Steve Blank - "Nice To Have" or THE feature?

Not infrequently we develop things that seem very relevant to us and also have their momentum. Unfortunately, it is no less common for these things to find their way into a manufacturer's "main product" and thus break down our business base. The "Nice-To-Have" has to become a "Must-Have".

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Today we have another topic which fits perfectly to our own startup alugha and the many recurring comments at pitches. At the beginning we built a video player that was - at that time - unique and with whose help you could combine several languages in one video. Of course we chose YouTube as the basis to get a lot of videos. It was very exciting for our customers and we were able to convince some of them. From an investor's point of view this was rather problematic, because at that time everything was based on YouTube. At the end of almost every pitch, the question came up: "Your tool is really ingenious and will certainly be needed, very much... but what if YouTube simply installs this feature tomorrow? Then you won't be needed any more".

The short answer? "Yep! Things went bad, he got it." First of all you have to say that we had built something that we missed on YouTube and so we didn't do anything wrong. Until then the story fits perfectly. We also thought about what would happen if YouTube offered the same feature tomorrow. We even talked to Google and YouTube. So it quickly became clear to us that we would have to offer many other relevant functions in addition to the player if we wanted to survive on our own. But we didn't just develop something to make it easy for us and YouTube (or other platforms like Vimeo).

We talked to our customers about what they like about YouTube and what bothers them, what their workflow looks like and where their pain lies. Based on the answers we have invented step by step, developed and implemented relevant functions for our alugha universe. With these "fulfilled" wishes, we were able to approach our customers repeatedly, in order to tie them closer us. Today we have tools that are used in large film productions, as well as by small vloggers or large YouTubers and multichannel networks.



So what do you need to watch out for? Depending on what your business goal is, it is important whether you want to achieve short-term success or to survive in the market in the long term. Both have their justification! Sometimes you also have to develop something where you know from the start that the manufacturer will eventually install it themselves.  But it's a door opener and may be important. Based on this you can develop whole solutions, because you have understood the pain and can "heal" it. And the healing method can become a whole workflow. 

Your goal must be to create a long-term - and if possible unique - value contribution for your customers in order to survive in the market and possibly convince investors.


This article is written by our CEO, Bernd Korz. With his experience as an entrepreneur, he shares his vision about the lessons provided by Steve Blank. Join us every week for a new article on Steve Blank’s lectures.

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