Web Lessons 1: No Battle Plan Survives Contact With The Enemy — Fallibility
One of the most important things we can learn about ourselves is fallibility. George Soros, the billionaire investor, talks about fallibility and reflexivity and his theories on how they made him a billionaire.
Fallibility is a big word, and we should be careful of big words in all things web, because the average reading age in the USA is 14 years old.
Fallibility describes the measure of how full of shit our view of the world is in comparison to the reality at large. If someone is fallible, then their understanding of the world is very flawed.
When you’re building a venture, your conception of the world and the market is almost always flawed. There’s very few people who have clarity of mind in thinking about a market. It’s hard. A market for anything is monstrously big and complex.
The great products and companies do quite a bit of iteration, because understanding a market is challenging.
Apple didn’t get all its products right, neither did Bose. The list goes on and on for that matter.
In web venture building, one of the simplest ways to counter our own fallibility is to do 4 things iteratively:
- Gather a list of potential customers and their emails + phone numbers.
- Put up a landing page of your idea.
- Send it out to as many people who are relevant customers as possible.
- Hear their feedback and iterate.
I cannot think of a single web business that the above isn’t relevant for. There’s a lot of technology that goes into each of the previous items.
Gathering List of Leads
There are over 1000 sales and marketing automation technology companies and an entire industry of people who have the sole job of gathering lead lists.
There’s hundreds of different tools and workflows you can do to build a website.
Hitting up customers
The process of hitting up customers properly is a whole art and science. A simple browsing of GrowthHackers will show you this.
Listening to Feedback
Being a good listener is impossibly difficult. The average human attention span is about 7–12 seconds. Hawthorne effect pervades makes the truth elusive. Hawthorne effect the alteration of behavior by the subjects of a study due to their awareness of being observed. This confounds our search for truth when we look for a problem.
Originally published at engineersf.com on October 15, 2016.