Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What lessons can be learned from this(Napster) experience?

Never get too far ahead of the market. Creating new markets, new business models, and value propositions is very difficult and takes lots of time and money. Pioneers are usually unsuccessful, the fast followers make most of the money.
Understand who your customer is, what problem you solve, and how much they are willing to pay for it. Sounds simple enough but you would be surprised how many start-ups get excited about their technology innovations and forget about the basic business proposition.

Never start a business focused on solving a big company’s problem. They don’t know they have a problem…and they are probably right. That is how they got to be so big in the first place. The record labels didn’t know they had a digital distribution problem and were not interested in our solution to it.

Test your assumptions before spending lots of money. Interview your potential customers. Understand what their top 10 problems are. Don’t try to convince them that you have a solution to a problem they don’t know they have. Take a survey of 100 potential customers. Ask them to list their top 10 problems, without prompting from you. If you don’t see your problem area listed…move on to another problem.

Good luck on your search for The Next Big Thing!

- Don Dodge


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