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4 Apr

The One Thing.

You’re thinking about launching your own startup. You think it can grow really big one day as it is built on a time-tested premise; a common customer problem rooted in a fundamental behavioural pattern. But for it to grow big one day and match your vision, you have to first get it off the ground.

And you get intimidated by all the things you do not have yet. No brand, no distribution, no customers, no SEO, no strategy, no NPS…

The weight of all the things you do not have is crushing. How do you rise above it?

But no startup has it when it is just getting started. So how do they solve these problems? Do they solve them all together?

Well, no.

Think about the iPhone. When it launched, it did not have all the features or horsepower it has today. And it had a load of issues when it first launched, and way less reliable than a Nokia.

Then why did it take off the way it did?

It’s because it did ONE THING really, really well.

For the first time, you could actually browse the internet and its websites in great fidelity on a phone. You could send emails. It was exciting for the time.

Think about CRED when it launched. It wasn’t a super-app when it launched. It didn’t have a full-fledged product marketplace, it didn’t have CRED mint, it didn’t have CRED rent pay, and it didn’t have the fancy slot machines.

No, all it did was have a simple premise:

Pay your credit card bills to earn rewards.

And it executed the credit card bill payment flow extremely well, with a blazing fast execution of the UPI payment protocol, along with a groundbreaking UI. For the first time, people started saying that they actually liked looking at all their credit cards in the CRED app instead of their wallet!

On the Google Play Store, the app had 4.5+ star reviews right off the bat.

Simply because they made credit card bill payment extremely easy. The rewards, in my estimation, were just a bonus. I would argue that a lot of people would still use CRED to pay their bills even if they didn’t offer a single reward.

All great startups follow this universal pattern. They start with the “One Thing.” They solve a pressing problem in such a good way that it is enough for the customers to overlook their other deficiencies as a product.

Focusing on the “one thing” also allows them to leverage word-of-mouth to its maximum. It’s easy for their customers to sell the app to their friends, because the value proposition is so simple, so important, and so well executed.

I know it is tempting to attack all the things you lack at once and wish to get rid of them in one fell swoop, but it only leads to a lack of focus, a haphazard strategy, followed by crappy execution.

You do not need to get all of them right. You just need to focus on what will get a customer to use your product and keep using it. All the rest flows from there.

And you will find out that if you manage to get that “one thing” right, it also solves many other problems together along with it.

Hence, focus on the IKIGAI of the problem. Start with:

The thing your customers would love to have

x The thing you are extraordinarily capable of executing

x The thing that will sow the seed for your larger vision

x The thing that your product will be known for, if nothing else

= A killer combination for getting your product off the ground.

If you get this right, do not worry about what you lack when you’re getting started. Your customers will not worry about it either.

Reply back with two more examples of products that executed the “one thing” really well and your reasons as to why it worked out or didn’t work out for them.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

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