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Hackernoon logoThe Innovator’s Mindset — the Early Stage by@AlexFranzAT

The Innovator’s Mindset — the Early Stage

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@AlexFranzATAlexander Franz

Image credit: Don McCullough: “OutdoorRecreation.McCullough.Don.1"

The single most important factor to success or failure in early stage is the mindset.

Typical mindset, especially among founders from tech schools or tech universities:

  • “We know exactly how the product should be, we just need more time, more tech people and more money to build it.”
  • “You shouldn’t talk to users, and shouldn’t show your early stage product to users, because that would lead to only incremental improvement, not innovation.”
  • “If I present my product too early, my reputation will suffer.”

Helpful early stage mindset:

  • “You can’t lead the market by copying what is already there — so you need first to know what’s already there and then NOT do it.”
  • “As a new entrant and underdog, you can’t compete with the breadth of your features, so don’t even try. Instead focus, focus, focus on what is the core of your innovation. Everything else can be added later, once product-market fit is achieved.”
  • “Developing products together with users doesn’t mean to put them into the shoes of a product manager, but to better understand how they see the world as users who are NOT product managers. Understanding can’t be achieved by surveys only, you need to combine a bunch of methods, ranging from observation to interview.”
  • “Learning happens when you do something AGAIN that you already did before. For example changing a feature, seeing how users work with it, reflecting on what that means for the usefulness and fun of that feature, and then changing that feature AGAIN. So the number of cycles you run through an activity is as important as what happens in the cycle.”
  • “Large companies like Apple are brave enough to put out something like the very first iPhone — inferior to existing phones on EVERY single established scale, only superior to existing phones on something that didn’t even matter before. If one of the top three most valuable brands like Apple wasn’t afraid to damage their brand, how can you be afraid to damage your reputation by launching early?”


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