One simple yet crucial thing I learned from YC's StartupSchool

How many users have you talked to?

I have been participating in the 2020 winter “batch” of Startup School as a co-founder of NewsCatcherAPI. I am not gonna talk about what Startup School is, I will just say that if you want to start your business or startup then it is the right place to begin from.

The 2 main things that I learned from Startup School are:

  1. Users/prospective users talked to in the last week?

  2. One-liner

In this post I will talk about why talking to your customers is so important.

Talking to your users is your #1 founder’s task

When you make your weekly update on Startup School, you are first asked if you launched. Because it is important to launch fast.

Then, you are asked to provide the number of (potential) users/customers you have talked to last week.

Talking to your users should be the #1 priority at an early stage. Whether you launched or not — talk to your customers.

If you do not know who to talk to then stop whatever you are doing. Stop writing the code. Stop, because maybe there is no one who needs it.

Your product is supposed to resolve someone’s problem. So, why don’t just go and ask people what is their problem, and how you could solve it?

You do not need any MVP to pitch your solution. You do not need your app to understand the problem.

Moreover, maybe there is no problem at all. Or, it is insignificant.

Whatever it is, users will pay you for solving their problem.

It sounds so simple and obvious yet many people build their solutions in total isolation. Then, they are surprised why there is no one using it on a launch day.

One of the greatest software that I have ever used is a search engine called Elasticsearch. It was born when Shay Banon tried to build a tool to search his wife’s cooking recipes. She was his first user with a problem.

In a London apartment, Shay Banon was looking for a job while his wife attended cooking school at Le Cordon Bleu. In his spare time, he started building a search engine for her growing list of recipes. — Our Story, Elastic