User First, Startup then

Thoughts and take on starting a new Start-up- Post #1

When apps become a startup in itself, a lot is left behind in this new fast entrepreneur world. People tend to trust trends, mistaken as technology to base their ideas upon. Lately i came across a startup that sold potatoes with custom messages written on it. Why? because ‘potato’ is an internet sensation.

Over 200 startups closed in India last year. Thats half more than 2015. Most startups had an active product. They had reasonably good funding. Then why did they fail? 42% of startups fail because there is no need of their product in the market. And this goes by blindly because the founders strongly believe in their product. They fall in love with their concept even before they validate the idea.

That is why users need to come before you build your technology. Pushing a product before the actual market requirement requires planning. Besides, in such cases, success is unprecedented and very rare. (The reason why google glass is still in beta).

Lately, a startup approached us with a redesign project. Their drop off rates were high. Users never came back. Hence they deduced that it was time for improving the experience. Once we started talking, we realized that there was no need for the product as they sold it. Their Minimum Viable Product was focused on the wrong user-base. The users never got any value out of the product.

The product had potential. It could indeed revolutionize the industry. And hence we suggested the necessary changes in their UX strategy. But the backend code was up and running, the algorithm was made and hence they did not want to change their product. In short, we could not change the User eXperience & the project essentially became a UI Redesign project to improve the UX. (Yeah. That happened.)

It took them two years to develop the product and another year to understand that they need to have though about users first. And by the time they would realize the necessity of changing their values, another year would have passed.

Investing in a design strategy might not be a priority of an entrepreneur due to lack of finance, time or knowledge. But considering the waste of resources in redesigning your product, it would be beneficial if users could be considered before a product is developed. So spend time with the actual users. Understand their needs. If it does not support your hypothesis(Idea on which you base your startup), iterate the idea based on your learning. And always, User first and Startup then