If you haven't read Part I, you can do so here.
We're jumping right back into what I've managed to learn, and again, these are in no particular order.
Consume Industry Content More Than Entertainment
Netflix announced that it will double its original content in 2016. Will you take the bait and increase your time spent on binge watching shows?
We live in a world that is increasingly trying to target us as consumers. More and more tactics, more and more sensors to improve tactics, and more and more...distractions.
If you are truly set on turning your idea into a business, you need to consume industry content.
I knew absolutely nothing about post-harvest loss (the other co-founders already had a strong understanding on development and the global south) when KinoSol was becoming a reality.
What I did know, however, was that if I Googled "post-harvest loss," it would lead me to information on the matter. Something amazing happens when you jump into research. While learning, and if you manage to make it a few steps in, of course. Your mind begins to consider new scenarios for your product or service. KinoSol's idea of battling post-harvest loss, once industry content was being consumed, branched into additional opportunities and points of value. If one KinoSol unit can increase a farmer's yield, they'll then have enough produce to feed their family. Without the KinoSol unit, these families miss out on nutrients from fruit and vegetables, outside of peak seasons. All of a sudden, KinoSol is in the nutrition game. Where post-harvest loss is HUGE, I'm talking greater than 40%, KinoSol units are going to allow farmers to go from not enough produce, to more than enough. What do you do if you have more than enough of something, and it's valuable? All of a sudden, KinoSol units help create entrepreneurial opportunities for their users.
These results only occur after consuming hours of industry content. A successful evening really can be minus one Netflix hour and minus one NFL game away. I become more and more excited about consuming industry content whenever I think back to the aforementioned KinoSol process.
The Affordability Fallacy
Over this past year, I have had the opportunity to compete in and observe A LOT of pitch competitions--close to a dozen, across multiple states and in a few countries. While knowing your audience can go a long way for crafting your rhetoric, I've heard one mistake very, very often when it comes to answering judging questions referring to competition.
"We will do it cheaper."
Why do so many people fall into this trap of thinking they must be cheaper than their competition?
Unless you're talking a FREEMIUM model, you shouldn't be thinking of beating all of your competitors by price. Price alone will not be enough to sway the masses.
To make a product or service affordable is a great and necessary goal. I don't think you should start your focus here, and I know for certain that making your product or service affordable should never be answered with, "We will do it cheaper." You need to offer value to anyone that touches your product or service. Team members, to employees, to customers, to observers, all of equal value--the observer section is one that a lot of people forget about. Focus on value over price, and you'll be ahead of the majority of people pitching.
Accept Your Starting Limits
For me, I couldn't have defined "startup" if my life depended on it, at anytime in 2013.
I like to share my background before "startup" was in my vocabulary, whenever I meet new people. I simply say that my past involves poker and writing. People quickly dismiss poker as gambling, and they construct in their mind how I would probably play while sitting in a smoke-filled casino. That is very far from the truth. Over 90% of the poker that I have played, over three and half years of full-time, has been online. I have played over 40,000 online tournaments. In online poker prime, I was playing up to 40 tables of online poker at once. That's over 3,000 hands of poker, per hour. I never played fully above mid-stakes, and I never reached my full potential in poker. I'll blame that on the US Government for shutting it down, and I'll blame Ireland for being my reviving moment in finding passion in life again. So, when you're jumping into a new world, I suggest that you understand as much as you can about how that world works and your known limits.
To me, the world of startups is a relatively close cousin to the world of poker.
Calculated risk? YES
Embrace the chaos to make it through a day, week, and year? YES
Understand your audience and tell your best story, every step? YES
Don't ever, ever, ever think in the short term or without proper sample size? YES
^^This last one is one tough cookie.
Aside from poker, I managed to acquire one of the least valuable BAs out there, in that of English. Way back in 2012. Thankfully I was able to write A LOT (I'm starting to believe that the only way I become good at something is the "live & breathe it" approach). Somehow, and maybe because I am at some level of crazy, poker and writing really did prepare me well for the world I live in now; that of STARTUPS.
People that state, "Why are you working on so many startups and projects? You'll stretch yourself thin."
I know my limits. And if G.I. Joe taught me anything, knowing is half the battle.
...I really can't think of anything better than ending on G.I. Joe, so I'll stop here and continue with part III at a later date.
Thank you for your time in reading this post.
-Blog # 51-
STARTUPS - TRAVEL - EXPERIENCES