Why Give a Damn:

The web is overflowing with free startup advice. It can be overwhelming for any entrepreneur. Our Unreasonable Mentor and Scribe, Chris Yeh, has some extremely simple yet powerfully effective wisdom for you.

The author of this post, Chris Yeh, has been building internet businesses since 1995 and currently serves as the VP of Marketing for PBworks, as well as a General Partner at Wasabi Ventures.

The startup world can be very complicated.  If you sat down and started reading all the startup advice that’s available for free on the web, you’d still be reading at this time next year.  And that’s just my blog posts!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, and aren’t sure where to start, I have some simple advice: Always start with a user.

Always start with a user

Lost in all the talk of TechCrunch, Angel List, and disruptive innovation is this core truth: Companies generate value by providing a product or service that gets used and improves people’s lives.  You can have all the best investors, press, and PowerPoint decks in the world, and if your product doesn’t ultimately get used and have an impact on the lives of its users, you’re never going to succeed.
Too many people start with trends or hot technologies.  Forget it.  You can never surf those trends fast enough.  Instead, find a group of people who have a problem.  Solve that problem for them.  See if they use your product.  Find out if they’ll pay for it.  If not, find out if someone else will pay for it.
Being user-oriented is a heuristic that helps you cut through the “fog of war” that surrounds every startup.  Every idea should meet the needs of a specific user that you can name.  Every action you take should move you one step closer to solving that user’s problem.

Companies generate value by providing a product or service that gets used and improves people’s lives.

Chris Yeh

Author Chris Yeh

Chris is the VP Marketing for PBworks, partner at Wasabi Ventures, and an avid startup investor and advisor. He is also a co-author of The Alliance and serial tech entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.

More by Chris Yeh