KISS - Keep It Simple, Startup

Lately I have been privileged to meet and talk with tens of startups, entrepreneurs and VCs, mainly located in Berlin, Germany. It has been extremely interesting to observe the enthusiasm and passion they all share when working towards their goal. It is not (only) about the money, but rather about achieving something bigger and better they all believe in.

Furthermore, most of the outstanding startups can make their businesses sound genuinely uncomplicated. When listening to their pitch, one easily gets the "why haven't I thought of that myself"- feeling. Within two to three sentences they can explain to you:

  • What the problem is
  • What they do to solve it and how they do it
  • What is their competitive advantage
  • And for sure, the business case

However, since the technology grants everyone to build up basically anything, the challenge comes with the endless amount of ideas. I would assume that in the team room of any startup, there will be the time for "We should do this and that and also those but not forgetting this...." discussions and you feel like making a pivot on a daily basis. At least, I can identify myself with this when I get excited about some topic..

TechCrunch wrote already back in 2013 that startups should keep it simple so let this be a note for myself and my peers:

An established app or service needs to grow by adding new features in order to stay fresh, relevant and competitive but piling on scores of features from the start in a bid to grab attention just gives people scores more reasons to ignore you.

It is truly tempting to build up something revolutionary and complicated, which could be comparable to the invention of the wheel. But in the end of the day, only execution counts. And I think we all can agree that it is just so exceptionally easier to execute something straightforward instead of complicated.

So what can we do with out getting lost? I talked to one Venture Capitalist couple of days back and I think he said it really well. He answered that every startup should find their defendable asset and stick to that. May it then be the algorithm, access, database, process, etc. that just can't be copied by anyone else.

Mashauri seems to agree with the three most fundamental strategic questions for a startup to answer to:

  • What are you selling?
  • Who are you selling it to?
  • Why are they buying it from you?

If you consider the entrepreneurs back in the days, they didn't try to do everything. They just figured out what they were good at and concentrated on it. The guy who was good in baking, opened up a bakery. The one with woodcarving skills opened up a carpenter service and so on. Only later on we have started to see homongous hypermarkets that have everything. And have you realised what they do now? They start to concentrate in their core and cut down the branches that are irrelevant.

So even though technology allows all of us to be experts in everything, I am starting to think that everyone should just find that one thing to be good at and concentrate on it.

What do you think?