Steve Blank has one of the best definitions of what is a startup:
“a startup is an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.”
To ensure that a business is scalable, the problem the startup builds a solution for should have a large addressable market.
An important aspect of it being a repeatable process is a function of how simple the solution is.
Thus the harder the problem and the simpler the solution, tends to make for businesses that achieve scale much faster. This does generalize other factors such as network efforts and available distribution platforms etc.
However at it’s crux I do believe simplifying your business to benchmarking how difficult the problem you are solving for is compared to the simplicity of the solution is a great way to quickly evaluate the viability of your startup.
My niece is on her way to college later this year and like most people her age, she has very little idea what she wants to do at or after college. Unfortunately this trend is a global issue and many parents and their college going kids think that college is some magic bullet that is going to help them realize their true calling. There are several pieces of advice I like to give when this conversation is brought up. Some of them contrary to the common worldview where everyone has a predetermined idea that they must follow. Some of them are:
Dropbox is one of those products that I use on a daily basis. It has completely removed my need for USB sticks. This presentation goes over the starting stages of Dropbox, and then onto where they went from idea to execution. It provides a great roadmap for companies that are building products in categories that cause a fundamental shift in existing behavior.
As a side note, if you haven’t signed up for dropbox yet. Please check it out Dropbox.
This is a fascinating presentation of the importance of the correct use of metrics when developing your product. Many of us keep our focus on vanity metrics that result in a skewed and biased picture of what is actually happening during engagement.
Great presentation by Ash Maurya who has studied the lean methodology in great detail. Slotting in new feature is the easiest thing a startup can do, yet can be one of the most expensive mistakes they can make. Validating feature releases with your users or target segment is essential in building a product that is lean as as well effective.