The Danger of early “Validation”

The Danger of early “Validation”

I’ve been in the FinTech start-up business for 9 years, and have seen (and had) my share of ups and downs. There is a lot of smart people with lots of great advice on how to “validate your idea” before you launch and some suggest that you “fail fast” while others suggest you slowly iterate with a core set of marquee clients. The abundance of advice fills entrepreneurs with false confidence as they struggle to synthesize all of the “LEAN Startup”-type advice.
In reality, founders (including myself) will search for validation of their idea and will ALWAYS FIND IT because if you are determined to succeed. Your ego, career and money are on the line and so motivated perception and motivated reasoning work against you.
I wrote this down process down because I have experienced the pain of chasing validation, becoming too confident in early feedback and trying too hard to pivot and force a bad product into a market.
My approach is a different when it comes to validating a business idea:
Do not try to show you have a GOOD IDEA, you prove that it is NOT A BAD IDEA
Specifically, many people start with the end goal:
“I want to build profitable business with a product that does something”.
A better starting place is to notice that:
“Suddenly, a lot of people have to do something because of some need or external event, so that they can complete or experience something. Let me see if there's a solution out there to help them”
Notice we don’t even mention building a product or company at this time. All we are seeing is that there are people in motion being driving by external or emotional forces and they need to change their behavior. Maybe people need a tool, an online course, be funneled to an existing solution, or just be be left alone. Many followers of the Jobs to Be Done frameworks will notice a lot of parallels.


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