Last week I set some background on my original supermug.com thinking, so this week it’s time to start diving into some of the many reasons that I think, in hindsight, I didn’t make it work.
There were of course lots of little mistakes including product – too clunky, pricing – to cheap, and timing – too early…but these were all things that could be (eventually) figured out and fixed.
No the real, big mistake, was that I had a solution in search of a problem.
In fact, if I had to pick one single mistake that I’ve sadly repeated over and over…and that I see most of my fellow startup friends also repeat over and over (especially the more ‘tech’ ones)…having a solution in search of a problem would be it.
It’s just such an easy trap to fall into.
You’ve got a product, or something to sell, and so you go in search of some one to use or buy it…and along the way, you will (happily) sell yourself just about any story to explain why it 'could be’, 'should be’, and 'just might be’.
But the truth is, that’s not at all how success works.
With Supermug, I thought that, because I had league management software – and it 'could be’ used to help build bar loyalty…with enough hustle, it would. And yes, with enough hustle, it could sell a bit. But that wouldn’t be enough to make it scale into a large success.
Most bar owners (local businesses in general) don’t really think they have a loyalty issue – or worse don’t really care. They are happy to rely on location and 'the way things have always been done’. Those are things they know, they have experience with, and feel comfortable with.
More than anything else, they don’t want change (they were doing better in the past, change is moving things in a direction that isn’t good for them).
Eventually a few renegades will come along and change the game … and everyone will be forced to eventually follow and adopt the new “way things are done”. Once that trend starts to happen, the timing will be right…and people will start to finally 'have the problem’ and begin to seek solutions.
Until then, you’ll be spending all your time and energy trying to 'educate’ the market to the fact that they have a problem…and that’s just a message nobody really wants to hear…
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Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.
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