We are solutions’ hunter. Lean startup mentality

Too many startups are solutions looking for problems. It is necessary to offer transformations at the aim to improve social status


People will treat you the way you look. It’s a very important thing to know here in Silicon Valley. In Italy you’d probably be less casual and more held back – while here you don’t have to stress too much about what you’re wearing to an entrepreneurs’ cocktail. This is another of Charles Versaggi’s precious tidbits.
Before going to any networking event, you’d better do your homework. Who’s who? Who do I want to talk to? What’s their background? Never forget to browse the attendee list and to prepare a networking strategy.

It’s lean methodology’s turn again. The focus is to test your vision by validating how consumers behave. You often see startups that are just solutions looking for a problem to solve; they just won’t be able to find the right product/market fit. In marketing, one of the most difficult questions to answer is about your positioning statement. Too often you define it based on how it makes it easier for you to sell the product, but the reality is you need to make it easier for people to buy it! The brand is never really yours, it’s the market that decides what to do with it. Sure, you can educate your users, as the Latin origin of this verb suggests. Educere, take someone out and towards your brand idea.

As experiential marketing always said: people do not buy brands, products or services, they buy transformations. People buy solutions that enable them to evolve from status A to status B, that’s why every startup has to fully understand which valuable transformation they want to offer.

It takes a couple of days here to realize you know nothing, or that what you know is not enough. People don’t know what their needs and desires are. They don’t know what they want and it’s naturally difficult to come up with a good startup idea. Nonetheless, you have to find a way to explore what you don’t know you do not know. You read that right. It’s difficult, yes, but still possible.

It reminds me of that Buddhist tale about blind men not realizing there’s an elephant in their room. Some touch its leg, some its tail, others its tusk: the truth is so relative and dispersed in the world that it’s hard to focus on the problem in front of you. Italians have Pirandello on their side: let’s remember about his “far away philosophy”. You don’t have to ask people what they want, but measure what they do. Look at how their problems are currently solved by the competition today. Just like that, you will get a big picture that could make you exclaim Eureka.

This is what lean analysis suggests: understand the problem, define a solution, validate it qualitatively and verify it by the numbers. What I learned today, though, is that here Lean Startup is not a book: It’s the air you breathe. Are fish aware about being surrounded by water?

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