possibilities paralysis

Adversity caused by limited options isn’t necessarily a bad thing. While having (too) many options may seem desirable. It’s not always the case.

Surely, by now, many are familiar with the paradox of choice or “choice overload” principle. Presenting consumers with many options doesn’t necessarily boost sales, quite the contrary. As studied by Sheena Iyengar from Columbia – and Mark Lepper from Stanford University.

An overfunded company has the luxury to try a couple of things simultaneously. Launch a bunch of new features, enter a new market segment, and so on. This can lead to possibilities paralysis.

A company that is underfunded, on the other hand, doesn’t have that same luxury. Arguably, in the absence of that luxury, focus increases. It’s like a hit or miss situation. Probably the reason why Amazon’s motto is: it’s always day one. This isn’t a plea for deliberately underfunding your company. Being chronically underfunded is expert-level adversity and can take the “living soul” out of a company.

Maybe entrepreneurs are sadomasochistic in a weird way. Sometimes, actively looking for adversity can be a good thing. Starting a company isn’t: maybe I’ll do some of this, and then some of that, and maybe some of this as well.

Starting a company is do or die.

own medicine

You’ve built and launched a (very early) mvp (minimum viable product), but nobody seems as excited about it as you do. Should you stop there? Does that mean there is no interest in the market for the idea your conjuring up? Maybe, maybe not. You won’t know for sure until you can find like-minded people to either prove your point or disprove it. In any case, ship as early as possible to maximize learning opportunities.

We shouldn’t discount our passion. There is a chance that, at first, nobody else seems as enthusiastic about your product — even though it’s still in its prototype phase — other than you.

That passion, feeling that your prototype could change the world, or at least create added value, once finished, not just for you but for a large audience, that’s pure rocket fuel. Leverage the feeling. That energy will get you in front of the right people and help you onboard other potential customers.

If you seem to be alone in loving your mvp at first, do not get discouraged. Sometimes, these things take time. Others will follow. Use that positive energy to find like-minded individuals.