“Thin” Innovations can fail even with product market fit

#hope
3 min readNov 26, 2023

I think one of the reasons why most startups fail, and VCs don’t get ROI on these investments is because these solutions are usually “thin”, “automate something with code” or “do something better with code” solutions. I don’t see this as “technology” startups because, in 2023, code is ubiquitous.

Although I have watched all of the YC videos and like them as a company, just building what people want leads to tech startups that are more like SMBs — and such companies don’t stand the test of time — because another hustler can build a better honey pot, a better implementation, or a better business model.

These are not tech startups like Intel — or like Google Search or Microsoft Windows — all of which required true, hard innovation and persistence to sell to customers who were not necessarily asking for a solution.

Even Facebook did something that nobody else was able to do at the time. They built the only stable implementation of a social network with a lot of hard-to-build features which was also hard to scale. The others failed technically — because everything was a feature on their website/ app. Nobody else could execute that well.

I don’t subscribe to the notion that you can only judge a startup as worthy of VC funding by the number of its customers or revenue. Anything truly disruptive, hard to do, will be difficult to understand and customers won’t know they need it — because they are busy doing their jobs, and can only imagine improvements that are somewhat incremental.

When you build hard/ core tech, you can still do it lean — by building just the essentials like we did, and then going on the customer journey to understand how we can solve customer problems. There is a lot of build before speaking to a customer, probably from the problems faced by the Founders, and a lot of build after meeting customers to figure out what aspects of the core tech make more sense to them.

Different customers may need different solutions, but all could rely on a fundamental core technology, OR there may be a certain feature that most customers want.

So, we built our product after working for decades on successful projects, and discovering that it is indeed possible to build a…

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#hope

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