Stuff you can't teach

We're currently on a mini-tour giving a talk ("How not to start a startup") where we try to be self-deprecating and talk about the (many) mistakes we've made along the Droplet journey of the last 4 years.

After the talks I've ended up talking to lots of people - mostly other founders in the early stages of their startups - who excitedly tell me what they're doing.

What they're doing is often a variation of the mistakes we've made.

Some of these hard-learned, painful and often expensive lessons include;

  • Build the most basic (MVP) version of your product you can to test the market and discover users' needs - before you spend a lot of money and time building the wrong thing
  • Avoid the sunk cost fallacy: no matter how hard and how long you've worked on something - you have to be prepared to throw it all away
  • Don't spend money on advertising until you know users actually want to use your product


It occurred to me that you can't teach this stuff.

You can preach and evangelise, you can show real-world examples, you can give brutal and frank advice. It will all be ignored, just like we ignored it.

This is the stuff you can't teach: you have to learn these lessons for yourself.


Will Grant: UX/UI expert, Product guy, Startup co-founder & CTO - available for hire. Contact me.