Mandatory exercise for all serious founders. 5 minutes could save you 50 grand:)

TO MAKE A LONG BLOG POST SHORT...

  1. DEFINE YOUR PROBLEM STATEMENT WITH YOUR TEAM IN 1 MINUTE OR LESS (THIS IS YOUR WHOLE LIFE, IT SHOULD NOT TAKE LONGER)
  2. COME UP WITH 5 AWESOME THINGS ABOUT THAT PROBLEM. YES, TRY AND THINK IN THE EXACT OPPOSITE WAY FOR A FEW MINUTES.  CREATIVE EXERCISE, KIND OF - BUT YOU WILL BE SURPRISED HOW TRUE. 


EXAMPLES:

  1. SITTING IN TRAFFIC = time to listen to Howard Stern
  2. LONG LINES AT YOUR STORE = indication of demand, source of pride for owner (not ALWAYS the loss of revenue and need for a POS solution that founders claim)
  3. NO PARKING = a good reason to complain:)
  4. NO CURATED TRAVEL RECOS = serendipity, adventure, getting lost!
You get the idea, I did one for each, do FIVE with your team.


Just got off an inspiring call with my friends from https://www.regalii.com/ If you have ever sent money to someone, especially in the DR and said, there has got to be a better way, please comment below so we can talk to you. Likewise if you are fully satisfied and love the experience, we want to hear from you as well. Like Jim Carry said in Liar Liar, the truth shall set you free!

Which brings me to the exercise. VERY EASY. Will change your life.


  1. Sit down with your co-founders and WITHOUT saying a word to them or looking at their paper, write down the problem you think your team is solving and for whom. 
  2. Then look at that problem and come up with 5 scenarios each where not only is the problem not a problem but it is actually a blessing... in other words, not only do they not want to pay you to solve it, but they would actually be a little sad if the "problem" went away... I wrote about how I did a project with an entity who most likely handles your mail, and they were using technology to try and solve the junk mail problem. After interviews, we learned together that while people love to talk about how much they hate it, they have a solution that is generally acceptable. They throw it in the garbage. Good luck trying to get people to pay you to solve a problem that they can solve on their own, for free, and in about 5 seconds by throwing it in the garbage. 

Not willing to settle for a spectacular example, I wanted to see if we could take it t the next level.. being the advocate of satan that I tend to be on these calls, I suggested that not only is it possible that junk mail is not the problem that the founders thought it was, but that there were benefits - my suggestion was a stretch, but by forcing yourself to name 5 BENEFITS customers might see in the thing you are not only trying to get rid of but going to ask people to pay you to get rid of - it will be an eye opening experience, and it won't cost nothing:)

In this case, I suggested that not only was it easy to solve the problem of junk mail, but junk mail was actually a benefit in that it made it more "fun" and meaningful to get real mail. It made finding that birthday card or travel postcard like searching for a hidden treasure. Here are a few more examples.... one for each scenario - your goal is to come up with 5 for EACH scenario as a team. 

  • LONG LINES (for the store owner) - not only are long lines not a source of strife and lost revenue that entrepreneurs think they are, they are actually a source of pride for the owner and an indication of quality. LOOK AT ALL THESE PEOPLE WAITING IN LINE FOR MY PRODUCT
  • LONG LINES (for the waiter) - and app to avoid camping out for sports or concert tickets? no way! Camping out is a rite of passage and a way to spend time with friends...
  • TRAFFIC - pain in the ass? loss of productivity? how about a place to listen to a book on tape, learn a language or dare I say it - escape from your crying kids for 30m
  • EXPENSE of a wedding or baby... tell me why in the comments, this is not the problem founders think it is. 
AGAIN - this is just an exercise and is dependent on the problem statement and customer segment. In many cases it really is a problem and should be solved. But this exercise will make you think of the problem/customer relationship in a while new light and will help you solve it. 

The exercise is not a replacement for customer interviews. Go make @sgblank and my friends +Justin Wilcox & +Patrick Vlaskovits  proud and get out of the fucking building:)

Come to my next event in Miami or Kansas City:)
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