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Founders as Sherlock Holmes
Starting a company = Finding curious incidents
Growing up, I read a lot of detective mystery books - Secret Seven, Famous Five, Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew.
While reminiscing about these books, it struck me that the early stages of starting a company is like unraveling a detective mystery.1
The founders have a hypothesis on a problem and they channel the Secret Seven within them to uncover the depths of this mystery.
The founders are detectives on a mission - they need to get to the bottom of the problem.
Along the journey, you speak with several potential customers and others who give you clues to the puzzle. Some clues lead you astray. The best clues take you down paths your brain couldn’t have theorized. Each day, you gather the clues and meet with your co-founder in the “Secret Seven Shed.”
“What did we learn today? Are we still on the right track? What is the secret we discovered today? Do we have another piece of the puzzle? Have we opened Pandora’s box to whole new puzzles? What’s the next trail we should go down?”
Seen from this vantage point, the initial stages of starting a company is akin to you manifesting the Sherlock Holmes within you.
Starting a company is about finding curious incidents2:
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
I’m in the early stages of starting a company, so I speak from personal opinion. We’re building MamaFit, a platform for older adults to exercise more and prevent falls with age.
If the incidents are obvious, someone else has must have built a business around it and the gains are likely competed away. Starting a profitable business is about discovering non-obvious curious insights the rest of the world wants but hasn’t figured out yet.
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Posts on books, education, human nature, rationalist thinking.