Startups Need Tough Love to Succeed

“Most ideas suck,” said Ben Parr, columnist for CNET and founder of a stealth startup.

“There’s a reason why most startups fail. Usually it’s because of execution, but a lot of times it’s because they go for a bad idea in a bad market.”

Parr, who spoke with me at 2012′s TechCrunch Disrupt, wants to see more critics of startups be more critical. He says there’s too much coddling and lots of “just try harder” attitudes. Instead, they should be more direct. If you have a terrible idea with bad execution and design in a bad market, you should either change or quit.

“Some things are just destined not to succeed. It’s better for you to know that sooner than later,” says Parr, who believes this straightforward attitude would stop people from wasting time, money and energy on something that’s never destined to work.

Success is all about the market you’re tackling. How much you can make off of it and what you’re disrupting. “If you’re going after a market that has only a few thousand customers that will only spend a couple dollars, then that’s not a business, no matter how good your product is,” he intructs.

“You’re always tackling a problem,” says Parr. “If you’re not tackling a problem, you’re not a startup.”

Comments

  1. BY Steve Tabler says:

    For what it’s worth, it seems that most of the interest these days is on phone APPs.

    Quoting from above: “If you’re going after a market that has only a few thousand customers that will only spend a couple dollars, then that’s not a business, no matter how good your product is”

    I’m not interested in phone APPs myself, but I understand that a great many of them can be purchased for just a couple dollars each, more or less, and some people have made that into a business.

    • BY David Spark says:

      But Steve, the market for phone apps is much larger than a few thousand customers.

      • BY Steve Tabler says:

        Some APPs have been sold to a few thousand customers. A lot of them haven’t.

    • BY David Spark says:

      Yes Steve, that’s correct, but the universe of potential buyers is in the millions. So while there are plenty of people that sell their product to just a few, there are others that sell to millions. What Ben is referring to is if you create a product for which the entire universe is only a few thousand and the most you can get from them is a few bucks. That’s not worth pursuing.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>