Thursday, September 8, 2011

Learning From Others

I'm very big on getting feedback from different markets for different ideas I have. For example, if I have an idea that will target restaurants, I go send emails to restaurants. If I have an idea that will be focused on consumers or on writers, I go talk to writers and get feedback through surveys. Talking to different businesses usually lets me know right away whether or not I'm solving a problem for them, or am just thinking about something that won't help anyone out.

Recently I sent an email with a survey to about 400 restaurants. In the past, I had sent a few emails with different surveys to approximately 200 of these restaurants. While I know this isn't a great way for getting very detailed responses to the problems I am trying to solve, it is a way for me to hopefully get a lot of data very quickly.

The responses I sent out in my last survey were particularly negative. This was very good for me, because I scratched off the idea I had right away. What was interesting was one of the restaurant owners responded to my email and told me to "go fuck myself." I didn't respond to his email, but was happy he sent it. It made me realize that I had to go through my idea validation process differently, and treat the people I was talking to better in the process. Business owners and restaurant owners probably don't want to get a survey every other week because they are trying to run their businesses, so I won't try this way of getting feedback in the future.  The email also motivated me to work harder to try to solve real problems. Sometimes in life, people make mistakes, and then more people make more mistakes because of the previous errors. For a long time I didn't realize the value of mistakes or being wrong, but have learned failure can be more valuable than success.

You can follow me on twitter @kaufman_jack.

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