Everyone’s getting in on the act. They’ve been urged to do so by prominent investors. They discuss their new business concept, their product, and so on. However, a significant proportion of them are unsure if what they’re creating is actually wanted by anybody. As a result, they’re building too quickly.
I’ve had a few conversations with early-stage entrepreneurs when they ask for advice. I recommend that they go out and meet individuals who may have the issue that their product aims to address. They should hold the problem in their heads for a while longer.
Then something amazing happens. They discover a slew of reasons not to communicate with the individuals who might have the issue. They continue to develop their new business concept, but they don’t know for whom it is for.
Is there a need for people when starting a business?
“I just need to get my business license so I can put advertisements on Google and find out if people will click my adds,” said an early-stage founder.
That is not what he needs to do, however. He must first learn about the individuals who could have the problem he fears may exist. If he wanted to speak with them now, there would be no Google or licensing authorities, and no click-through analytics.
He can reach out to individuals who already meet in internet chat rooms, and he may find some of them at the event. He doesn’t have to offer anything to them. He may ask open questions like those used in the “mother test.” If he decides not to speak with these individuals now, he’ll most likely waste several years of his life
Early days of a startup
By the time founders are ready to explain their ideas, they already care too much and are afraid of going back to the uncertainty of before. Maybe they’ve begun working on it. They convinced themselves that the “issue” could be handled by building. Now they want to maintain a clear course.
They believe that if they doubt their strategy, they are more likely to fail. I feel that if individuals have a superior map, they are more inclined to succeed. That is, by de-risking the wrong thing by creating rather of de-risking it by communicating with people who face the problem, they are more likely to fail.
Entrepreneurs prefer to believe in false hope.
So, they prefer false hope and the dopamine that comes with treading on a hamster wheel in tiny, ineffective steps. Lines of code are easier to track than epiphanies regarding an issue.
Some people have taken on a hero’s journey to save a world that isn’t in danger, thus entangling them in an addictive narrative. They’ve spent so much time and effort perfecting their business concept that they can’t stop long enough to evaluate alternatives.
There is a willful blindness on the part of the founder, and an implicit agreement by him that if his ideas are put into debate with a reality that opposes them, they will have to modify.
That’s why it can be challenging for new organizations to build trust with customers, because they operate in the real world, not the internet. When you live your fundamental question more intensely, you are asking yourself these questions: “How do I make something that sells?” and “What should I create?” But it’s not enough to say that people should ask themselves, “How do I improve the world?”
When I’m trying to understand what’s going on with a founder and their plans, one of the first questions I ask myself is, “Is this person trying to develop a product or address a human issue?”
What is your company’s main motivation?
Here are a few strategies that I’ve seen used by companies seeking to start up:
- Me-first: “Let’s make money/change professions/start a company..”
- Tech-first: “Let’s create something innovative with AI..”
- Product-first: “Let’s create [software category] for [job title].”
- Market-first: “Let’s establish a framework for [a fast-growing sector].”
- Person-with-problem-first: “Let’s address this for Bob.”
Many founders are motivated by more than one of these perspectives at the same time. I’ve worked for and on products for most of those reasons, so I’m a little picky about startups that solely focus on founder needs, cutting-edge technology, or cool gadgets in need of users. But to make it extra clear, I believe you should solve a problem for a person before becoming an entrepreneur.
Bob could be you. It’s possible it’s someone in your family. Maybe there will be a lot of Bobs like you—investors would like that. But seeking for the greatest number of Bobs and then trying to figure out what issues they face is a poor approach to choose your life’s work. That way, it’s simple to explain how your product works to Bob.
Make it clear for people who are not like you, but still serve that person’s problem.
It’s possible that you’ll need to iterate through several rounds of problem-solving. It doesn’t just take a lot of time and effort on your part—it also requires a significant amount of time and input from the people whose problem you’re attempting to solve with your new business concept. That’s why it helps if you have a prior relationship with the person especially if it’s your aunt or grandmother.
If a founder is only attempting to create something (tech-first or product-first), there’s a good chance it will be the wrong solution. They are neglecting half of the issue. They are leaving out half of the discussion.
The majority of new business concepts and product concepts are scribbles on a drawing pad. It’s not a good idea to go from there and start your own firm.
The first stage of a problem-solving process is to back up and do things correctly, at which point you’re a lot more likely to create something that people want, avoiding many of the issues that startups have when it comes to creating things that consumers don’t desire. Startups are highly path dependent. Everything downstream is determined by what you do upstream.
Soak up as much information as you possibly can. Go out and socialize. Take the problem apart element by component. Consider it thoroughly. Determine what people are doing now with the issue, as well as why they are doing it.
