Do you want to be Right or Effective with your Startup?
The other night we did a Ideation Bootcamp in Seattle. In the agenda we talked about what makes up a big idea and a big market for startups – slides posted here. After the content portion, we provided an opportunity for potential founder/entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas (not a fundraising pitch but just their idea) to the group and take feedback from the Mentors.
As I told the group, I’m not the final arbiter of your idea – good or bad. I admit, I would have passed on Twitter (though I didn’t have a chance to invest) and I don’t fit the demographic to understand why the tremendous uptick in pinterest.com.
What can we judge?
- Is your idea understandable – I know your description is in English and has sentence structures, but some people use so many buzz word it would be more understandable in Latin
- Is it a defined offering – an app, a web service, a site, etc
- Do you have a well defined target market
- Do you have some secret sauce that makes you different
- Is there a business model, I reference the 13 Internet B2C business models from Steve Carpenter’s Blog – the World According to Carp
- What is the competitive landscape – if you don’t have a competitor the market is either too small or nascent (which means your likely too early)
And yet, when some potential founders get this feedback, they would rather argue with the mentors about the feedback. So that get’s back to the headline:
Do you want to me Right or Effective?
And no, you can’t be both. That was the answer I tried to give the first time my mentor Don Stoppler posed the question to me. At that time I was convinced I was being both by the way – how can that be? Well, I knew everything of course. If you choose to always be Right people won’t give you candid feedback and overtime you will take the lack of feedback as an affirmation of your brilliance. Or you can choose to be Effective, take feedback, measure the value and ultimately produce the results.
At the event I mentioned Owen Clark’s blog ByzBlog and his tag line: keep it simple, simple is hard enough! Start there on your pitch