Stop Building and Start Learning

Flashpoint (TV series)
Image via Wikipedia

Recently, one of the Flashpoint teams was telling me that their most recent revelation was that they need to stop building and start learning. Think about it: stop building and start learning. Most startups that are just getting started would benefit from this advice. Human nature, especially for entrepreneurs, is to think you know what the market needs, and start building something without external input.

Instead of spending time building the product, startups are better off learning what the market needs and what potential customers want — stop building and start learning. Unfortunately, learning takes more effort and energy because you have to get out there and talk to people. Finding the right people to talk with, and getting rejected along the way, isn’t as fun as brainstorming features on a whiteboard or hacking out some code. Instant gratification it isn’t.

The next startup idea you have, resist the urge to start building the prototype and instead use that energy to talk to potential customers. Learn first then build second. It’ll actually save you time in the long run by focusing the startup on the core functionality and avoiding extraneous features.

What else? What are your thoughts on stop building and start learning?

One thought on “Stop Building and Start Learning

  1. Great post – can’t agree more. I do user experience design and information architecture, increasingly the most interesting and important work we do is research, both quantitative and qualitative. Having worked on a number of startups I can say without question the ones that have succeeded wildly were the ones that did and continually learned from their research efforts – those that failed were the ones that thought they know what the market needed or wanted and blindly built based on their presumptions.

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