What are some of the warning indicators that a founding team is building the wrong thing? They’re producing a product for someone they don’t know very well. So poorly, in fact, that the user might be nothing more than a figment of their imagination. They can’t come up with anyone they know who would use it or has the problem it actually solves.
The founder I spoke about previously is developing a product for a group of individuals he has never met. However, he understands the regulatory framework that will govern his firm from the start.
A product concept may get you enough cash to quit your job. However, if you’re creating something that doesn’t address a real-world issue, you’ll be wasting your time. So, what is the purpose of your business? Is it simply so that you can leave work or is it to help people? Do you really want to develop something that doesn’t create value?
They’re jumping in without knowing where to start; the wrong frame; and for the wrong reasons. They’ve made a mistake with the order of operations. They are putting the solution before the question.
You must get excellent at people in order to be successful at question-asking. The more distant your imagined users are from your own reality, the more you’ll need complete strangers to volunteer their time and input. The harder it will be for you to figure them out. Your chances of success improve if you work with individuals that you know on a problem that you can solve.
What you already know is the key to your success.
This is the issue that occurs when a company’s first product isn’t able to fulfill market needs. Many different names have been used for it, but it’s most often referred to as “founder-product fit” or “founder-market fit.” It was coined by investors to describe founders and new business ideas, so it frames the problem incorrectly for the founder. It’s not about the product matching the market, but rather it’s about the founders matching one another.
There are several aspects to founder-problem fit. One is your familiarity with the problem. Another is how much you care about it, which frequently tracks alongside knowledge because interest tends to bring about more knowledge. A third element is the skillset you have for comprehending and resolving the issue, such as communicating, thinking, building codes relating to it.
I’m not suggesting that you already know the answer or be oblivious. After all, what you know may change, and it should. Airbnb and Segment were founded before they discovered significant issues of their own.
I’m simply suggesting that you should have a thorough understanding of the situation before even considering building. It’s essential to soak in everything about it. If you don’t have the problem, someone who you care about and perhaps even live with should have it.
It shouldn’t be “someone else’s problem,” and it should certainly not be a phony issue for which you must care because “how can they live with the ugly, inefficient software they have now?” Those products are castles in the sky, inhabited by creatures from your own imagination.
I’ve heard of a developer creating a successful gardening software based on comments from his wife. He didn’t care about gardening, but he cared about her, and she cared enough about him and her problem to give him excellent feedback. You should be close to the issue both physically and emotionally. It should exist inside you. Not addressing it should have negative consequences for you.
The fun of coding
Another reason to consider solving before building is that it’s easy to get caught up in the thrill of programming, and before you know it, you have a precious thing on your hands (your product!) that you don’t want to murder. Another reason is because people adore new code as a method for resolving issues.
The first thing you should ask yourself after identifying the outline of a problem is “Can this be resolved with Excel?” If the answer is yes, you should do it for a while because it will teach you a lot about your users and their demands without requiring anything from you, allowing you to shift your thinking more quickly and remain impartial to your darlings.
Some of startup’s peculiar activities are due to the fact that many people with sufficient domain knowledge to identify significant issues have become risk averse and time constrained (they’re raising children!), while those with the time and risk tolerance haven’t yet lived long enough. That is something I wish I knew how to fix.
A good new business concept is the result of a discussion.
Engineers and product people frequently converse about their work by constructing and sharing it. It’s true that trying to create a solution for a problem is a good approach to learn about it. However, the sunk cost fallacy can cause your views on an issue to be warped while you’re building a solution for it, as your beliefs are skewed by the illusion that you’re gaining insight through your efforts. The more often you invest in a solution, the more attached to it you become and the less likely you are to accept that it’s not the one.
If you are not ruthless regarding your own incorrect ideas concerning the problem you’re attempting to solve, you will end up devoting your efforts to a castle in the sky, which will make you unable to see potential pitfalls. Nobody should be developing until they’ve really seen what’s needed to resolve the problem, at the service of those who are actually affected by it.
Consumers are focused on the finished product; they’re given something to take or leave. Many creators create items that offer little more than the pleasure of creation.
What we need is a discussion, and the product that is looking for consumers rather than one that is seeking to engage users is an awful conversation where you are solely doing the talking. You may even assert that the exchange is more essential than the product itself. The talk serves as a precursor to something that may eventually be rendered in pixels.
Origin stories of businesses that have started up are crucial.
Founders’ origin stories are frequently fabricated. However, there’s a reason why founders offer them and investors want to hear them. Investors truly desire to learn about how you arrived at this issue and why you care about it.
