One thing I have always observed to be true is that the most successful people can do two things exceedingly well:
- Know the small amount of things that are truly important.
- Have an unrelenting focus on those things.
I believe this applies regardless of profession, job, relationships… well, it applies everywhere.
Now why is this? There is a lot of “sageness” in the phrase, “time is money.” Worded another way, I think time is the most important currency. Period. The good news about this is that we are all on a level playing field. The rich and privileged cannot buy more time – it is finite. The bad news is that most of us are very bad at optimizing our use of time.
Let me bring this time theme back to the title of the post. Why Love and Magic?
I am suggesting that love and magic are the most important things to focus on in the second phase of any startup. From everything I am reading, and everything my instincts tell me anyway, this is the most important phase too!
The first phase is coming up with the idea. The idea that is startup worthy. The idea associated with a large market opportunity. The idea that you can’t let go of… the one that you need to tackle yourself. The thing about this phase is that it can form over a long period of time. There is no rush. Don’t quit your day job until you have this idea that only you can address.
The second phase is building the product that satisfies the problem behind the idea. This is also when you should go “all in” on your startup. During this phase, you have to remember that creating a product that people love is the primary goal. In order for people to love it, they have to have that moment that makes them think, “that was magic!” This phase takes focus. It takes humility and patience. It takes an incredible amount of time talking to people who are using early versions of your product. It is all-encompassing.
Does this mean that nothing else is important before getting to a product people love? Yeah, pretty much. You do need enough money and people to buy the time and build the product, but otherwise, most things are just distractions.
Raising money. Much easier when you have a product people love and the traction data that goes with it. How can people not invest?
Scaling a team. Would you rather join a team with an awesome new product or take the risk on someone else’s idea?
Marketing and positioning. A great tag line and positioning statement are not going to convince people to use a bad product. On the flip side, the reviews from users of great products give amazing positioning statements!
User acquisition and retention. Does it make sense to spend a lot of money on advertising, social media, and search engine optimization or would it be better to build a product that users felt compelled to tell their friends about?
I will stop beating this horse.
One last line on Love and Magic. It is also the best way to evaluate the competition. If you are entering a space against a competitor who people love, wait for a different idea and get back to phase one. If you don’t, stay focused and ignore the noise.
Which reminds me. I have been writing this post for much too long.
Back to the task of finding love and magic.
’til next time… Kirk, out!