Are you startup material?

Imagine you are the owner of an office building and you have tenants. Your tenants complain that the elevator is old and slow. They have to wait a lot. Several tenants are threatening to break their leases if you don’t fix the problem.
When asked, most people quickly recommend to replace the lift or fix the elevator. These are the type of the people who are corporate employees. They are used to bring the first available option to the table.
However, when the problem is presented to startup employees they present a much more cost effective solutions such as: Make the wait entertaining by adding an entertainment in the elevator or put up mirrors next to the elevator. Putting up mirrors to the elevator has proved wonderfully effective in reducing complaints, because people tend to lose track of time when given something utterly fascinating to look at — namely, themselves.

This elevator problem is from Harvard Business Review. I adjusted a bit to explain the startup point of view to problems. If you work at a startup you have to see through the real problem. In the case above, the problem is not “the elevator is slow” it is “the wait is boring”. Usually people who work at big corporations would not see the real problem and they would try to identify straight forward solutions like “change the elevator”.

However if you work at a startup it is a totally different story. You need to see the real problem to bring the most effective solution. Your budget is limited. You cannot waste your money with the first solution you come up with.

You don’t only need to think out of the box, you also have to see the real solutions through problems.

Do you think you could?