It's the only way to kill it as a startup.
Has your startup been labeled as having created a product in search of a problem? It is supposedly a kiss of death.
A variation on this meme is:
People won’t pay money for your product if it doesn’t solve their problems.
But don’t listen to the tech pundits or VCs. It’s bullshit.
If you believe in what you’re doing and have a vision for what you want to do, staying on the path less-monied is the right approach to build for the future.
Problem-centered development is building to the past
Ifyou build to a problem as defined by customers, survey or focus group, then you’re already limited by what other people see and want. You need to build to what they can NOT see and what they did NOT know they needed.
“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” — Steve Jobs
It’s like a large company who decides to “build” (versus buy) to go after a runaway startup’s market. It makes logical sense; the market is established and growing. The large company staffs the project with its best and brightest and a big budget. After many months and maybe years, company management wonders why the resulting product is lame or has been cut.
The problem? The large company engineers follow a requirements document that only seeks to emulate the startup product. Engineers must follow their gut — not a spec — to make a truly great product.
If you are following someone else’s plan, you are on the wrong path.
Made in Silicon Valley
The HBO drama “Silicon Valley” nailed this conundrum.
The fictional startup Pied Piper had developed a revolutionary data compression algorithm and the goal was to build a cloud storage platform based on the algorithm. It was being built for everyone and no one. There was no customer, just the belief that it would fundamentally change how data would be accessed.
To paraphrase the Pied Piper CEO:
“We can make something fucking cool and make billions while we’re at it.”
They did make something cool. They won the award for top startup at Tech Crunch Disrupt.
By winning early, however, they started losing. Pied Piper quickly got funded, and the VC firm promptly installed a seasoned CEO who wanted to build an appliance box for an Enterprise customer so that it could sit in a data center — along with about 20,000 other boxes. The revenue won out, the vision lost.
If you are building what someone else wants, you are on the wrong path.
Building to your belief system is the right approach
Make product that you want to make, that you believe in, and that you are passionate about. Make product that you think is cool. Don’t worry about whether people will actually pay for it, at least not in the beginning. There is a time for finding product-market fit, but it is not when you are conceiving and building the prototype or even the alpha version.
This is counter-intuitive for most people, especially in today’s age when VCs are demanding that startups get crazy traction, make money, and make profits from the get-go.
Lucky for us at odrive, we never had a VC to tell us what to do or large enterprise customer requirements to dictate our development.
All we had was a belief system that started to take shape about 8 years ago.
We believed that cloud storage was going to be the predominant way to store data. Cloud storage was superior for mobile, access and sharing.
We believed that cloud storage — when it became effectively unlimited due to falling costs — would be superior for storage of everything.
We believed that sync was the best UI to access content in the cloud.
We believed that cloud would proliferate, rather than centralize. Our data will be in many different clouds, not one.
From these beliefs, we developed a vision for how cloud storage can improve our lives. Better access, better sharing, better security, better team collaboration, better data management. Better by 10X.
We built odrive for everyone
Webuilt odrive for you and for ourselves. We built it for everyone. We believed that everyone would use the cloud, lots of it.
Along the way, it was not always clear if there was a market for what we were doing. We had some undefined notion that anyone and any business who used cloud would like our stuff.
We were right.
We all use many different cloud storages, in every flavor. We use it to share everything and store everything. We all love sync to get to everything wherever we are, but do not love the crippling effects it has on the local desktop.
And we nailed it.
odrive enables you to sync all your clouds and storage to your desktop so that everything is instantly accessible on your computer regardless of where the files are stored and no matter how much you have stored in the cloud. It all magically appears together in one folder. The ultimate data management tool.
See for yourself what happens when you believe in what you’re doing. Get odrive today.