June 24, 2009
Techstars: One Pitfall to Avoid
George and I met with our Techstars “mentee” companies again yesterday. As was the case with the last meetings, the sessions were energizing and fun and great to see new companies unfolding. One lesson I was reminded of yesterday with both companies is a timeless one, since at least the beginning of the commercial internet:
I call this the Pointcast problem, after the mid-90s service that pulled headlines into screensavers and clogged corporate networks until the fad passed.
One of the companies we’re working with has this challenge looming in front of them. They have a very cool concept and technology. It’s clear that it solves some problems, but there are many possible problems it solves, for many different people.
The key to get past this hurdle in the development of a business is to force yourself to articulate one or more very clear, crisp definitions of “it solves THIS problem for THIS person who is willing to pay THIS amount of money to have the problem solved.” Even if you end up with two or three of these statements to then go concept test in the market, at least you will be able to shape your product and messaging development towards getting into the revenue jetstream somewhere, to quote my friend David Kidder from Clickable.