There’s a problem when you start with your own very unique Idea. You love it. Your mom loves it. But who else does? You are convinced that EVERYONE will love it, if you could only show them the finished product. Of course you think that, otherwise you might want to rethink your idea.
The problem is that you don’t really know how many users will actually use your product, you only assume millions will. This assumption can cost you a lot of time, money and nerves in the end. Many Startups still fail, because they don’t really think about the problem they are solving – and wether there are any customers to their solution at all.
About two months ago we met for a two-day Workshop with Sebastian Pollok, who worked with BV Capital, a San Francisco-based VC fund who helped many founders to reach the next level of Starting up. In that workshop he introduced us three Rookies to a very unique and radical way of thinking: The Lean Startup.
The Lean Startup was developed by Eric Ries and Steve Blank and it boils down to one very important insight: You really don’t know anything about your business! You just assume.
Ries spent 6 months of his and his co-workers life, developing a software they were all very excited about: It was an instant-messaging client that let you collaborate all your accounts from MSN, ICQ and other Messengers in one tool. When they launched it, they created an impressive landing page and a huge button that said: DOWNLOAD.
Unfortunately, nobody clicked that button.
I don’t know what it must have felt like, but from what Ries tells it starts with “S” and ends with “T”. Nobody wanted the product.
Luckily, he came to one conclusion that would eventually make him a very rich man later in life: Wether the download button led to his awesome software or a picture of a monkey – Nobody cared! So why not create the Landing Page first and see if anybody clicks on it. Would have saved six months developing. If so, then go and actually develop that stuff!
Now it may sound so simple, but it’s the simplicity that makes this approach so beautiful. YOU KNOW NOTHING! You have a new Idea? Great, but what is it for? What problem that people have will you actually solve? Why will people use your product in the first place?
Now that you made your assumptions, go out and validate them! Talk to people – change your product accordingly – now talk to more people – and change your product again. Are you still on track?
Tomorrow, you’ll find Simon and me in a Book store interviewing people who are interested in buying Self-Help books, whilst Robert attends a Self-Help group… Time to apply what we learned.