No founder will say, “We wanted to make a lot of money so we brainstormed for a few weeks about how to do it.” If they had said this, they wouldn’t be invited back.
If you have to invent a backstory to seem appealing to investors or the media, it suggests you’re working on the wrong problem for the wrong reasons. The market is less susceptible to your origin tale than you think.
I’ve observed entrepreneurs build origin stories in the past, and I’ve worked for firms that didn’t need to because they recognized a problem they cared about and built a firm around it. The later tended to do better as a result of this.
Vinco Ventures Co-CEO Ted Farnsworth Sets The Record Straight On ‘Hostile Takeover,’ Sends Message To Shareholders
*This interview has been condensed for clarity*
Recently-appointed Vinco Ventures co-CEO Ted Farnsworth apologized today to shareholders after “rogue” independent director John Colucci accused the veteran executive of planning a hostile takeover and made a series of false statements in an unauthorized company press release.
Farnsworth via his ZASH Global Media and Entertainment Company created ZVV Media Partners, a joint venture between Zash and Vinco Ventures, and delivered the joint venture’s most prized assets. ZVV Media Partners acquired AdRizer, a leading ad-tech publisher and analytics solution with a focus on revenue attribution, and Lomotif, the rapidly-growing video platform rivaling Tik Tok.
Unhappy with the delays in finalizing the joint venture (Farnsworth feels the independent directors were “dragging their feet”), the 60-year-old financier and entrepreneur was nominated to the role of co-Chief Executive Officer to “shepherd” through the close.
A July 22 8K (SEC EDGAR) filings confirmed Farnsworth was elected as co-CEO of Vinco, Lisa King was elected as President of ZVV, which holds prized assets of ZASH, Lomotif, and AdRizer, and Colucci was voted to step down as an independent director.
On this day, Vinco (BBIG) was trading at $1.10. But now, after Colucci saw the appointment differently and accused Farnsworth of masterminding a so-called hostile takeover, shareholders have seen the stock price implode hitting a 52-week low (0.79) at the close of trading on July 26 (down -55.25% year-to-date).
In an unauthorized company press release issued by Colucci, it claimed a number of executive level officers were fired and made erroneous statements about the company’s finances.
Breaking his silence on the matter, Farnsworth told Feed Layer in an interview: “First of all, let me apologize to the shareholders of Vinco Ventures. I mean, it looks like a circus is going on here.
“This deal has been out there for a year and a half, and I believe the Vinco shareholders have a right to know what’s going on. The delay is just too long.”
According to Farnsworth, Colucci — a 42-year-old with seemingly no public company experience — joined the Vinco board as an independent director to explain data to the other board members. He started in the role around six weeks ago and approximately two weeks in, the board hired one of the top independent legal firms to investigate Colucci’s independence.
“We hired one of the top firms in the country and they came back with serious reservations,” Farnsworth said, claiming Colucci refused to cooperate fully with the independent counsel and so was marked by the law firm as a “negative inference,” and they did not believe he was independent.
“Our corporate counsel sent out a letter to the company saying Colucci needed to step down as independent director immediately because we believe he doesn’t qualify as an independent,” Farnsworth continued, adding he believes Colucci did not disclose certain third-party transactions.
“It’s about the disclosure. The bottom line is it was a lack of disclosure so when our lawyers said to have him step down as independent director and take an administrative leave of absence, instead, he authorizes a press release without required company approvals.
“People might say Colucci can be a very charming guy and I would agree, but smart people see right through that.”
Farnsworth admits he was concerned by Colucci’s disturbing behavior in the build up to the public smear against him, and says he thinks Colucci’s lack of experience in the complex world of public companies, rules of NASDAQ, SEC regulations and laws, is behind the sudden coup attempt.
“Fast-forward to where we are today, John Colucci is not qualified to be an independent director. Especially if he’s claiming to be CEO. He’s sitting here just blocking the company right now from getting work done and damaging shareholder value for the shareholders of Vinco Ventures,” Farnsworth said.
“Then he comes out with this accusation of a ‘thwarted hostile takeover from the Farnsworth Group.’ Well, if you know Wall Street, a hostile takeover is when they come in to buy your company and management doesn’t want you in there. This deal has been out there for a year and a half and it can’t be hostile because I was the one who raised the money and brought in all the assets – Lomotif, AdRizer, etc. – and closed on these. So there’s no way that’s hostile.”
Farnsworth said employees of Vinco started a petition about refusing to work with Colucci.
“The only ones that are suffering here are the Vinco shareholders. That’s really troubling to me where they have a right to know what we’re doing, how it’s going to happen, how we’re closing. I can tell you certain documents have been with the independent directors for the last several months to close these things out. It’s just a game they’re playing and now I’m calling them out on it because the company is owned by the shareholders. It’s not owned by John Colucci.
