You just had the best idea ever, you know it. It’s the next big thing. Goodbye Google, adios Facebook, pasta la vista, Twitter! You’re convinced the next world changing idea lies in your hands.
Overexcited, you turn your garage into an office. Waiting to switch full time, every night becomes a new work day, each weekend another week. You lose sleep. Your wife threatens to leave you and go back to her mom and your kids don’t know you anymore. Your idea turns into an obsession and the one thing you think about.
After a few days, you’ve filled more notebooks than Leonardo in his whole life. You’re more careful in building your first prototype than Roy Neary was in sculpting the mountain in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
You start talking about it around you. You talk it to your mom, your barber, your cat, your colleagues, people at the bus stop. Actually you talk about it to every living beings you pass by, sometimes to your car or your office furniture. You talk about it because you need it and your close family can’t bear it anymore. You also need feedback from people of trust, lots of feedback. It will work, you know it. Everyone around you seems as enthusiastic as you are, they all told you:
Awesome! I love it! I don’t think I’m your target but my friends will adore it!
You start feeling a bit uneasy. You’re not sure they really paid attention to what you were saying. But it’s OK after all. Their friends, their families, they’ll be your clients, and all these people will be your best ambassador to their relatives!
For God’s sake, come down to earth! Here’s what they told you.
Your idea is totally stupid, it won’t work and I don’t give a fuck about it. I want you to leave me alone but I don’t have the balls to tell you.
Don’t lose faith in your idea. You didn’t talk to the right people.
“No one is a prophet in his own country.” (Luc 4,24). Stop trying to get feedback or clients from your relatives, they’re not the droids you’re looking for. Try to find people who have the problem you’re trying to solve instead.
Asking your relative’s opinion is a common trap. It provides instant gratification because they tell you what you want to hear. But your business won’t live on instant gratification.
Take it the other way. Look for people having the same problem as you have. Tell them about your solution. Tell them about your idea. Even better, show them your prototype and get immediate feedback. Do you solve their problem? If not, are they your target? Do you understand your market they way you think you do? And if you do, congratulation, you’ve just found your first users. Iterate, release and come back to them.
The hardest part is coming. It’s time to make money.
This post is a translation of Ton Idée Est Nulle, Ça Ne Marchera Pas, Mais Je N’Ai Pas Le Courage De Te Le dire I first published on 08 Jan 2013 in a series called Startup Life