You Built It. So Why Didn’t Everybody Come?

build a startup

If you build it, “they” will come?

Not necessarily. You need to build a startup that’s worthwhile if you hope to gain traction.

In this StartupGrind video about worthwhile building endeavors, founders of thriving startups discuss how to get on the right track (and how to know you’re there):

Gabriel Weinberg of DuckDuckGo says when ideas are ambitious, that’s naturally going to attract positive attention. He recalls getting feedback like, “That’s so much better!” when users actually checked out his search engine alternative.

Better than Google? A lot of people think so!

“When you’re in a niche, no one really cares what you’re doing,” laments Weinberg, and that’s going to be a challenge no matter what the niche. Some industries, startups, and businesses will have more “luck” than others when it comes to getting people excited.

For example, Houzz’s Adi Tartako says, “It wasn’t hard at all” to get people excited. She was providing dream homes — who wouldn’t get excited about that?

You Can’t Go Back

“Going back” is rarely a good thing in business, so leverage it correctly.

Dave Goldberg of SurveyMonkey says the ultimate goal is getting customers to say, “I can’t go back” because you’ve shown them how great things can be.

Customers could be using the same old, technically workable solution for years until they’re introduced to something new and better. When you provide that “new and better” thing, that’s when you have something worthwhile when you build a startup.

“Once I used this, I can’t go back” should be your customer’s mantra.

Opening people’s eyes to this changed behavior, and seeing that it’s repeatable? That’s the foundation for a great business, product, or service.

And if you have a breakthrough? That’s even better.

According to Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz Venture Capital, “The key is to have a breakthrough idea that’s yours.” Modifying or upgrading existing ideas can be profitable. However, with all the competition and noise, a breakthrough can really set you apart.

According to John Rampton, there is “no reason to go back. Everything you do from this day forth should be with an eye towards the future. The past is behind us for a reason. When I started my free Joomla hosting company, I had so many doubts about the past and things I’d done wrong. When I let go of everything is when I started succeeding.”

Dreams Versus Shortcuts

Building something worthwhile when you build a startup doesn’t happen overnight, and it can’t be rushed.

Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures says way too many people want to “do” a startup because they think it’s a get rich quick scheme. However, they end up forcing an idea that will never work. “When you force an idea, you get into rationalizing why an idea is good,” he says. “And that’s very dangerous.”

Doing this can dramatically minimize your odds for success. Wait, urges Khosla, because if you’re truly an entrepreneur, the right idea will emerge.

Nobody wants to just build anything and have their name and reputation attached to it. You want to build a startup that’s worthwhile, right? Research, take your time, and don’t forget to trust your gut instinct. There are successful entrepreneurs of all ages, and racing ahead isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Out of Business Sign Photo via Shutterstock


Drew Hendricks Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media and environmental addict. He writes for many major publications such as National Geographic, Technorati and The Huffington Post.

2 Reactions
  1. Even something awesome needs to be publicized, advertised and evangelized. People need to know that you’ve made this awesome thing and how they can get there.

  2. “Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures says way too many people want to “do” a startup because they think it’s a get rich quick scheme”… Yess!

    So many people just want me to hand them a box of secrets. After 3 months if they haven’t seen results they are done/quit


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