Wayne Gretzy, the famous ice hockey player, said ‘a good player knows where the puck is, a great player knows where the puck is going to be’.
For the sake of this blog entry, you can think of customers as the puck.
A great Founder has a point of view of where the world is going… I don’t mean the whole world, I mean a subset of the world. And when I say a subset of the world, I really mean a subset of customers.
To put it more elegantly; A great Founder has a point of view of where a subset of customers will be in the future.
A great Founder sees a problem and is iterating on a solution to it. The chances are the customers don’t realise they have the problem yet but when they discover the solution they can’t imagine how they survived without it.
I see so many Founders trying to build companies where the customers already are and heaps of other companies are already trying to service them. Often they end up competing on nuanced irrelevant features or worse they compete on price. Normally this means the value is out of that subset of customers, for now anyway.
I think it’s really hard to make lots of money if you aim for where the customers already are. I think you’re better off having a point of view on where you think a subset of customers are going to be and pitch your tent there.