Wouldn’t It Be Cool If?

Good ideas usually start with “Wouldn’t it be cool if?” They start with a playful suggestion of an idea you have. Usually when you say them aloud for the first time, you feel a brief moment of embarrassment. Then the other person says, “Yes and ____.”

“Yes and” comes from improv comedy. It’s a collaboration statement to build onto something more. It’s a trustful statement that means, “Here’s more…let’s see if this could work, let’s explore this.”

The genesis of many great startups is the simple question, “Wouldn’t it be cool if?”

All too frequently we see the results of partnerships that are borne from this seemingly innocent question, and they fail. No product or partnership can last for long without a well-defined source of value for your customers, your partners, and your own company. Pursuing on an opportunity whose value is rooted only in the sexiness of the idea is a recipe for wasted time that no startup can afford.

The dangers of Wouldn’t It Be Cool If-style thinking are so prevalent in the world of Product Development that those repeated failures to launch nurtured the growth of the Lean Startup movement. Validating a hypothesis around whether or not a customer will find any value in your product, and iterating until you find the right product-market fit, is an approach that should extend well beyond the product development stage.

Before forging a path towards any partnership, there are more important questions to ask than “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” What you should be asking of yourself, your customers, and your partners, is: why is this cool, what about this is valuable, and who will care?

Summing-up: Great ideas come from wishes and dreams and that’s good. But, knowing that every deal you do creates long-term value for your customers, your partners, and your own organization? That’s cool.

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