I was discussing consumer products with a friend recently. He is an ex founder and is planning to startup again. We talked about the gap between what the founders think users want and what users actually end up using the product for.
What the founder thinks: I will create the best knowledge sharing platform in the world. People will come to learn, seek mentors. Interesting discussions will happen. It will become the repository of world knowledge.
What happens instead: People are more interested in the best photos of Deepika Padukone instead.
What the founder thinks: I will create the best live audio platform in the world. People will come and discuss great ideas. You will feel like you are in the same room as all these famous people who will come to share their learnings.
What happens instead: People create rooms where they moan for an hour.
Anyone who is a “startup enthusiast” starts with an idea around career opportunities for tier 3 college students. It is as cliched as a designer creating a calendar app for their portfolio.
They want to connect these students to “mentors”. I swear connecting to mentors was the most popular idea in 2010 when I was a college student myself. And it is still a popular idea. There is a reason no successful company has come out of it.
We think that college students spend their days trying to connect to their dream mentor, looking for career opportunities.
While the truth is that they probably play pubg. And then spend their time on Quora looking at photos of Deepika Padukone.
Hence I recommend everyone to read this book: The mom test.
You before reading the Mom test: Hey, would you want a mentor? Yes. Awesome, let me build a platform. After Mom test: Let’s ask the students about how they are spending their days instead. Understanding behavior is important.
Why? Behavior change does not happen as easily as you think as a founder. If someone is not already spending hours hustling on Linkedin, trying to find a mentor, they probably won’t come to your platform to do the same.