Founders who focus on their own passion projects are often told that their ideas are too niche & small. While this is sometimes the case, it’s important to remember...
Lots more people are coming online and spending more money online, so all online markets are growing over time.
Many successful startups were niche products when they started. Airbnb, for example, was highly criticized for a long time for just being a couch in someone’s living room. And the original vision for Uber was an expensive black car service.
As Marc Andreessen famously said, "software is eating the world,” so don't second guess your passion if you think something is there. The best way to prove to yourself that your passion could be a business is by gathering a small, passionate group of like-minded people to see if they use your product a lot over time. This is especially true if you are bootstrapping a new venture because it's the quickest/easiest/cheapest way to validate your initial assumptions.
An added advantage to this strategy is that this early traction shows potential co-founders, employees & investors that what you have is working. As just one example, I know an experienced early stage seed investor in Atlanta who is excited about a new B2C startup that's gotten very early traction with very little money invested. This investor is now helping this team of first-time founders make the rounds with the right people in the eco-system in Atlanta.
With startups you can focus on many things in the beginning. Do your best to focus on a small flywheel of strong, ongoing usage from a niche, passionate group and things will progress well from there.
In this podcast, a successful serial entrepreneur describes his thoughts on focusing on a niche problem.
Sidenote: Great tweet here from @naval about how small, passionate groups will advocate more than large, but less passionate groups.
Get Right to the Lesson
I’d recommend listening to the entire thing, but to get right to the point go to minute 25:04 of this podcast.
Thanks to these folks for helping us all learn faster
Justin Kan (@justinkan) of YC (@ycombinator)
Y Combinator (@ycombinator)
Paul Graham (@paulg) of YC (@ycombinator)
Aaron Harris (@harris) of YC (@ycombinator)
Please let me and others know what you think about this topic
Email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org or let's discuss publicly at @davempayne.
Real Founder Lessons
The best startup advice from experienced founders...one real-world lesson at a time.