Founders, We Need To Talk About Your ‘Baby’

On the mental delusion preventing new product success

You have an amazing idea. You think through it, craft it, mould it, and nurture it. It gets more and more beautiful (in your mind) as you gestate this wonderful thing.

You finally birth this new precious thing (in some prototyped/beta/MVP way) and bring it into the world.

It feels like this.

Watch the GIF

With a baby this cute, obviously your only job is to love it. To do anything you can possibly dream of to protect it from any and all threats.

This is where you are mistaken dear startup founders.

You do not have a beautiful baby. You do not even have an ugly baby. In fact you do not even have a baby.

This is what you have…

You know you want to watch this.

You have something that is possessed.

Your job is not to protect, it’s to perform an exorcism (or many).

You must exorcise all the assumptions, beliefs, intuitions and biases that you invariably implanted in this thing. And if you can’t, it might just be best to put it out of its misery (because it’s not your baby remember!)

If this imagery is too disturbing, perhaps Ash Maurya puts it plainer in this great piece about why products fail:

“This is the Innovator’s Bias that causes us to fall in love with our solution and makes “bringing our baby to life” our sole mission.”

If you’re an early stage founder and you’re ‘bringing your baby to life’, you really might want to pause and reflect. One day you might well have the prettiest baby in the whole world, but in the early days, you really need a crucifix (or sword) close-to-hand.


Justin McMurray is the co-founder of Early Days, a digital venture studio in Sydney. Subscribe to this Medium publication for more stories (less the awful imagery).