Both Paul Graham, in a post about start-up ideas, and Vaughan Rowsell, with a just published interview, talk about the importance of understanding customer pains and needs. Vaughan first, from an interview with DoesWhat
I started Vend completely by accident. I actually had another idea, as awesome as Soapbox, that was mobile and could let you find Cat Jumpers in stores near by from your phone. Well that was one of the premises, but basically it was a social network for shopping. A little before it’s time, but it made me look at what would be required to make something like this actually work. The further I dug into it, it became obvious that the whole offline retail platform needed to be rebuilt from the ground up, starting with the software retailers used to run their businesses. Product, inventory, payments and customer data all needed to be on the cloud. So I started there, and that became Vend.
I got the fuller version of this the other night at Vend’s AGM. Vaughan was smart enough to validate his “awesome” idea for social networking while shopping, and had assumed that he would be able to connect with existing retail point of sale systems. The POS scene was mired in the 80s, and so Vend was born. It’s that persistence of digging and digging to fund both the underlying problem and to validate the need for a paid solution that created the kernel of the great idea. Since then Vaughan and the ever expanding Vend team have done little wrong. They are growing at 400% a year (or so), and I’m starting to refer to them simply as the next Xero. Well done all.
As for Paul Graham’s post – it’s superb, and everyone should just read it. He has distilled most, if not all, of the sensible advice to founders on what to work on into a single article.
(I’m a small but happy Vend shareholder)