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By PASCAL FINETTE

The Heretic is a free bi-weekly dispatch delivering insights into leadership in exponential times. For entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers. Raw, unfiltered and opinionated.

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Sep 22nd, 2013

A Problem Worth Solving

I recently received the following question on the art of finding a problem worth solving: “I feel many entrepreneurs are not solving real problems; instead they invent some imaginary problem in order to justify their solutions. Why is that? Can it be that all problems have been solved or that they are just not looking deep enough.”

First of all: Guilty as charged. I built my first company on some bogus problem statement and later paid the price for it. I was desperately looking for something, anything to do to start a company. And came up with one huge pile of shit of a problem. Lesson learned.

Then: No. There are a gazillion problems to solve. From the practical (How is it that I still have to use cheques to pay for a bunch of stuff in the US?) to the whimsical (Why are all to-do apps still such a mess?) to the fundamental (Why are there still 2.7 billion people living on less than $2 a day?). It surely is not the lack of problems to solve.

Now: What is it? Why are so many solutions only marginally useful — if at all? To be honest: I don’t know. The reason why we are all Heretics is that we are different. We look for real problems to solve. We experience these problems either ourselves or through the eyes of our customers. We care about our legacy.

And while we do these things — I suggest you simply shrug the other stuff off. Who cares? Don’t waste your time and energy on debugging someone else’s business which you don’t care about. Focus on the task at hand and make things better.


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