“When you look at it, it’s really him doing a hostile takeover. This is all about his ego and it really is a power grab.”
In response to the unauthorized press release that Vinco immediately took it down from its investor relations website, Farnsworth said: “John Colucci has run rogue. I’m still co-CEO as long as the shareholders will have me as co-CEO, I’ll be there. The chairman Rob Vanderbilt is still chairman of the company and as long as they keep him there and Lisa King, she’s still a director.”
“We are here for the Vinco shareholders supporting anything they stand for. If anything changes I’ll be the first one to tell them.”
The Real Deal on a Four-Day Workweek
For many people, it’s difficult to imagine a work week that doesn’t begin on Monday and end on Friday. For decades, millions of people across the world have built their week around Monday through Friday. However, as the pandemic continues to change Americans’ attitudes toward work, many are reconsidering how they may balance work and life.
After all of this research, I discovered that the concept of a five-day workweek was first proposed as early as the 1860s by many labor organizations in the United States seeking to pass legislation for an eight-hour working day. The Fair Labor Standards Act was amended in 1938 to limit the workweek to 40 hours per week, which resulted in the Monday through Friday, five-day work week that is well known today, according to Business Insider.
Despite the passage of this law, many individuals are still compelled to work more than 40 hours per week. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 2014, the typical salaried employee put in around 49 hours each week. Furthermore, according to Vox, workers are still clocking more than 40 hours per week even during the COVID-19 epidemic. Many people feel that achieving a work-life balance is difficult because they are either working from home or doing a hybrid arrangement that includes both in-office and at-home work.
A four-hour workweek might be in your future
In the previous decade, businesses and nations all over the world have started to reconsider the five-day workweek. More than 2,500 Icelandic employees were involved in a research in 2015 and 2019 that introduced them to a four-day workweek rather than the usual five-day week. The study’s findings suggested that those who took part in it reported feeling less stress and a better work-life balance, while their employers claimed that their productivity remained the same or improved. Many other countries around the world, such as New Zealand, Singapore, and Spain, subsequently looked into mandating a four-day workweek as a result of these studies. According to The Guardian, several American businesses, including Bolt Electric and Panasonic Electronics, are already adopting the four-day workweek. Microsoft, which offers a four-day workweek for its workers in Japan, states that the four-day workweek has boosted output by 40%.
Although many individuals tout the advantages of switching to a four-day week in place of a five-day one, the United States government has yet to push through any legislation establishing such a schedule in the country.But this may soon change, as more effort is put into protecting employee rights. The Great Resignation, which has seen millions of Americans leave their jobs in the past year, and the current movement for worker rights that has necessitated wage increases in many states have the potential to push forward further workplace reform in the near future, according to Vox.
The Best Valentine’s Day Gifts for Every Stage of Your Relationship, According to a Matchmaker
Rori Sassoon, a celebrity matchmaker and relationship expert, reveals the ideal Valentine’s Day presents for every stage of your love affair.
Valentine’s Day might be a significant event, especially if you’re new to each other. If you’re stumped as to what to get your lover this year, we’ve got you covered. Rori Sassoon, a celebrity matchmaker, offered us her top V-Day present ideas and you’ll want to check them out.
“When shopping for a Valentine’s Day gift, keep in mind that the gift is as big of a deal as your partner places on gift giving,” Rori shared. “Maybe they’re a fan of quality time over a luxury gift. Take that gesture of love and perhaps put it toward a shared experience. Most importantly, while you might strive to be the ultimate gift giver, stay within your means. If you have anxiety about being able to afford something over budget, rethink how you can find a similar item at a price point you’re comfortable with.”
Choosing the ideal present for your spouse on Valentine’s Day may be a difficult task, depending on where you are in your relationship. After all, if you’re just getting acquainted with someone, the presents you give won’t be at the same level as they’d be after a year.
Rori offered some advice on the finest types of presents to get your partner for each stage of your relationship, and we compiled a list of pointers to assist you get started.
It is good to note to learn your partners love language to help know what is the best gift to give to your partner.
Just Started Dating
When you’re starting to date someone around Valentine’s Day, you want to make a point of demonstrating that you care without being too cheesy (if that’s the case). Give them a card and a trifle. You’re indicating that you’d like to continue seeing them without unintentionally making them feel overwhelmed. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. However, keep in mind that there’s no need to be excessive—you’re just getting to know this individual.
