Graduate Blog / Graduate Life

Experience trumps everything

I now understand and appreciate why marketers and product development people get more valuable with age.  That’s because first hand experience in these fields is truly invaluable, and that’s because reality, as witnessed by such experience, is much different from logical conjecture, schoolbook material and what you intuitively think should happen.

This is some stuff I only could have learned from the experience of launching Fetchmob:

  • When you don’t have a feature that customers readily think of, it’s a huge deal (to the customers).  As soon as you put the feature in, those same customers that told you it was the be all and end all completely ignore its existence.
  • If you’re sitting out publicly, giving away free stuff to promote your business, no one passing by will take it … or even make eye contact with you, for that matter.  Consumers have learned to distrust free stuff and know that there’s no such thing as a truly free lunch–or in our case, a FetchBag (even though ours is totally free).
  • The marketing material that you thought would be the best and clearest informer (and what you thus have spent a good amount of money on) ends up totally glossing over your potential consumers. However, the second you put up a cute picture you paid some aspiring artist $5 to do, everyone all of a sudden seems to know what your business is all about.
  • Getting a customer’s attention requires a completely different set of skills and execution than getting the customer to tryyour product; getting a customer to try your product requires a completely different set of skills and execution than getting your customer to continue using your product.

My father always says, “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes,” and, in that vein, it would be fantastic to have an experienced marketer on staff to prevent me from making the same mistakes others have already made and learned from.  However, the alternative for me was to in fact get out there and make mistakes quickly and learn from them even faster.  And in that sense, entrepreneurship is never a failure.  Whatever it is I may now fail at is not likely to be the last thing I do and try, and the amount of knowledge I extract from my experience is invaluable to my future endeavors. That’s why experience–whether yours or someone else’s–is more or less priceless.

This post is co-published on Alisa’s personal blog