Tuesday, October 16, 2012

An HR Entrepreneur’s Cook Book: Who’s Eating?


Being an entrepreneur is like having a book full of recipes - but not being sure what anyone wants to eat.

After years of helping multiple small companies grow and become prosperous, I decided to jump out on my own and start building a company from scratch. The first thing I did was find a really smart partner. (Someone had to be the brains). Then the partner and I started making the list.


We have a passion about data: Big data, small data, data in a box; any data of any type that can help improve the employer/employee marketplace.


It was not hard to come up with a long list of things we could do. But now the question is – and maybe this is the most important question – what is it that we can do that the marketplace really wants to buy?

This challenge is more interesting than it used to be. Traditional new product development answered that question with lots of market research, but we all know market research didn't get us the PC, the iPhone; Google or Twitter. Really interesting products often come from passion alone.

Therein lies the problem: We've got a lot of passion which means there are so many things that we can build.

It feels a lot like a chef at a banquet. The recipe book is full, the pantry is empty (because of course as entrepreneurs, you don’t have much stuff yet) and you have to go shopping now!

The entrepreneur’s bible we were all required to read, The Lean Start Up, might suggest that we make a small meal and send it out there to see if anyone wants to eat it. If they do, make more. The problem with that idea though is that it may take awhile to find the right food – and in the meantime someone else comes in with the perfect Big Mac and we are stuck with day-old ground round.

Entrepreneurs have to act on faith. I think you have to pick a recipe you really believe in and make enough to make sure the market can get a taste. Building a new product has to be fueled by passion and a strong belief that you can introduce the world to something they are really going to like. That doesn't mean you have to commit to a gluttonous feast with the first offering, but you can’t hold back either. If you believe, you go for it.

So now that we know we want to serve up some data, we are ready to go shopping! Man I hope people want what we are planning to cook.