Entrepreneurs Need Useful Solutions, Not Empty Promises
What I learned coding the MVP of the Teaching Startup web app
Here’s a major problem every new company faces: Useful is boring.
Now, there’s always the occasional success story that enters the market like a tornado, generating huge amounts of buzz while still leaving copious value in its wake. This rarity leads to the misconception that when a product is looking for traction, it needs to generate as much interest as it can as quickly as it can.
But history is littered with useless products and startups and entire product categories that flashed in their respective pans and quickly trended out of the mainstream. The Amazon Fire Phone. Theranos. 3D televisions. Those are just the ones you know about.
To achieve long-term success, an entrepreneur has to be chasing both short-term interest and long-term usefulness with every move they make.
Here’s the issue: It’s a lot harder to deliver a useful solution than it is to generate buzz. Useful without interest at least still has a fighting chance. Interest without usefulness is just waiting for the inevitable.
Everybody knows this, right?
Over the weekend, I finished standing up the MVP of the Teaching Startup web app. It’s answers for entrepreneurs at your fingertips.
Now, in accordance with what normally happens with me and code, I was only able to see the full shape of the app once I finished it. And when I took a step back and looked at the results, I noticed this:
It has some flash. I took out all the potential friction. I no-coded it in an effort to practice some of what I preach — you know, that part about how anyone can do the technical end if they take the time.
But one thing stood out above all the others: It was boring as shit.
This was by design, because it’s useful as hell.
I’ll be totally transparent and tell you that the level of boringness surprised me a little bit. The Teaching Startup product exists today as a paid newsletter, and all the thrill of seeing startup advice broken down into pretty, bite-sized, useful chunks gets totally squashed when you put all those answers into an app.
Will the web app generate enough interest to succeed as a product? I think so, but I’ll never find out for sure until the app hits the market. At least now I know that I’ve got the useful part down, in all its beautiful, boring glory.
The newsletter isn’t going away. And if you’d like to try it for free, sign up here with invite code USEFUL to get up to a 30-day free trial and then your first month for just $5. After all that, Teaching Startup, with a mission of affordable-for-everyone, is just $10 a month.
Or 0.05% of the cost of a traditional advisor. That’s pretty interesting, right?