Validate Before You Execute

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The number of ideas that have been pitched to me over the years is staggering. I have been asked to do:

  • A panic button for Facebook
  • Online second hand trading places for various niches
  • Location tracking stuff
  • Many more I don’t even remember

It’s not just family, friends and colleagues but I am guilty of it myself. I’ve started many side projects with the approach of

I’ll build it and they will come.

I’ve been coding many weekends while I could have (and should have) spent time with my family.

Last March I turned 40 and if that number does nothing else, it drives the point home that our time on this planet is limited and it should not be wasted. Maybe turning forty also makes you write cheesy stuff.

Some years ago, Eric Reis wrote what some refer to as “The Bible for budding entrepreneurs”, The Lean Startup. It is a great book describing strategies and tactics on how to rigorously test business ideas while wasting the minimum amount of effort coding. Bascially if you write a software for two years without talking to anyone, you’re doing it wrong.

In the beginning, the book talks about what you can do to validate your business idea. I now deeply believe, not only because of the book but also from personal experience, that you should only start writing code after you’ve exhausted all other options.

It seems counter intuitive for a coder to say this but you should do what you can to find out if people will buy your thing before writing any code. This includes:

  • Simply ask people if they would buy it (yep, some entrepreneurs don’t even do that)
  • Run surveys on Google
  • Set up a kickstarter. These days you can sell your stuff before you’ve even made it. I can’t think of a better way to validate an idea.
  • Get seed funding.
  • Many more, see The Lean Startup by Eric Reis and also the excellent Four Hour Work Week By Tim Ferris.

So for myself, I don’t intend to do another side project without validation.

If you are a funded entrepreneur and need help to build your Minimum Viable Product, get in touch. However, I may ask you about validation.

Thomas Glaser


About me

Web & Mobile Engineer, Founder, Lean Startup Enthusiast.

tk glaser consulting

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