Victus Spiritus


Limitless Options, Limited Time

07 Sep 2010

Just about every person I communicate with that has an entrepreneurial bone in their body, is able to perceive new value opportunities. They train themselves to look for problems or pain points. The more time spent seeking, the better they get at recognizing patterns of unmet need in diverse markets. Each proposed solution embodies the designer's individual expertise and style. The limiting factor on bringing these ideas from abstract notions, to concrete prototypes is restricted resources. Each of us has only enough time to cultivate and pay critical attention to one big idea at a time. It's not as restrictive as it first sounds, because that Big Idea is subject to drastic change as you gather more intelligence.

If merely recognizing a problem was highly valued, no one would ever build anything

Realizing the original idea is off the mark through real feedback is humbling and enlightening. Humbling because you never know as much as you think you do, enlightening because you're actually learning. Almost no one nails the problem and solution fit on their first hunch, and if they do they'll likely get copied by teams ready to pounce. It's motivating to know there are incredibly talented builders that are younger, hungrier, and have zero burn rate, on the constant look out for signals of a promising product like yours. Each moment of your time needs to be more efficiently spent. You may convince yourself that you're wiser, but in tomorrow's market we are all equally ignorant.

Turning What Ifs into Solutions

It's essential that you zero in on the solution to the problem on the road to getting real (product market fit). Before then you're just a curious team doing R&D. After proving the match you're one towering step closer to a new business. The techniques used to track market need are what separates finding a path to success, from slow failure or stalled growth.

If I already had FU money, I'd quote Steve Blank, and suggest "get out of the building" and talk to customers. But those personal surveys while chock full of information, are dominated by opinions that may not represent the best customer base for your solution. You can ask (and I do) different garage sellers how they market their sale. You can talk to garage sale buyers to discover what drew their attention to the sale. But there are alternatives to personal surveys, and you don't have much time, so be clever about how you validate an idea, and gather intelligence about a potential market.