I love building. Dreaming and then creating. I think it’s why I love startups so much. This whole process of seeing opportunities for improvement in some way and creating a solution. Then testing and iterating and seeing if it works for more and more people.
The challenge is, no matter how hard you try, it’s too easy to fall in loving with the building more than the solving.
I’m a big fan of not knowing a ton about the space that you’re trying to disrupt. Because it keeps you humble and curious. It keeps you asking the questions. But by nature, the more time you spend in a space, the more you get to know it, the more you get lulled into thinking you understand it.
In the beginning you’re obsessed with the problem. Why it exists, what’s missing, what can fix it. Then you start building something that fixes it and slowly, as people start using it, you start believing that you know what you’re doing. That the product you’re building is the right and good thing and that the problem is going away.
Maybe that’s true. But probably the problem is shifting in nuanced ways. And unless you’re equally committed to solving the problem now as you were at the start, you’re going to end up on the wrong path.
It’s why whether you’re just starting or you’ve been doing this for some time, as we have, it’s critical to ask yourself if you’re focused first on building a product or solving a problem.
It’s natural to be pulled towards the former. But your job, as I was reminded this week, is to always doing the latter.
Anything else and you’re working yourself to irrelevance.
So what’s the problem?