After going through an elite startup accelerator and raising millions in venture funding, I’ve learned one important counterintuitive lesson for those looking to start their own startup:
Spending all your time coding in the early days of your company is one of the worst uses of your time.
Great software companies that dominate today, required no technical insight to start.
They solved massive human problems using boring technology.
What drives innovation is a deeper understanding than anyone else about human desire.
That’s why they deliver a better solution than anyone else–not because of their technical chops.
You can quickly do this by asking everyone you meet what they believe, and why.
- Ask your cousin what her favorite app is.
- Ask founders what their retention looks like.
- Ask your uncle who runs an Indian restaurant where he advertises. On Groupon? Why?
- Do it with everyone–teachers, teenagers, VCs, etc..
And of course, if you’re already working on something, talk to your customers every day.
Especially the ones that don’t want to use your product!
Approach every conversation as an opportunity to learn about the world.
You’ll not only form better intuition, but also develop insights into human needs and behaviors that existing conventional wisdom do not account for.
That is what separates the good from the greats.