Noone cares about your startup, except you

If you build it, they won’t come — It’s more true now than ever before. Every day we’re bombarded with requests for our time, attention and money, and another startup is exactly that — another startup. A million came before it and a million will come after it. Most will fail. Who cares about another one?

So what makes us any different and why should anyone care? It’s a question I’ve grappled with since the day we started talking seriously about our idea. I’ve had enough projects fail over the years to realise how easily you can become delusional about the greatness of your idea, never stopping to ask the world if it’s something they’d actually want to use.

Rhett Butler does not care about your startup.

Never mind what others are doing — a startup’s greatest competition is indifference and status quo. I know my own tolerance is extremely low when I come across an app or SaaS website (software-as-a-service) for the first time. If I don’t “get it” within about one minute or obstacles are in the way of getting started (e.g. register to trial) then I’m likely to abandon any curiosity I have and move on. If I can’t quickly understand its reason for existence or how it could solve a problem I have, then it’s of little use and I’m a lost opportunity.

I’ll explore these ideas further in a future post, but for now it forms a basis for working out what exactly is required to get new users quickly using our product, and loving it.

We need a target number of users to reach to determine if we have a product people actually want to use — and I don’t mean a number of people who tried it once and moved on; I’m talking about active users who are invested in the product, who would cry foul if you took it away from them. That’s the ultimate test. From there, word-of-mouth will spread and that number should grow exponentially.

So what would be a great benchmark number? One thousand? One hundred thousand? One million? The number must be realistic, achievable and inspiring.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the day we acquire our very first customer. From there’ll we’ll have the perfect opportunity to engage with a real user and learn what we need to do next to make the product something they can’t live without.