phuu is Tom Ashworth

Default to technology

13 Feb 2014

I’m not the first to point it out that “if you build it, they will come” is simply false, but it seems this is forgotten even by very competent, experienced teams.

While we are used to seeing hyperbolic reports of explosive growth in products and companies, particularly in the technology space, these stories are not the rule. They are clearly exceptions; anomalies we can admire, but not neccessarily learn from.

With this is mind, it has to be a high-priority for any new business to plan for slow, persistent gains that make ground in a sustainable — even predictable — way.

An idea may be great but expecting a sudden, violent uptake is delusional. Importantly, any idea is worthless without execution, and I think a lot of would-be entrepreneurs forget: execution includes having customers – and in a saturated market with a high noise level, there’s an important problem to solve early: finding customers.

If the next thing I move on to after Twitter is my own product, I will do my best to do the following: before designing, prototyping or building, find potential customers with the problem you’re trying to solve. Understand them and their problem inside out and from their point of view. As swiftly as you can, produce something that provides value. Then — and only then — reach for technology. Don’t default to it.