The Dangers of Building “Really Cool” Tech

Why Focusing on Customer Needs and Value Propositions Matters More Than Cool Tech

A.T. Gimbel
See Profile
December 12, 2023

Why Focusing on Customer Needs and Value Propositions Matters More Than Cool Tech

I meet with a lot of entrepreneurs who are building some amazing technical products. It applies a new paradigm, the UI is much better, the analytics are superior, etc. Unfortunately, this can also be a curse for a founder … here is why:

What problem are you solving?

When I meet with these entrepreneurs, they often want to show me a demo and let me see all the cool features their product has. While that is great, they often struggle to answer the question: what problem are you solving? They also tend to focus on ALL the features their product has and how it can do everything someone would ever want. In my experience, that is very hard to achieve for a startup. You end up with lots of good features and no great features. But more importantly, you set yourself up for the comparison trap that you now have to have all of the features competitors do to even be in the conversation. Plus, building all those features without customers costs time and money and leads to waste. 

Do customers believe the tech is better?

Let’s say your tech does all the amazing things you know it can do. Can you convince your customer it is 10x better? Is your verbal pitch good enough or do you need a demo or trial period? You need to understand what proof they need to believe you (as every other vendor is pitching them why their tech is amazing). Many founders are confused as to why their potential customers can’t understand how great their product is; instead, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and see what they see.

Can you get the customers to change their behavior?

Even if you are solving a problem and can show your tech is better, how will your customers ultimately measure how good your solution is to justify the ROI to switch? My experience is even if 2-3x is better, that is usually not enough for customers to switch. They won’t care enough about your solution as much as you do. They have to believe your solution is significantly better to exert the energy and internal capital to make the change. This is especially true if what you are doing is different from the status quo.

While you may have amazing tech, remember to start by focusing on solving one problem for one target customer segment and be 10x better. Otherwise, you can get in a trap of lots of cool tech and features, but zero customers. Find several development partners to build with you to ensure better feedback and deliver value to your customers.

You might also enjoy...