Forget about coding, forget about having a brilliant "idea", focus on one thing and one thing only in the early days of building a company.
That thing is product market fit! Without it I've found you're doomed, product market fit leads to many essential factors for your business in the early days.
Without it these are the things you will obtain
- lack of clarity and messaging
- frustration you cannot sell repetitively
- wasted product building cycles and time
The solution is PMF
Forget about your idea, forget about writing code. The mistake I've made is falling in love with the coding process, it's artistic and gives you dopamine for completing tasks. You see your work come to life and it's great, but then no one pays for it and you stay poor.
But how do you get PMF without writing code? First thing I believe is important to understand is that code is a form of leverage on solving problems at scale which saves time and can be reused by infinite amounts of people.
Once you understand that principle, then you know by writing your first line of code you have already over engineered the problem you're trying to solve for. The first and only problem you should be solving for is learning what the desired outcome for a particular individual is -- that's it, lets keep it simple.
Run cheap experiments
Coding is an expensive debt, each line of code (if written in the wrong direction) is a form of technical debt. Every hour you spend coding is a form of debt. To say the least, the less you're talking to customers and finding PMF the more debt you're incurring.
So I believe in order to maximize success you have to be lean with your approach in finding PMF. Here are some thoughts on how you can run cheap experiments.
Our number one goal is to find the desired outcome. So when you reach out to people on the internet you can offer them a service, or ask them about a problem they have.
From here if you know of an obvious solution to the problem you can do it in an non scalable way. Yes, manually fix the problem. Remember software is designed to be leveraged problem solving, but under the hood there are functions that you can manually execute.
Earn your first customers manually
Something I am experimenting with is doing it this way, forget the coding, lets deliver the outcome to a group of users. We will get direct feedback and learn so much more before writing our first line of code this way. It's scary to go out and often times we go code because it's a comfort zone.
If you lead with this approach you can start making money right away. Have more than enough data to reverse engineer into product, and have a clear road map plus your target avatar is clear as well.
You know you have a winner when the customer is asking for more of your deliverables, if they're like drug addicts and are coming back for more its time to invest in engineering.
From here you can start clarifying your message to target thousands of others that fit within that target profile and they can onboard themselves.
Product market fit should be the first thing you obsess over and unlock before anything else. Even if something seems obvious and in demand i.e you see competitors and you think you can copy I would avoid. The reason is you don't understand the core problem as well and you will waste time building product while they are making sales.
Cut to the chase and start building relationships with people ASAP and start collecting money ASAP. Then invest in scalable solutions.
This is the way, but do take it with a grain of salt and think for yourself. I am a new entrepreneur and this is a fundamental thing I have learned the hard way three years in.
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