Web App Development

The "Not Yet" Fallacy of Startups

I often see startups doing this, and also catch myself doing it.

An early-stage startup has identified an opportunity, like a demo to a potential client or a blog that wants to cover them. The company waits until it can make the most out of the opportunity. In the meantime, the startup dies.

The "Not Yet" fallacy occurs when a startup dies before it reaches the future it optimized for.

The attempt to maximize the value of an opportunity results in the startup never taking advantage of it at all.

If you have low momentum this over-optimization is dangerous. It’s better to get a little bit of extra momentum now than a larger amount of momentum in a future that may never happen.

Taking an opportunity early also gives you certainty about how much it’s worth. You don’t want to spend months planning for a blog post that gives you 50 views.

Finally, opportunities are rarely unique one-off chances. New ones will always come up. Every time you expose yourself to the market you become better at identifying opportunities.

Being strategic is fine if you have momentum and lots of opportunities lined up. But if you don’t have momentum ask yourself if you’re pushing opportunities beyond the lifetime of your company.

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