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I would generally be in whole-hearted agreement with everything said here, especially when talking about any sort of enterprise, SAAS, etc. product. Too may pitches get bogged down in what the startup intends to do, rather than explaining to the the VC, why they should care in the first. Buuuuuuut, to play devils advocate, or just to call bullshit on this whole "problem first" tirade and avoid another smoke-blowing response, it seems like many, if not most, of today's consumer internet companies and tech startups appear to be solutions to "problems" that barely ever existed, if at all. I mean, what "problem" did Twitter solve? Were people really sitting around stymied by the inability to send messages of less than 140 characters? What was Google, like the 15th or 20th major search engine on the market? Why did we need Facebook when we already had Myspace and Friendster? What would Foursquare's "problem first" pitch look like?: "Mobile users are frustrated by their inability to earn points and badges everytime they stop by the grocery store to pick up a carton of milk?" Strong problem statement/understanding is crtically are important for some, but not necessarily all.
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Feb 25, 2010