Building a startup is hard. I saw the parting advice from startup school this week and I really appreciated hearing him say that. And now that he said it I’m allowed to repeat it - building a startup is so hard and it’s such a long path. A marathon, not a sprint.
One of the things I am finding hard is determining what my next experiment \ feature should be. I get something out, I get feedback. I see how people use it. All the content on startup iterations describe it. But they make it sound simple, like the answer will be right there, given on a silver plate and echoed from all customers. Like what people say will match with what they do. Everything is nice and clean in theory, and perhaps also in hindsight, but when it’s you walking the path, it’s sometimes hard to see the forest for the trees.
That’s what happened last week. I got my brand new design, the one I mentioned in a previous post, out. And now needed to figure out the next experiment to run. In another startup school video about product market fit, Peter Reinhardt says that before you find that fit, before you start feeling a pull, it feels like pushing a boulder up a hill. And that resonated with me so hard I had to stop the video to write it down. I finished the new design and no user was waiting there to cheer for me. Now that the ui is not terrible - it’s a given. But as for the next step, this is where things get murky.
I took a step back and did a whole new set of market research. A whole new set of questions, some open ended, some multiple choice, and let me tell you - answers were all over the show. I sat down and used keywords and concepts to divide the answers and figured the next pain point. BUT. But there are a million different ways I can address this pain point. A million different solutions. A gazillion different features.
I’m a pretty decisive person. I decided to quit my job for my startup, spent a couple of hours checking the feasibility, took another week to sleep on it and make sure I don’t have a change of heart. But I knew. I decided and so I did. But suddenly I’m finding myself in uncharted territory. I’m not sure which path to take.
As Geoff Ralston says in the first video I linked - it’s important to keep moving. So I made a whole new round of market research and decided on my next test based on it. Do I know it’s absolutely the right next thing to build? Nope. But I hope to get it out in a week or two. I’m keeping it short and focused. But to be honest, unlike my previous steps this feels different. I don’t know that “different” is bad, I’m trying something new. It’s scary, not to have conviction. But I’m taking (another) leap of faith. I’m building something I’m not sure people will want. I’m testing a hypothesis. It might be cool and resonate with users, or it might be a failure and throwaway work. Either way I think the important thing is to keep moving to keep trying. I’ll come back next time with the results. Wish me luck.