At some point in your life, you probably have played this game called “the Marshmallow Challenge” where you work in a small group, normally from 4-5 people. You are given 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string, and one marshmallow. Your goal is to build the highest free-standing tower possible with the marshmallow on top.
It sounds easy. But as a two-time player, I won neither times and stressed the hell out of it. My professor, Liraz Sharabani, in ISBA today, after winner of the challenge was announced, showed us this Youtube video and revealed how the Marshmallow Challenge is relevant to venture creation. Click here to watch the TED Talk
For venture creation, execution is just as important as having a viable idea. Keep testing the idea and making sure it’s working for the market. For the Marshmallow Challenge, it is making sure that your structure is able to withstand the weight of the marshmallow and keep building it on top of that.
Some of things we have done well within the group even when we didn’t win the challenge includes that we were very efficient at dividing up tasks and building up our tower toward a common structure.
I can’t remember what happened during the first time I played that game, but from this time, I learned that discussing our ideas and getting inputs are important for making a good structure. Two of us decided building cubes would be great for building a steady structure and we didn’t really consult the other team members.
I probably will never win a single game of Marshmallow Challenge and that’s ok. At least every time I practice on how to communicating with new members, on how to dividing up tasks among us, and remembering the importance of testing and experimenting.
There is no single right way to build a highest tower of marshmallow challenge, as there is no single best idea to change the world or to build a business. It all comes down to hard work. Keeping on testing the idea and making appropriate adaptation according to the market is just as important on coming up with a single idea that could turn in to a business.