Ideas and Validation September 16, 2020

What's the best approach in your mind: Keep trying new things or stay persistent with one thing?


I cam across this tweet and it really got me thinking: What's a better approach and why?

On the one hand, many tout that it's a "number's game" and simply keep trying different things until you find one that generates traction.

On the other hand, persistence, patience and perseverance are not only highly valued entrepreneurial traits but demonstrated keys to success.

What are your thoughts on the right approach? For what kinds of people/businesses/situations is one approach better than another?

  1. 2

    In order to my own experience, if you don't have at least 1 million dollars in your bank account or a good passive cash flow and you look for a successful business, it's better to find just One thing, stick to it at least for 2-3 years and put 100% of your focus on it just like a Laser beam. You will see the result. Then you can make your money work for you in different markets/products. The main trouble is we think we have TIME but it's the most expensive commodity that we have in our life, don't waste it.

  2. 2

    Building an MVP is already a significant effort. So that limits your ability to try as many things out as possible.

    The entrepreneurial 'try many things out'-advice won't work as well for indie hackers. We are limited by our time to implement a project, entrepreneurs are limited by money to pay people to implement a project. So instead archive your ideas and pick out the best ones ( a bit like agile development ).

    Build out an MVP, then explore if there is any interest, enthusiasm and market for your solution. If there is, persist in improving it, otherwise put it on a sleep- mode or archive it and try something new out.

    If a project is currently too hard for you to build, archive it until you have a little more experience.

  3. 2

    Depends. You could easily spend years trying hundreds of things. If product validation has happened, I believe you should stick to what is already validated and keep growing it. Although you could of course try other things on the side.

  4. 2

    For me it's a combination between both. I religiously stick to a single product, but within that scope I explore many, many other and smaller ideas, which is essentially me throwing stuff around and checking what sticks.

    In that regard I hope throwing features around is the vehicle which makes the general product stick around.

    1. 1

      Good point. Conceptually the approach can actually happen at different levels. Not just the highest level of ideation, but also at the feature level, marketing level, even personnel level! Thanks for the comment

  5. 2

    That's always a question everyone has to deal with. Actually, it's all about timing, when to discard an idea and when to continue. In my opinion, it's not a black and white thing, riding a dead horse is as stupid as switching ideas just because you hit first obstacles. I think you have to be self-critical and objectively analyze your current idea (most important is of course to additionally get feedback of externals (in best case your target group)).

    When my friend and I are discussing new ideas, we are brainstorming a bunch of them and then are tearing them apart until the strongest one survives, which we then are validating further. With the many obstacles to come, it's then just head down and focus. And again don't give up if an obstacle appears but take a step back, analyze and try to come up with a solution unless you derive the decision that it doesn't make any sense.

    1. 1

      Right, it's almost as though this concept can apply differently at various stages.

      Maybe at the brainstorming stage, it's important to move on from ideas quickly as that's the point: to tear them down.

      But once you commit & start building, releasing, gathering feedback etc. it makes more sense to "keep holding" the idea so you can continue to learn...

  6. 2

    If you come to the conclusion that planes cannot fly then switch to building boats maybe... Otherwise keep looking for a plane design that will fly. Persistence relies on the conclusion that there is a way... Being able to find a way forward is another matter. So one must answer: is there a way, and will I be able to find it?

    However, some people also expect the way to find their product and offer itself: I'm success, take me...

    1. 2

      As a glider pilot I really like this analogy! There's more similarity between boats and planes than one'd initially think.

    2. 2

      Interesting analogy. Which tack will you take/have you taken with boostlane? Continue to hold or when it starts slipping, build something else?

      1. 1

        Oh, there is still a long way to go with Boostlane, it's still being built... It's just the beginning of a long and exciting adventure. There are so many interesting ideas to try within this project... I don't think I'll run out of options anytime soon.

  7. 1

    I think it's important to not go to the extremes with either one. If you spend 1 day trying 1 thing, there's a high likelihood it won't work. If you spend say a week, that's more like it.

    So I thing is finding a balance between these things. Throwing vs. "working for years" seem like extremes to me.

    1. 1

      Fair, though I do think people tend to skew one direction or another.

      Me for example, I tend to skew towards "years". I tend to think that with enough patience & persistence most things are possible.

      But I also tend to pursue things I am hyper-passionate about so maybe that plays a role.

  8. 1

    🤮 I'm not using twitter but somehow I'm seeing at least 10 tweets from either sahil or naval 🤦‍♂️. I have doubts if these are paid. And frankly those are not different than a single line from a regular self-motivation book. I don't get it. what people are seeing and I'm missing.

    5 minute google search tells me that he didn't stick with the college, he didn't stick with ios development, he didn't stick with his dribbble account if I took a closer look I believe I'd found out more. He was just another lucky guy to put his bet on the right spot on the right time.

    On the other hand, persistence, patience and perseverance are not only highly valued entrepreneurial traits but demonstrated keys to success.

    Well if someone working on another facebook, persistence, patience doesn't mean a thing. But if that guy working on traveling to mars, then yes. This is essential.