Startups: Don't Be Cocky About Your Market Hypothesis

It's a warm, sunny day at the beach.

Thanks to 'A Boomer's Memories' for the Image

Thanks to 'A Boomer's Memories' for the Image

While you sit under your umbrella, hoping someone would notice your copy of Dante's Inferno and become very impressed, very quickly - you see a beautiful girl a few yards away, hanging out with her friends, laughing and having a good time.

As you stare and apply a second coat of SPF 110 to your nose, you start to imagine yourself hanging out with that girl. You go on and imagine what kind of food she likes, what kind of music, what makes her laugh, and all that jazz. You figure she's staying at one of the 17 resorts along the strip.

Back in your room after dinner, inspiration strikes, and you start making her a mix tape of all the songs you just know she would love as a quirky way to ask her out. Oh, you can't wait till you find her again and she gets that mixed tape!

Wait, maybe just a mix tape would look kind of lame, maybe you should include flowers? Yeah, you can never go wrong with flowers! And maybe a small box of chocolates? Yes, flowers and chocolates go so well together. Yep, that's good. Wow, she'll be blown away at this unexpected romantic gesture! This is probably the most thoughtful way she's been asked out. I mean, a mix tape! C'mon!

Why am I telling you this story, dear startup?

In working with over a hundred of you, one of the most prevalent mistakes I've seen is a product that has been taken too far into the development cycle without a single round of customer validation. This kind of product is the mix tape before you've even met the girl.

You're afraid to put something shitty in front of the very customers you're looking to impress. So you go ahead and build something that you imagine is sure to please. If you are an engineer, you hunker down and do more of what you're good at, i.e. build more features and bells and whistles and before you know it, there is a a mix tape, flowers, and chocolate for someone you haven't even met yet.

My advice to you?

Go say hello first.

Even if you look like shit and smell like the tar sands from a grueling day at work. Ask questions, listen hard. Find out what kind of music she likes, if she's allergic to roses, or likes her chocolate dark.

Result?

Better mix tape guaranteed, or your money back!

Learn more from Ramli John's No Startup Product Survives The First Customer Contact