There Is No Killer Use Case

Why simply starting with small ideas and projects can also lead to success

3 min readJul 20, 2022

Your inner perfectionist

Within most of us sleeps a perfectionist. Within some of us, this tendency is bigger, for others it is smaller. But at one point or the other, we have all experienced this moment, when we are just not satisfied with the result and want to make it extraordinarily good or — just perfect. It could be the first email in our new job to introduce ourselves to new colleagues, the detailed decoration of a friend’s self-made birthday cake, or the precise cleaning of the car wheel rims to make them shine. At some point, we probably all have been perfectionists. It is just about how we handle this tendency. If everybody would always give in to his or her inner perfectionist, nothing ever would get done. At some point, it is just ok to let go.

Man decorating a birthday cake

Finding the right point to jump off

Empirically, this is comparable to the law of diminishing returns.¹ Imagine that a new product is launched on the market. A high advertising budget is directly spent on this product and sales, therefore, rise sharply. If the advertising expenses increase even further, after a certain point the sales revenue will increase less strongly. When this critical point is reached, one should thoroughly evaluate whether the weak increase in sales justifies the additional extra expenditure on advertising materials.

This approach is also applicable to our everyday life. When do we reach the point when output no longer increases linearly with input? At what point do the car wheel rims stop getting shinier, no matter how long we keep cleaning? And are there initial hurdles that may be so big we don’t even put in work, time, and resources? Perhaps the 1,200-page book seems too extensive for us, so we don’t even begin to read it.

We also observe phenomena like these in the corporate environment. Many companies start internal projects, seek outside advice from consultancies, or set up departments to look for and develop new product innovations and business models. But often such projects end up in a drawer and are no longer considered or ever started.

Nothing less than the all-in-one solution

There is an explanation for it: Projects are discarded if they are not the ultimate ‘killer use case’. Just as we strive for perfectionism in our private lives, companies also seek the all-in-one solution: The new business model must be easy and cost-effective to implement, but also simple to integrate into the existing business field. In addition, it must be attractive to a large target group and generate promising sales revenues. As soon as one of these factors is doubted, the project is off the table and is rarely brought back to life from the drawer.

One plus one also makes two

We now ask ourselves, why does it always have to be the killer use case? Instead of becoming desperate in the search for the one ultimate business model, why not rely on several successful smaller business models and revenue streams? Of course, these can and must be successful. But each one does not have to be designed to be the backbone of an entire business. What’s important is that they generate a positive result, can be quickly taken to the streets and can be introduced to the market with little effort.

A selection of loose mosaics

To summarize: Before you take a business model apart, revise it and finetune it until it’s obsolete again — which is happening faster than ever today due to digitization and constant change — you should have the courage to put aside excessive perfectionism. What’s wrong with creating an ecosystem of many small but working use cases? The individual business models may not apply to every customer, but they can be applied specifically and targeted and thus be just as successful in the long term.