with Ghana and Algeria showed that this kind of assumption has solid grounds, but in final Germany did not put much more effort on defense, than in other games and yet they won. But this does not necessarily mean that defensive strategy was not good fit. Actually game ended after 120 minutes, with rather modest score 1:0.

Germany did not dominate Argentina, they did not flood their goal with thousands of shots. From this perspective their strategy was rather inefficient. For Argentina it was only 7 more minutes to penalties and what could have happen in such a lottery is different story.

Let’ take a look at the at the situation Palacio had in the second half. Long pass flies over Hummels and Argentine attacker has his one-on-one with Neuer, he misses but the opportunity was excellent. Now take a look at SWOT again: second biggest influence on defensive strategy for Germany is…

Long passes. Germany vs Algeria showed that German defense is quite fragile when the ball flies behind their backs. Nice!

When we analyze other recommended strategies we see that second biggest score (not so far from the winner) has Diversification strategy which mean that: strengths overcome threats.

The biggest strengths of Germany team were: midfielders and coach. Khedira did not play, but Schweinsteiger  and surprisingly Oezil had really good game. As for the coach: is there a better decision to put guy on the field, who scores 20 minutes later deciding goal?


Some of our team support Germany, some Argentina, so there are no winners here. The best thing that happened is that we showed that SWOT is not only limited to marketing, sales or business tasks.

It can be also applied to sports, politics or personal decision. It can be also really convenient and fun way to support decision making. One of my friends told me yesterday, that he is doing SWOT for buying new car - great stuff!

We encourage you to do the same. Take a look at: CayenneApps SWOT and try creating your own SWOT. If you think that you made something fun and interesting, please share it with us. We can take your work and allow you to share with everyone, just like we did it with World Cup Final. Where do you think SWOT may be applied - if you have some interesting applications, please leave a comment!

To learn more about SWOT and strategies, stay tuned. It will be the topic of our next posts.


7. Who will win the World Cup? Germany and Argentina examined on SWOT.

Only two more days left to the Big Game. On Sunday, Germany will stand against Argentina in the World Cup 2014 Final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

  • Whether German midfielders will overcome great Argentine attackers?
  • Will Leo Messi finally score another goal?
  • Which tactics is better for Germany: to attack or to defend themselves?
  • Does Mascherano really make the difference?

To answer these questions we have created two special World Cup SWOTs: one for Germany and one for Argentina. We identified features of each team, based on materials found in newspapers or websites, conversations with our friends and our knowledge about the sport we all love. Then we run whole analysis and created insights about each team. It was real fun!

Germany should use defence strategy and the best strategy for Argentine is aggressive strategy with open atack!

Now, we would like to share it with the world.

Here is the special link: World Cup 2014 SWOTs with our SWOT analysis for both teams.

Everyone who clicks the link gets his own copy of analysis, so each and every person is allow to play with those analysis without any limits. Change the features which are important, add new ones, change rankings or relations and share the result with us! Maybe we missed something and the strategies should be totally different. Let us know and put your comments below this post. We have only two days left, this Sunday we will verify who was right!

Here you can find more detailed description of conducting SWOT for World Cup: Germany vs Argentina - SWOT analysis

If you find out any other feature, that is important please, comment this here, we might add it to shared to everyone SWOT :)