Countries that put their artists and protesters in jail will never succeed in building a successful culture of entrepreneurship. They will be relegated to creating better mousetraps or cloning other countries’ business models.
Some men see things as they are and ask why.
Others dream things that never were and ask why not.
-George Bernard Shaw
Over the last decade we assumed that once we found repeatable methodologies (Agile and Customer Development, Business Model Design) to build early stage ventures, entrepreneurship would become a “science,” and anyone could do it.
While on vacation I had a phone interview with Kevin Ohannessian of Fast Company who wanted a few “funding stories.” Here are two of them. Apologies for the rambling stream of consciousness. The original interview in Fast Company can be seen here.
I was having breakfast with Radhika, an ex-grad student of mine who wanted to share her Customer Discovery progress for her consumer hardware startup. She started by sketching her business model canvas on a napkin, but somehow the conversation quickly shifted to what was really on her mind. “After reading your post on Why Founders Should Know How to Code it looks like web/mobile startups have it easy. They seem to know the right mix of skills on their founding team is a hacker, hustler and designer. But what about for us, a consumer hardware hardware company? Trying to figure out what the right set of co-founders isn’t so clear. How do I decide who I need to have on board on day one? Who can I hire later? And what can I outsource?”
I had breakfast with two of my ex-students from Singapore who were building a really interesting startup. They were deep into Customer Discovery and presented a ton of customer data on the validity of their initial hypothesis – target customers, pricing, stickiness, etc. I was unprepared for what they said next. “We’re going to do a big launch of our product in three weeks.” I almost dropped my coffee. “Wait a minute, what about the rest of Customer Development? Aren’t you going to validate your hypotheses by first getting some customers?”