Recently I was meeting with a first-time founder who has been working on his bootstrapped startup for two years. When I asked about his progress, he said that the first version of their app was just released into the app store.
Without going into specifics, this founding team - like most founding teams - has a very unique belief about what will cause their potential customers to take action. As Peter Thiel is often quoted, “the way to create a big business is to believe something that no one else believes to be true and you are right."
I left that conversation with one thought stuck in my head…the main assumption about his business could have been quickly validated in the very beginning with very little effort…and with almost no technology.
Because almost all startups pivot, the earlier you can learn what your customers truly want the better off you’ll be. This team’s main assumption is probably wrong (they all are), so this team would have been much better off spending a few weeks validating their core belief before spending two years creating the first version of their product and then releasing it to get their first evidence.
Do you think your first product version is the winner? Be very skeptical of that thinking. Instagram was a drinking app at launch.
Overbuilding too early might be single biggest mis-step that I see most often with first-time founders.
In this podcast, this founder describes how her team initially made a simple Photoshop plugin to test whether or not their potential customers would eventually use a larger version of their product.
Get Right to the Lesson
I’d recommend listening to the entire thing, but to get right to the point go to minute 4:18 of this podcast.
Thanks to these folks for helping us all learn faster
Kat Miller (@avoiceandname), co-founder & CEO @ Stand In (@StandInApp)
Michael Sacca (@michaelsacca)
Joelle Goldman (@JoelleGoldman)
Matt Goldman (@SDMattG)
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.