Nobody Cares About Your Startup

Paul Grahm says that startups take off "because the founders make them take off." I didn't understand this fully until I started selling this summer. Simply put... I learned that most people don't give a shit about you or your product. 

This scene from Night On Earth  ('91), captures how I felt selling this summer. A young taxi driver, Corky, picks up a casting director, Gina Snelling, at the LA airport. As the two ride to Gina's home in Beverly Hills, it is revealed that Gina is desperately looking for a young actress. She talks on the phone with her producer, who wants someone inexperienced and raw. Finally Gina realizes that the taxi driver would be a great candidate. Here is what happens: 

 

Corky, a poor taxi driver, turns down stardom. Infact, she doesn't even consider it. Corky is happy as a taxi driver and sees no need to change. 

Gina is dumbstruck - how could anyone turn down being a movie star? 

"Yeah, but Im a cab driver," says Corky, "this is what I do."  

You have a tool that everyone needs? You can save people money? You can solve a pain point? Great! Good for you! But just know that most people don't care. Or they don't have the energy to adopt your technology. Or they are happy how they are.  

This summer while I was selling, a handful of people a handful of people fell in love with our product right off the bat - but that was only a handful of people. Enough to validate the idea, but not enough to make my equity worth anything. 

I realized that most people won't bang on your door and ask for your new product. Infact, you can give most people a killer pitch - and they still won't care. This doesn't necessarily mean your product sucks, it just means that people don't like change. 

Not everyone wants to be a movie star. Or at least, not right away.