I learned to code 35 years ago. For 30 years, I self identified as a techie. I still follow technology, but what I’ve learned in my greying-hair years is that technology is a tool. One of many. One that is generally best applied judiciously, if at all.
Meanwhile, the ongoing excitement about technology makes entrepreneurs think otherwise. This excitement goes back over 100 years, to the electrification and mechanization of the developed world, and more recently 35 years to the beginnings of the personal computer era.
It leads entrepreneurs to seriously think about what app is next needed, with their heads buried in a screen, rather than their heads held high, looking for real world problems to solve.
If I had a nickel for every business pitch I’ve seen and hear that begins with “an app that…”, I’d have a lot of nickels. If I installed every one of those app on my phone, the problems of the world and the problems of my life would be undiminished.
Startups exist not to build apps. Startups exist to solve problems. Problems that customers are willing to pay to solve.
Problem <– Solution <– Customers =====> Profits
If you need some technology to solve the problem, that’s fine. But when talking about what you do to investors or customers, lead with the problem. And if you must bury your head in a screen, think twice about whether that is the best solution.