How do you know if your tech startup idea is good or not?
There is all this vanity stuff about how much experience you have in an industry, wether you have access to people in that industry, it goes on forever.
If I told you a taxi (ride sharing) company could be worth $60+B would you believe me?
What is one of the first things we are taught when younger? Do not let strangers in the house. If I told you a company that would help you bring strangers into your home would be one of the most valuable, would you believe me?
Before 1998, if I told you I was going to create a search engine that is going to capture more value than all the airlines combine would you believe me? There is a joke that google was like the 36th search engine, remember many others tried but did not get the business model right and did not capture value.
Before 2004, if I told you a social network could become one of the biggest companies,would you believe me? remember there was Myspace and many others. Many people had the idea too, Mark Pincus co-founder and former CEO of Zynga mentioned he had the idea and even registered a domain name for it but simply wasn’t the right person.
If we go back to the early 1990s, If I told you a company that bring books online and then will later expand to be an e-commerce behemoth, would you believe me?
If I told you there would be a huge company that is going to create an ugly looking marketplace that is free (craigslist), would you believe me?
If I told you I was going to create something like SMS, and email, except it is limited to 40 characters, you can’t post videos, it is completely public for anyone to see your content and that this company would be successful to the point it could go public, would you believe me?
You will know if you have a great when:
- You build an MVP (Minimum viable product)
- Get it in the hands of costumers and see if they buy it, absolutely love it and are sharing it with everyone
- Go back to the drawing board
- Build another MVP based on the feedback, observations and things you learned from the first MVP
- Keep doing it until market fit and you consistently create that “AHA” moment for users and they are willing to pay because you provide value
- Make sure to have amazing customer experiences and experiences and improve everyday
- Make sure to keep executing flawlessly. Faster, and more efficient than any of your competitors.
Remember you are not building a product but a company around a vision. Even if your product is successful you will have to change it as you scale because customers will have different needs. You may start with a data analytics tool and move to provide a physical products as you scale, why? Needs constantly change. However, you will still be operating within your vision, it is simply just a different approach.
I met with this entrepreneur that launched a company around making sure consumers don’t co-mingle the wrong medicines together because it leads to death. What do I mean by that? There are medicines that simply can not be taken at the same time or you can die. Patients often have different doctors and doctors were unaware what the other doctors were prescribing.
What would be a logical solution?
Simply digitize it allowing doctors to see who was prescribing what.
Yupp everyone thought that would work.
Except that doctors are usually busy meeting with patients face to face and is usually an assistant that takes a look at the software adding extra layers of work. How?
Assistant looks online -> takes a screenshot -> save, store and find the file -> prints it out -> writes a note to the doctor -> makes sure it makes sense and is compliant -> leaves it on the doctors desk
So what was the solution?
Directly faxing it to the doctor.
Assistant picks it up from fax machine -> drops it off at doctors desk
Who would have thought we would still be using fax now adays? Not too long after he sold the company for more than $30 million.
The lesson is to go out and really understand the problem you are trying to solve and test test test and execute well !