Every day I see amazing startups with epic ideas on Crunchbase, StartupSmart and Product Hunt. They all share a common trait, the drive and fiery ambition to bring their startup to life. All the founders have dreams of grandeur; it’s important that they have this drive to push through the hardship of starting something new.

However, there is a common flaw that I’ve seen far too many times. They don’t meter their ambition in what they build.  It’s A-OK to believe you’ll end up as big as Facebook/Google, or locally, OneFlare or Atlassian. But, the products that they all individually own are end points, not places to begin.

I feel a lot of startups need to adjust their thinking to more of a minimum viable product methodology (MVP) train of thought. A first build shouldn’t have every bell and whistle; it shouldn’t need to be finely polished or even 100% operational. Its scope and functions shouldn’t be all things to all people and it shouldn’t cost millions of dollars.

This is where ambition needs to be metered out. In my eyes, your first product should be a super small MVP. You need to resist the urge to bloat it.

Often, the number of features is greatly expanded when you cater to too many different audiences. I say pick 1, and make features for them only. Yes, it hurts that some people will not be able to use it or find it useful or that only people possessing an iPhone can access it. However, getting to this first audience is a key milestone – you can ignore all the others.

Consider Shazam – the smash hit app initially for iPhone only. I’m sure they were tempted to create a social network, sound scanning, TV integration and so on, right from their first build. But they didn’t. They kept their focus on that one core audience and built a 1 feature app. You scanned the song and it told you what it was. Once they figured out that people loved it, then they scaled up from there. They added social integrations, charts and a tonne of other features. The Shazam you use today wasn’t built in a day.

So, start small, stay within your MVP, don’t end up trying to make live all features in one go. Leave the ambition for the press.



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