We’re Not Really Strangers Card Game – 100% Realism Expansion Pack
This 50-card expansion pack for the wildly popular We’re Not Really Strangers Card Game was created for first dates to the “What are we?” phase of the relationship. It comes with all kinds of questions you’ve been dying to ask like “When’s the last time you ghosted someone and why?” and “What was the first thing you you noticed about me when we met in person?” It’s a great way to get to know your new love interest.
You Be My Valentine Pop-Up Card from YouBeBeloved is a lovely expression of love.
Lovepop has a variety of fun pop-up Valentine’s Day cards that are perfect for newly dating couples like this “Whale you be my Valentine?” card. All the options are really fun and colorful. You’ll definitely put a smile on their face.
We’ll See Where This Goes – Casually Dating
If you’re in a relationship or anything more casual, avoid wrapping gifts. Instead, create the ambiance for a raunchy night — lingerie, candles, romantic music, and maybe a sex toy or two. On this lovey-dovey day, capitalize on your physical attraction to each other. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on someone you don’t know if there’s going to be a long-term connection with. Have fun!
Tease Or Tumble Tower Game
The Tease Or Tumble Tower Game, which is simply a more grown-up version of the same thing, may be played by adults. Each brick has a hot question or activity such as “Remove an article of clothing” or “Massage your spouse for one minute.”
Box Of Dares
This box of challenges was created for couples at all stages and is especially enjoyable for individuals in a “where do we go from here” scenario. It includes 100 cards with dares that range from flirty to erotic, along with a box of 100 stickers.
Dating for at Least Six Months
When you’ve been dating someone for six months, it’s rather obvious that you care about each other. You want to give a gift that demonstrates the kind of giver you are. Gift-giving is one of love languages, and you should attempt to combine equal measures of sexy, fun, and thoughtful into your present. Regardless of the item, keep quality first! Consider a private spa trip or a concert at six months. Shared events will just bring you closer together.
Amorous Arcana: Valentine’s Tarot Lesson & Reading
What’s in store for your relationship in the future? Let the cards be your guide. This Valentine’s Day tarot lesson and reading will stay with you and your spouse forever. You’ll have the opportunity to do a tarot reading while Holly, the instructor and reader, assists you in interpreting the cards. If you already have a tarot deck, the procedure alone costs $25. If you don’t have one, a package including a deck and guidebook can be purchased for $50.
Tickets to a Concert or Event
If you want to give them something they’ll like, get them a ticket to a game, concert, or other event. It will be a shared experience that both of you can enjoy.
Committed for at Least One Year
If you’ve been with someone for a year, there’s always that lovely bright ring to it. You’re likely in love, and you see a hopeful future together. Purchase an outfit together for Valentine’s Day on a shopping trip. If you have a partner who is clueless about fashion, assist them in finding some trendy shoes or a designer belt.
Custom Couple’s Sweatshirts with Embroidered Roman Numeral Date and Initials
If you’re looking for a fun Valentine’s Day present for your significant other, consider getting them a pair of matching sweatshirts from Etsy. You may personalize it to include your initials, a date, and a heart. The New Bedtime Storybook by Leachco has a selection of colors ranging from black to white, light pink, navy, and gold. It’s a must-have for couples that have been together for at least one year.
Vertical and Horizontal Spotify Code Couples Necklace
What’s the song that holds a special meaning for you and your significant other? This personalized Spotify code necklace will always keep it close to your heart. The two necklaces are made of copper, and they’re ideal for keeping your favorite song on repeat. They’ll contain the Spotify code to your song so you can quickly scan and play whenever you want. You have the option of receiving them in rose, gold, or silver.
When you’re in a long-term relationship, you’ve celebrated many Valentine’s Day occasions. You know what your partner wants at this point. If your partner likes jewelry, add something to their collection. If your partner can’t say no to a watch, give it to them. Regardless of the price tag on the present, make sure to include a thoughtful note. Words of encouragement might be the most appealing turn-on. Your fire never has to go out!
Personalized Dinner Spinner Date Night Idea Board
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it takes hours to figure out what to eat because one spouse is unable to make up his or her mind while the other is great with “whatever”? The Etsy-made personalized dinner spinner board can assist you with this. It’s completely alterable, and you can pick your own names and favorite restaurants. You’ll be wondering why you didn’t get it sooner once you have this!
Personalized Ticket To Love Box
If you enjoy the concept of love coupons, this outstanding personalized ticket box takes it to a new level. You may pick from 40 ticket themes ranging from “Free Back Rub” to “clothing-optional adventures,” and the box can be personalized with your partner’s name. It’s both amusing and distinctive.
The ideas are endless, but really the key is the more thoughtful the gift the better. As well as a gift that makes your partner feel like you really know them. Getting them a gift that is simple that you know is something related to what they like can be the meaningful.