So, you have a business idea?

An occupational hazard of computer savvy people (me included) is that we get approached by characters such as Ed the Entrepreneur, who has a “great business idea that is very easy to build”. Sometimes with good intentions, sometimes less so. Regardless of the intention, the outcome is the same: asking the techie person to indirectly become investor on their project. My sanity-checks to see if Ed’s idea can work:

  • Market segment: I wouldn’t touch B2C with a stick. It would require more polished UI design, support, and a lot of marketing to make it fly. B2B is a better choice if Ed has done consulting gigs on their own in that industry.
  • Experience with the purchase side: either Ed has sold project work to the buyer or Ed has been a buyer of similar products. Got bitten on this one after building a software to simulate electricity auctions, to be sold to electricity companies bidding in government contracts. Neither of us had a clue on how this market works, and still don’t.
  • Are there competitors? If there are no competitors, there’s no chance. Of course, there’s the one in a million Steve Jobs, but trust me Ed, odds are against you. No one is buying trained neural networks in Lisp, everyone and their dog need WordPress websites.

These three points cover the “classical” business wisdom: you can sell a product if that product solves a painful problem for someone who has the money to pay for it.

Author: Pablo Maldonado

I am a consultant, technical trainer and lecturer in automation, data science and AI. My students, either at universities or companies, appreciate my hands-on approach coming from my experience at several projects across industries like financial services, marketing, and HR. Since 2017, I have been leading workshops for 30+ clients in 10+ countries including major companies such as Shell, Renault, PwC, O’Reilly Media, O2, La Poste, as well as institutions like the European Investment Bank, the Czech National Bank, the Australian Government, and many others. I have written a couple books (on Shiny, and on Deep Learning). I hold a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the Sorbonne Université in Paris, with a specialization in Game Theory and Markov Decision Processes.

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