Max Ventilla of Aardvark on Startups & User driven design

If you are going to be doing a startup for an average of four years if you are unsuccessful and eight years if you are successful, it makes sense to devote six months to deciding what to do in the first place. If you go with whatever comes to you first, unless you are very lucky, you will likely waste far more than half a year before you can pivot to success. More often, you’ll run out of money and morale and end up in the dead pool.

being user driven is a tax. I’d estimate that we moved about half as quickly as if we’d just gone with our gut consistently. In return, we dramatically reduced the chance that we would make wildly wrong bets and have to double back, abandoning large periods of work. Ultimately, investors gave money as much for our process as for our team and concept. Being truly user-driven also created a much better environment for our engineers, who got to work on features that had been vetted prior to beginning development. Finally, our process let us avoid the tantalizing product concept ratholes that could have used up years of our collective energy and time to no avail.

Source: User driven design

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