Startups, growth, good ideas and bad ideas

Every day, hundreds of startups around the world receive millionaire contributions and hundreds more stop working. The reasons for the end of the business are diverse, but one among all the others stands out with enormous frequency. This reason is illustrated by a relatively famous phrase in the midst of entrepreneurship and that freezes the spine of the most experienced entrepreneurs. I'm sure Mark Zuckerberg has nightmares about her:“Inability to acquire and retain a substantial number of users.”

Translating: inability to acquire and retain a significant number of users. The keyword of any startup growth. If the business does not grow, no scale, no more users, it is bound to fail with a few rare exceptions. what we see daily. There is even a website that dissects all the failures in the world of startups.

Which brings me to the heart of the matter.

Very well placed by Paul Graham (photo above), founder of Y Combinator (Dropbox and Airbnb incubator) in his articles “How to get startup ideas” and “How to start a startup”, startups who fail usually do so because they fail to grow. But failing to grow is nothing more than a reflection of your product.

The analogy he makes is as follows: think of a famous and trendy restaurant where the food is bad. They don't exist. However distant, noisy, crowded or with poor service, restaurants whose delicious food thrives, regardless of anything. And it works with technology. There is no startup whose product is incredibly good that has failed.

Which brings us to another point that I want to highlight:howto know if your product and your idea are good? In that sense, Graham creates another perfect analogy. Imagine that you are an American television screenwriter and urgently need to write an episode in which one of the characters creates a startup. You then make a conscious effort to think about something. Don't comenaturallyyou.

The result of this type of thinking is usually an idea or product that seems plausible. If you ask on the street, to friends and family, most will say they would, but in fact no one does. The example is that Graham uses a social network for pets. A large part of the population has pets and most people use social networks, so a logical conclusion is that a social network for pets is going to thrive.

But it doesn't thrive, becausein came a pain and startups born of pain. The greater the pain, the more relevant the problem it is intended to solve, the more value generated.

The overwhelming majority of startups today it does one thing: it delivers software that is easier to use than it used to be. Think about startups Brazilian women of the moment: Nubank, GuiaBolso, Hotel Urbano, QuintoAndar, Mobly, iFood, Buscap, Samba Tech They all deliver better quality software than what existed before.

Every week we receive promotional materials from Brazilian developers and their startups and many are doing incredible work, creating Silicon Valley-standard companies. This week, the founders of Talkzergot in touch to tell a little about their work. The application is a social network of udios (the ones we send via WhatsApp) and works in the format of feed, similar to Instagram, but instead of images, they are recordings of up to 20 seconds. We were surprised by the technical and aesthetic quality of the app: excellent performance and impeccable visual identity. The ambitious idea.

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However, we raise some questions for developers similar to the one we discussed here. We questioned Felipe Tumonis, co-founder of startup, about what problem they intended to solve with the social network. He pointed out that they did not intend to solve problems, but "the need for human beings to express themselves".

In my opinion, that doesn't make sense for two reasons. First, for a small inconsistency. “Need to express yourself”, yes, a problem: today humankind lives solitary and in an individualistic way. Second: all social networks occasionally resolve minor or major problems; structural problems precisely from this need to express themselves. Facebook started with the pain of losing contact with the person you kissed at the party the day before. Instagram allowed people to post photos without necessarily showing them on their Facebook profile, in addition to transforming "problematic" photos into works of art, through the use of filters. Snapchat came about when one of the founders was uncomfortable with the fact that the photo he had just sent to a girl would be forever in her hand. Telegram is about privacy. And by the go.

The second material we received was precisely from a social network for pets, theInstapet. As I mentioned above, the chances that everyone will say that they will use the app high, the number of downloads may be high, but in my opinion there is a very big barrier in the public's adhesion.

Sorry, app not found.

When talking about social networks, I always hear developers and entrepreneurs say that “there is always room for one more”. The example that cites the fact that several social networks rise to success and simply disappear (Myspace, Orkut, etc.). This did happen, but a long time ago and the context was different. The social networking market has saturated a while ago.

The latest players of great relevance that emerged were Meerkat and Periscope because, again, they solved a specific problem: the live streaming of videos on social media has always been very bad. Not to mention that, when it comes to entrepreneurship in Brazil (in view of the current economic scenario), I would choose a business model that has recurring revenue, so as not to depend on advertising. For two reasons: it is very likely that you will not get a decent number of users and end up burning money, and it is very difficult to get investment with such a high risk in Brazil.

As for the social network of audio from the Brazilian developer, I cannot predict the future. On the one hand, while playing a little I really missed the video / photo component, which made the experience slightly warm and impersonal. When I gave play in the audios, I was unconsciously looking for a video to watch. On the other hand, I can imagine celebrities posting audio of their lives.

One suggestion I would try to adapt the concept of feed for recordings, and not just displaying them in the same way as Instagram. Instead of dividing audio by audio, it is worth trying to give the impression of continuity, as if everything were part of the same "speech". Who knows, instead of having to give play one by one, each audio was represented by a card that occupies the entire screen and, as you drag your finger upwards, they are playing.

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But the questions remain for the two developers: why would I use Talkzer to communicate, and on Snapchat? Will I feel like joining a social network for pets? This is a question that has no way out: it is necessary to launch and test the hypotheses to find out.

We are very curious to know the answers because, of course, we want the success of our Brazilian entrepreneurs. The two largest social networks on the planet had the hand of Brazilians: Eduardo Saverin on Facebook and Mike Krieger on Instagram, which leads me to believe that we have great potential.

To conclude, first of all, when you decide to found a startup do not consciously think of ideas for her. Simply leave your mind in "alert" mode, so you don't fall into the "startups series ”. When you feel a difficulty, when you think “it could be done differently”, or “what software is badly done”, that a fruitful idea will be born. This is Paul Graham's own suggestion in his articles.