There’s an inherent tension between how an engineer sees the product under development and how a potential user sees it. Engineers get excited by the technological advances and configurability of the gadget. A user sees all such complexity as overwhelming and off-putting. It's easy for a creator to forget that the user has a life to live and using their product isn’t a highlight of her life. Rather, it’s likely a chore.
Do surgeries work? Most of us assume they do, but is there any scientific evidence that they do?
In this episode, I talk to Dr Ian Harris who is a Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of New South Wales in Australia. He is a practicing orthopedic surgeon specializing in trauma surgery. Outside his practice, his research interests broadly cover the topic of surgical effectiveness and clinical research.
It’s common for entrepreneurs to cast a wide net early on and imagine their market to be huge. The logic goes something like this: if the market is worth a hundred billion dollars, then even if 1% of it is captured, the company will be making a billion dollars.
All this sounds good in theory but in practice, it never works this way.
In the first episode of Bold Conjectures podcast, I talk to Dr Anders Sandberg who is a Senior Research Fellow at Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University. His academic collaborators include nanotechnology pioneer Eric Dexler and the philosopher Nick Bostrom.
A massive, 100-part essay.
I recently finished this excellent short book titled What Has Government Done To Our Money. It's available on the Internet for free and I highly recommend reading it. But in case you want the key insights, here are my notes.
Determined to never let a crisis go to waste, I and rest of the leaders at my company reflected on how the year went by for us and the lessons that stood out. I decided that it'll be a good idea to publicly share these learnings, so here they are.
There are two ways an entrepreneur can fail: a) launch a product that nobody desires; b) launch a product that people desire but with no significant advantage over established competitors (hence give no strong reason for a customer to switch away).
These two failure modes have their analogous success modes: a) culture-led startup success where a new desire is discovered and fulfilled; b) technology-led startup success where new technology is used to fulfill an existing desire.
The business that dominates the market is often not the first but the one that learns from the first to finally get it right enough to penetrate the mass market. Think Facebook, not Myspace. Think Google, not Altavista. Think iPhone, not Blackberry. History is littered with late movers over taking first movers.
The best way to discover unambiguous market trends is to look for instances where customers are innovating by themselves by modifying or re-imagining existing products.
Another way to discover good business opportunities is to take the latest innovations in technology and imagine how can such innovations offer a radically better solution for existing customer desires.
It's important to clearly distinguish between what people desire and how they fulfill them. Our desires usually remain the same, but methods of fulfillment keep changing. For example, the desire to have good oral hygiene can be fulfilled in multiple ways: toothbrushes, mouth wash, or even by crunchy foods like carrots that help clean mouth as we chew on them.
What people care about is their desires and not how they’re currently fulfilling them