In our mad rush to the finish line (which in reality is usually just the next bend in the road) we often make assumptions which we never test nor validate. We throw out ideas about customer needs or the existence of markets — without ever taking the time to test these assumptions. We rely on the gospel of lean which tells us that we can iterate our way towards the light at the end of our tunnel. And so we build, launch, iterate, build some more and get frustrated that after a year of madly running around like chicken we still haven’t found the fabled “product-market fit”.
A different approach is what I see a bunch of seasoned entrepreneurs doing (you know — the guys who are in their 40s and 50s, building these unsexy B2B companies which scale up to $100M in revenue, employ hundreds of people and make for wonderful exits — just not the ones TechCrunch likes to write about as they are not sexy). They spend a lot of time with their prospective clients before they even write their first line of code or build their first prototype. They ask questions. Lots of questions. And observe their customers doing their thing. For a quite a while. Until they feel confident that they found something worth doing. A real problem worth solving. Something their customers are happily paying for to get fixed.
Guess which model, in my humble experience, works better?
P.S. A quick and heartfelt shoutout plus an amazing offer — first: If you haven’t checked out the Golden Ticket lately you should: The two latest additions come from fellow Heretic Rustin Coburn who made a full apparel tech pack available for download and the wonderful folks from GitHub who are offering a year’s worth of their Bronze plan for free! Secondly — Heretic Elio Qoshi generously made the following offer for y’all:
“I’m offering for the 3 first Heretics interested, the creation of a logo and basic style guide for your business or startup… for free! We will go together through all design processes until you are satisfied with the result. No matter if you just can’t think of the right visuals to implement into your business concept or if you just need some assistance in visual identity, I’m sure I can help you. The style guides/logos will be finished by middle of March. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org”