What Startups Really Sell
I see hundreds of startup pitches every year. I am constantly evaluating companies, new incumbents and my competition. I live and breathe the art of business, and if there’s one thing I see emerging, it’s that convenience is king.
In a marketplace of distraction, the company’s, products and services that can save you TIME, are going to win. That is why Amazon is a market leader. That is why Prime Now wins. They have simplified the process of buying and selling. They have saved you enormous amounts of time.
It’s literally universal. AI and machine learning which is the big buzz word of the moment, is an important technology because it saves you time. It can learn and automate processes which would have taken much longer.
Virtual assistants save you time. Google Now and Siri save you time. Text messages save you time. Double clicking on a photo to like it and acknowledge someone saves you time. Emoji’s save you time. Misspelling something on purpose and having auto-correct saves you time. Abbreviations save you time.
So this is important because it’s the one commodity you can’t get more of. No matter where you are or what your economic situation is, you will never have more time. It’s why we as humans will do anything to purchase it. It’s why we choose the $24 Uber instead of walking. It’s why we pay $7 extra for delivery. It’s why we pay $500 to fly instead of drive. It’s all about time.
So I have been hosting a number of dinners lately with some close friends and powerful entrepreneurs and executives and it’s a conversation I have been having a lot. Convenience is king. If you can simplify a current market, product or experience, you have a real opportunity to provide value to the end consumer.
No one wants complexity layered upon their daily life. No one cares about specifications and numbers and horsepower anymore. People literally want cars to drive themselves!! They want freedom and simplicity and SPEED.
It’s one of the biggest market advantages you can possibly create. Uber saves you TIME. Amazon saves you TIME. GrubHub and Seamless and Doordash save you TIME. It’s why they’ve won.
So if you’re startup or business operating in the CPG or consumer space, or you are launching a new company, product or service, you should be considering how you can save people time. How does your product, your business, or you service expedite a market experience that used to be tedious and tiresome for all?
If you can do this, and execute, you are going to have a good chance.
It’s the same thesis around why I’m so bullish on voice. Audio saves you time. Unlike video you can consume multiple forms of media at once.
Hence audio is “convenience.”
With the ever increasing value of speed, I am starting to see consumers replace entertainment (music) with information (podcasting) to get ahead. The proof is in the behavior.
We would rather check our email while listening to the latest episode of Serial or take notes while listening to music. With video you can’t do both. It takes all of your attention to consume that content the second it starts.
The same goes for Alexa skills. The novelty of being able to use natural language to communicate with your device is going to huge. Google just released a statistic that one in five mobile search queries are through voice.
I mean, if you’re a 4 year old that knows how to search for the videos you want on Youtube Kids.. Why ever learn to read? ;) ;)
It’s just the truth. So if you are trying to create a competitive advantage, you should really start thinking about SPEED and CONVENIENCE as the two things that will help you succeed.
And more importantly, make sure the end consumer perceives that additional convenience or speed you provide. Too many people focus on shipping a technical iteration or adding features to a product that only complicates the experience.
I just believe a lot of products spend too much time thinking about whether or not their shaving razor handle is 5.25 inches or 5.325 instead focusing on the end consumer which was won by convenience and companies like Dollar Shave.
And that’s really it. I hope this post provides some value. It’s been on my mind for a while.