It is a marathon and not a sprint

Critics and your startup

Seth Godin is one of my favorite bloggers. I read his posts daily. His writing is very concise and eloquently. I wish I could be as good as him in writing down my own thoughts and thinking. Today, he wrote about the trap of early feedback.

He writes:

“If you’ve created something that will delight and astound 10% of the marketplace, there’s a 90% chance that the first person who encounters your work will dislike it. He might even hate it. In fact, if you do the math, you’ll see that there’s more than a 70% chance that the first THREE people will hate it. And if you give up then, you’ve just walked away from serving the people you set out to serve.”

There is a lot of truth in that.

If you are fundraising or trying to sell your product (idea) and talking to your first investors or prospective customers, there is a good chance they will not receptive to your idea. They might even tell you it is the worst idea ever and that it will never work.

You need a thick skin and perseverance to keep going and make your dream come alive. It is good to remember that is normal and it is out of the ordinary when the first people you speak to love your idea. You might have struck gold or it is just an anomaly.

At the same time you ask yourself all the time am I beating a dead horse or is this truly a good idea?

There is no easy answer to this question. The one thing I keep in mind is to set realistic goals on how many people you need to approach before you can get someone to invest or buy your product. Setting realistic and maybe even somewhat ambitious goals early on helps you to manage the expectations.

At the end of the day, you want to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you did everything you could to make it come life. It requires perseverance and it is exhausting, you need to set an ambitious pole into the ground to motivate yourself to try again.

It is often a marathon and not a sprint. And remember, first they ignore you.

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