Big idea? Expect a dark period, and don’t pivot out of it

From Ev Williams:

Any big idea is going to take a while to get there… by definition if it’s big and no one has done it before it’s not going to be 1, 2, 3 – we got it. There is going to be a dark period in there because you don’t know what the key to get in there is.

On which Antony Kuzmicich comments:

Lean startups often rapidly reach a local-maximum product which does not deliver product/market fit. They give up on their original idea and pivot – missing out on a massive opportunity. Pivoting will allow the startup to explore a different space, but they’re just as likely to produce a local-maximum product there and repeat the process.

If we believe in our ideas we should be prepared to properly explore the spaces they inhabit before giving up on them.

2 thoughts on “Big idea? Expect a dark period, and don’t pivot out of it

  1. Built into the MVP approach is the assumption that most upside will be captured by “basically doing it”, and getting it perfect will deliver only marginal gains. So if MVP failed – drop it and pick a new approach.

    This can sometimes be wrong – we have seen examples where “basically doing it” delivers little upside, but getting it perfect brings massive rewards.

    There’s a lot of guesswork/intuition deciding when it’s worth doubling down on a “failed” idea that could work if done better. And when that’s just persisting in the face of contrary evidence. Data can help but it still leaves much room for human judgement.

  2. Pingback: A framework for growth hacking using Job To Be Done | A Founder's Notebook

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