Pride and prejudice | Breakthrough Funding

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pride and prejudice

A quick one minute story on whether you should bet everything on your big idea.

Imagine a miniature computer that’s so small and light you can wear it on the side of a pair of cool glasses. No typing needed, just talk to it and it will obey you. It has bluetooth, wifi, GPS tracking, speakers, a camera, microphone and a little screen so you can see the results of your spoken commands. The stuff of dreams. Incredible.

It’s been done. It’s called Google Glass and it’s a big flop.

Predicted sales for 2018 were set at 21 million units. Google refuse to disclose their sales to date. This year it was supposed to be 2.5 million but industry insiders reckon it’s closer to 200,000 since its launch. I’ve never ever seen anyone wearing them and if I did I’m supposed to describe them as a “glasshole”, which surely doesn’t do much for their street cred.

I’ve seen this time and time again with start-ups. The owner hasn’t invested Google amounts but has taken out a loan, a mortgage, begged and borrowed from their families, been on Dragon’s Den or whatever. All because they’re obsessed by their product (or service) idea. But in a bad way, not a good way. So many times the best advice right at the beginning should’ve been “don’t do it”, or at least “don’t sink money into it”.

It might be smart, it might be technologically advanced and totally amazing, but the number one question is . . . “will anyone want to buy it?” Truly want to buy it?

Not like it, not be interested in it, not be wowed by it. Will they get their bankcard out and pay for it? A pair of Google glasses costs £1,000. Would they pay that without blinking? If they won’t, you’ll run up some serious debts or really annoy your investors.

Make sure you test your ideas; talk to your friends, family, partner and even stop people in the street. The question you must ask them though, is not whether they think it’s brilliant (that’s an absolute given for something new), simply ask them: “would you get your bankcard out now and pay for this incredible thing I’ve come up with?” If they waiver, you’re in trouble. 

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