Pet Peeves – Part One

It’s a little early in my venture career to become jaded, but I have seen a couple of things that merely from repetition have started to get under my skin.  So think of this blog as not only my insight, but also a form of therapy for me.

My biggest pet peeve recently is listening to an entrepreneur say, “We are not worried about a business model, we just want to build some cool technology and we will figure out how to monetize it later.”

99 percent of the time that is wrong.  Not every cool thing is monetizable.  Some cool things might be, but assuming any particular one cool thing is, could be a huge waste of time an energy.

Here’s how I would assess the possibility of success:

  1. Does the technology in question provide real value?  Is it something that once people get it in their hands, they don’t know how they lived without it.  Perfect example: smart phone.  If someone took away my smart phone, I would be genuinely pissed off. On the other hand if you took away my snowboard trail map app, I would probably be able to survive through the day.
  2. Is there a market and is it big enough? There are an awful lot of solutions chasing problems.  Sometimes a piece of technology finds a problem, sometimes it doesn’t.  If the entrepreneur doesn’t know if there is a market, I sure don’t want to waste the energy trying to figure it out.  And even if there is a market, if it not a suitably big market, it is not worth the investment.  So if this ‘cool technology’ is going after the ‘fart noise’ market, chances are it’s not a big enough TAM to generate interest.
  3. Can the market be penetrated in a way that people can accept?  If I have to jump through hoops to adopt this technology, chances are I won’t do it.  If I have to rip and replace old technology, chance are I won’t do it.  If I have to learn a drastically new behavior, chances are I won’t do it.  If the app is in the cloud – okay.  If it is easily downloadable – okay.  If it is not time consuming – okay.

That’s it.  Common sense.  Is there value? Is there a market? Can it be delivered?  And coolness… nowhere to be found.

Expect more recent peeves in the near future.