Pretotyping Event Spring 2017

20|30 announces the world’s first online pretotyping competition! First prize is $5,000 - get your team together! This document will give you the background, details, and rules for entering.

What is Pretotyping? 
Pretotyping is the art of not building a product and trying to sell it anyway. In other words, find out what it takes to sell a fake product that doesn’t exist, and if you find you can sell it, then build it! Since 99 percent of ideas don’t end up being built, pretotyping is a fast and lean way to try the idea without building the product and see if the market will buy it. It’s far more effective than focus groups and questionnaires.

This is what we call putting the horse in front of the cart. Too many start-ups build a minimum-viable product and then try to figure out how to go to market. Far better to go to market and see whether people will buy before you go to the trouble of building it.


What are we Pretotyping?
At 2030, we believe in the power of decentralization. You can learn more about blockchain and decentralization here our web site and on our sister site, It is early days for blockchain, though many groups are already hard at work creating proofs of concept and even working systems. At 2030, we want to find those quick wins that could lead to customers and revenues. There are thousands of use cases where blockchain will revolutionize industries. We are looking for teams who will pick a business problem they understand and try to find quick customer signals using pretotyping. 

How does the Contest Work?
We are looking for good solid pretotyping efforts. Realizing that most pretotypes don’t work, we’re not looking for success. We’re looking for a clever and well executed pretotype, whether it works or not. While results count a bit, methodology counts most. What we are looking for: 

IBM Text to Speech Trick In the 1980s IBM wanted to learn whether people would dictate to a computer. So they put potential customers in front of a computer and gave them a microphone and let them talk. In a nearby room, they had an ultrafast typist writing the words and following the instructions on a duplicate screen. By doing this ultracheap experiment, IBM learned there were many points of resistance and awkwardness in speech-to-text and wisely didn’t invest much in it. Still, today, many of those issues (or misperceptions of them) plague the text-to-speech software industry.

  • A good concept that, if successful, could lead to significant sales in a good size market. An established market should be at least $1 billion per year, but if you are looking at an early stage market it could be smaller. 
  • Your idea should have a clear value proposition that uses blockchain or decentralized technology somewhere underneath. The end user doesn’t have to know it’s blockchain, but the benefits of using blockchain should be part of the USP (Unique Selling Proposition). 
  • You should have a good framework for testing your concept. Be sure you’re doing a fair test to get true signals, not confounding or random signals. You may learn that people overwhelmingly prefer the $5 option, when in fact they just click the one on the left most of the time. A/B testing can be very helpful here. 
  • We will throw out entries we think are trying to game the system by testing on friends, rather than real customers in the wild.
  • We will judge mostly on your design, execution, and the adjustments you make to seek out market signals. Are you methodically trying messages and mock-ups that are credible? Are you adjusting your messages to learn what people will buy? Are you asking for and getting a buy commitment? 
  • We are looking for groups to continuously iterate their pretotypes until they find a hit. That will get you the most points from judges. 
  • You don’t have to be going after a crypto/blockchain market. A simple solution that takes an existing product or service and makes it far more efficient or affordable using blockchain behind the scenes is fine. 
  • You don’t need smart contracts! You can use a phony one in documentation and videos. All you really need is a “buy now” button, and then thank people who click for participating and offer them a reward when the product is ready. You’re just looking for the buy signal, not to execute the contract. 

The Intuit Short Cut At Intuit, which sells payroll software, they noticed that a lot of people sign up for the software on Fridays, when payroll is due. They had a meeting to discuss the idea of adding a new feature for “Cut checks now, then set up the database and other options later.” The idea was killed in the meeting. So the next Friday, an engineer put up a button on the web site that said “Cut checks now! Get your payroll done in minutes, then set up everything else afterward.” And on the other side was a page thanking people for their interest in this feature, saying it’s not quite ready, but please leave your email address and they’ll notify you when it is available. The response was surprising. More than 50% of visitors clicked that button rather than the standard offer. So they built it and it turned out to be a big success.

Prizes are awarded by a panel of judges. We will choose half the judges from our online community and half will be from 2030 or from our sponsors. We may also have a celebrity judge or two. There will be no voting from the wider community. The judges’ criteria are: 

  • Innovative yet practical idea: 5 percent
  • Thoughtful pretotype design and well expressed plan: 30 percent
  • Execution: 20 percent
  • Adjustment and iteration: 30 percent
  • Winning results: 5 percent
  • The project has already led to building a team and a new product: 5% 
  • Communication of project and results: 5 percent.

Judges are not obligated to award any of these prizes. We will reward good thought, effort, and organization. If we don’t see any quality entries, we won’t give any awards. If we see more good entries than we have prizes for, we will try our best to recognize and reward those entries. 

What Prizes are Available?
We hope to offer the following prizes and more ...

  • First prize - best pretotype: $5,000 cash
  • Second prize: $3,000
  • Third prizes: two times $1,000
  • All prizes will be awarded using blockchain technology via the Lykke wallet. Go to and get your wallet now.

Winners will be responsible for declaring and paying their own taxes.  

Your project must represent a feasible business offer. Discount air tickets for $10 is not a pretotype unless you have a good profit margin built into that $10. 

We are looking for sponsors now. The more money we get from sponsors, the more we can offer. We are hoping for $10,000 to $30,000 in prize money. We welcome sponsors who are looking for blockchain ideas and want to further work with the groups that show great promise as pretotypers. They are the innovators you’re looking for! 

Reverse shoplifting: Put your mocked-up product on a shelf and see if people pick it up and try to take it and pay for it. You can do this digitally, by creating all the product advertising and promo material you need, and put it into an online store with a bunch of fake reviews. Since you’re not going to take people’s money, you can get back to those who order with a 50% discount coupon for when the product ships. Once you have people purchasing your product, go build it!

The competition starts March 1st (sooner if we line up sponsors before then) and ends at 5pm East Coast time on April 29th, 2017.

The first webinar will be on February 23rd at 9am EST, 2pm UK, 3pm CET. For details, be sure to sign up for our newsletter on the home page. 

This gives you plenty of time to try as many iterations or pretotypes as you like, and to make a good video or document.

Competition Rules
Anyone over 18 can enter. You may enter several times, in fact. But each entry may only be made once - you can’t correct an entry once you’ve sent it in.

This should be fairly low budget. You may want to spend some money on online ads, and you’ll have to build a web site, but everything should be doable under $500. A strong concept, good execution, and $200 of marketing spend should be enough to create a winning entry. If you don’t have a strong social media footprint, add a team member who does!

You are welcome to borrow money, but do so responsibly. For example, Etherisc borrowed about 20,000 euros from investors and paid it all back two months later.

Twenty Thirty AG is not responsible for any losses, damages, injuries, or loss of value due to participants’ actions. All participants shall hold Twenty Thirty AG and its employees, founders, and volunteers harmless and blameless for any potential damages and accept full responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

Payouts will be in cash via your Lykke wallet. Download your Lykke wallet (search App store and Google Play for “Lykke wallet”) and go through the
registration process, which is necessary for compliance.

How to Enter
Register for our forums and start your own team's topic under the Pretotyping Hackathon category. You'll see further instructions and have your questions answered there. 

Pretotyping Resources
The following pages and sites will be helpful in learning more ... - Alberto Savoia’s web site

Leonardo Zangrando's pretotyping cheat sheet



The Art of Pretotyping

The Pretotyping Manifesto - a talk by Alberto Savoia: "If you're not
embarassed by the product you launch, you have launched too late."

Jeremy Clark on Pretotyping - PDF

Pretotype Labs

Pretotype your future - try it before you commit.

The IBM speech-to-text experiment