They say investors want to hear about the problem first and the solution second.
And that’s fine for products that solve a problem.
But what about products and services that are educational, entertaining, or experiential in nature?
Take Angry Birds. Bejeweled. The Harry Potter franchise. Lady Gaga. What problem do they solve?
Boredom, maybe … and that’s a bit of a stretch.
I say the problem/solution paradigm just doesn’t work for aesthetic experiences.
Not every value proposition fits the problem/solution model. A dreary world it would be indeed if all of life were no more than the solving of problems.
What does this mean for founders?
If you’re doing a Lean Startup, and your product does solve a problem, then by all means do customer discovery before you build your MVP; do the Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 interviews out of Ash Maurya’s Running Lean.
But if your product is experiential, you pretty much have to build an MVP before you can have that conversation with a customer. You put it in front of them, and their eyes light up, and they say, “aha, now I get it!”
With TV shows, it’s a pilot.
With books, it’s an outline and a sample chapter.
With apps, it’s a free beta.
What’s your MVP?