Work in progress …
Nobody can tell what you should do to be successful. But everybody opines on what not to do. Why would I be any different ?! So here goes …
Product : Shouldn’t be Rocket Science. Do YOU need it ? Will YOU buy it ? Are you are passionate about it? Does it have mass appeal* ? Is it B2B ? Or consumer ? It shouldn’t be seasonal
Ecosystem: How many parties have to buy-in for you to be successful ? Is it a widget you can sell online ? In which case it is just you and customer ? Or is it like Realtime Product Placement, where you need cooperation from the artists, the content owners, the cable companies and advertising agencies to pull this off ?! If this is your first satrap, stay clear from products that you can’t sell to one party without the co-operation of other parties
Proprietary & Unique ? Like Kevin O’Leary on Shark Tank says ‘why can’t the big guys do what you are doing and crush you like cockroaches’. By that logic, Dollar Shave Club couldn’t have become an unicorn, but it did. Air BNB doesn’t have anything proprietary either. Neither does Uber!
If you don’t have anything proprietary & unique, and the barriers to entry are small, then you need to execute fast and exit
Are there regulatory hurdles ? To be UC complaint is one thing, but being FDA Class 3 is a totally different ball game
Do you have what it takes ? If it is B2B – do you have a rolodex ? Do you schmooze ? Do you play golf ?
Capital: Raise capital soon. Bootstrapping is a pipe dream
Partner up: Partner up early. Equity is cheap when you start. Use it ! Recruit the right co-founder. If you don’t schmooze, find a salesman.
Be careful who you partner with ! What does he/she bring to the table ? Is he/she hungry ? Is he/she young (at heart), passionate and bubbling with energy ? And oh don’t forget a background check!
Making it: Don’t code yourself! You have better things to do … like raising capital
Competition: If there is no competition, your idea is stupid or you haven’t researched enough or you are looking away from the competition
or you are a genius. But that doesn’t mean anything. A better mouse trap can capture the big part of the existing market/ There are many products and entire domains that lack commercial products in some way. For example, they may be too expensive, clumsy and unusable
The Y Combinator playbook is written very well and offers a ton of advice, sometimes seemingly contrary to what I have written here