No one wants a product, pals.
People have problems, and they want solutions. If their problem is solved, most won’t care how it was solved. And the few who do, will compromise.
This principle is articulated beautifully by Evan Charles Moor, Doordash’s founder, in this Twitter thread. What I’ll humbly try to do here is kind of translate it to words that resonate with what’s going through your mind when you are in step 1. When you’re just thinking about your startup idea.
You have a vision of what can be a great thing (product, service, app). You’ve spoken to people and you feel they would use it. You want to put your theory to the test and actually see how people react. But, you’re concerned about what you can put forth. It won’t work smoothly enough, it won’t be fast, it really must be in a dedicated mobile app.
The common, painful, expensive mistake, is to spend your money on developing what you believe is the solution. You feel that you know how it should look and you’re going to spend the $50k you managed to get from an angel investor on building it. You want it to look nice. That’s going to be $50k you will never get back.
If you are right, and people do need this dedicated place to share their favorite dog walking spots or what not, they do not care about the packaging, the app that comes in, the name you’ve given it. They just don’t. If you are right, they will share those spots even in a badly moderated Facebook group chat. The concord plane didn’t fail because it wasn’t manned by good enough service attendants or because it didn’t land in the best airports. It did. It failed because not enough people actually needed to get places that fast to the extent they were willing to pay extra for it.
If you are too lazy to read Evan’s Twitter thread, I’ll just tell you he described how people flocked to pay for their deliveries way before they even had an app. They were texting all around the user experience was shit. But people needed food delivered to them and restaurants needed outgoing delivery options. That’s it. Don’t spend money on development before you have users to serve it to. IF you’re going b2b, signed contracts are what you are looking for. If b2c, user engagement. Enjoy the ride.