Asking the right questions

Recently, I went to a couple of co-working spaces in Bangalore to work and get feedback on my app. The good thing about all these places is that they’re full with energy and everybody is working hard to achieve their goals. However, the sad part is that getting funded is the primary goal for most of the founders. This became evident after I went to a couple of evening meet-up sessions. As a founder of a “funded” startup, my discussions with other founders always centred around the following FAQ:

  • How did you raise funds?
  • How was the funding process?
  • What was your pitch deck like?
  • How much equity they take? How’s due-diligence conducted?
  • What kind of numbers should I have to raise funds?

While it’s fine to ask these questions, the problem is that nobody is asking questions related to product development and scaling. I would have been more glad to answer the following FAQ:

  • What made you build this product? How did you meet your co-founders?
  • What challenges did you face while building your product?
  • How did you convince your first developer to join the startup?
  • Did you conduct any user and market research to validate your product idea?
  • What about growth hacking?
  • How did you focus on product development and scaling while you were trying to raise funds?

I feel that answers to these questions are more valuable when you’re trying to build a solid foundation for your startup.

Raising money is incredibly distracting. Seeking funding is difficult and draining. It takes months of pitch meetings, legal maneuvering, contracts, etc. That’s an enormous distraction when you should really be focused on building something great. — Jason Fried, Rework

Ask yourself the following before you start thinking about anything else:

What problem are you solving? What’s the problem? Are customers confused? Are you confused? Is something not clear enough? Was something not possible before that should be possible now? — Jason Fried, Rework

The first step should be building a great product and getting people to use it actively. Funding can wait.