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> "Is it the philosophy that the customer doesn’t know better and you have to tell them what they need"

Yes and no. One of the only people to have ever done that successfully that I know of was Steve Jobs, and that's what made him a one-of-a-kind genius billionaire. Believing you can do the same will cause your wheels to spin endlessly without going anywhere. It's pure hubris.

On the flip side, it certainly can help to have some insight, intuition, or flash of inspiration for a product or service. When you have the idea, then you have a hypothesis. Don't treat a hypothesis like a fact! This is where people make the biggest mistake.

Your goal is then to find evidence related to the idea. The evidence will tell you whether the hypothesis has potential or whether it's completely bogus.

Two big places you can find evidence: competitors and customers.

If there are already competitors in your field, that's a big piece of evidence that your idea has merit. If there are no competitors, that doesn't necessarily mean that you don't have a chance, but definitely take it as a sign that there's probably a good reason there's nobody else doing it.

If you can find customers, it's nearly proof that you're onto something. Just be cautious because sometimes people will say they like your idea and genuinely believe to themselves that they would pay for it but then actually not in reality.

> "How do you sell first?"

The biggest way that I know of is basically just communicating with people. Find a way to get someone on the phone or get them to open your email or even see them in person, and then pitch your idea to them.

If you're selling a service then it isn't too difficult because you can just verbalize the service and gauge their response. When they like your idea it will be very obvious because they will get excited. If they're not excited then you're talking to the wrong market or your idea/hypothesis needs to be reworked.

If you're selling a product it's essentially the same, but you may need some simple mockups/pictures just to help communicate the idea. You really do not need a full fledged working product or even an "MVP" for this.

The concept of an "MVP" is a huge source of confusion because it assumes you know what "minimally viable" even means. How can you build an MVP when you have no idea what to consider "minimally viable?" The MV part of MVP completely depends on your customer. No customer, no MVP. (This may not quite apply if you're building something specifically to fulfill a need that you have.)

Hope this helps!

By the way, please take this with a grain of salt. This is my personal experience from a couple of failed startups and zero successful startups. I'm clearly not an expert.

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