ayush pathak @ayshptk

about · weekends · feed

Starting

Published on · 509 words · 2 minutes long.

I’ve been talking to quite a lot of folks recently, and one thing I noticed among those who were starting out, was that almost everyone is looking for validation. It makes sense, given a lot of them caught the bug through twitter where everyone says validation is important (and it sure is!), but here’s the thing - if you’re starting, DO NOT VALIDATE.

Validation is cool and all, but have you tried this thing called building?

This piece of advice is something which almost every builder you admire would agree to, but somehow isn’t passed around much. 

Why not validate? There are two reasons:

  1. Starting out is already hard - committing time, gathering confidence, finding ideas, and in many cases even learning to code. You already have a lot of headaches, don’t increase it unnecessarily - it should be fun.
  2. The people you will reach out to right now, will most likely not be one of your target customers.

I’ll sell you this: Imagine spending multiple weeks hopping on calls with people who you admire and explaining your idea, gathering feedback, and worst-case scenario hearing the idea wouldn’t work and all your time is lost. Now imagine building an MVP in a couple of days and spending only about a week hopping on calls with people who may actually use your product and worst-case scenario - they tell you what they didn’t like or how they’d use it instead of the intended way.

You go to people you admire in the former because you’re scared whether it will work or not. You go to your potential users in the latter because you’re desperate for people to use it.

Building is a virus, and once you catch it, the more you build, the more you want to. And one significant part of being a builder is being desperate for people to use it and like it. The fact that you’ll spend lesser time on calls with an MVP might sound uncanny at first, but it becomes obvious as you start thinking of the efforts that’ll go helping the other person visualize it otherwise.

Now, not saying that the opposite is better - selling isn’t easy. Of course, the barrier of entry has reduced but the competition has increased proportionally too - But when you’re starting out, building is almost guaranteed to be a positive-sum game: you either succeed and learn or you only learn, and it keeps paying back forever. Validation, unfortunately, is often not.

Every product is different, and the logistics of validating is boring until you’re desperate for people to try it. But when you’re desperate, you’ll figure out a way, or worst-case scenario, you’ll learn.

Fun fact: your internal idea filtering improves as you build more.