In Great by Choice, the most recent book by famed author Jim Collins, he talks about 10x companies (companies that outperform the market by 10x) and how they do a better job shooting bullets, as opposed to cannonballs, for new opportunities. Think about the cost of bullets and guns vs the cost of cannonballs and cannons — bullets are significantly cheaper than cannonballs.
Most startups come up with a new product idea and fire a giant cannonball at it without knowing if they are pointing in the right direction and actually have a target. Instead, they should use bullets and iterate quickly to try and find the target. Once the target has been squarely hit by the bullet, doubling down and loading the resources to fire the cannonball at the same target becomes a much more effective strategy.
Startups should shoot bullets to find a cannonball opportunity. This is another way of saying start with a minimum viable product and iterate quickly via customer driven development — a core part of the lean startup movement. The next time a startup builds a full product and launches it with significant resources, and it doesn’t work out, think to yourself that they should have fired bullets until they hit the target, instead of lobbing a cannonball out there right off the bat.
What else? What do you think about startups shooting bullets to find a cannonball opportunity?