It’s true. In ALL the companies I have worked and WITH all of the companies I have consulted, I’ve never created a market.
I’ve had one big success and many modest successes. Outside of those successes, most often the findings from rigorous contact with prospective customers, partners, and competitors’ customers reveal that the demand for our solution to solve an existing problem is not investor worthy. In other words, it’s not going to go IPO or be purchased by Google or Facebook. It may be a nice, profitable business, but not a VC-backed rocket ship…which is important to know in order to manage expectations and resources.
Which leads me to my claim that No One Can Create A Market.
As a result of seeing scores of products and thousands of customer contacts, I make this claim. Let’s take the classic Pet Rock as an example. When Gary Dahl created Pet Rocks in the 1970s, many were flabbergasted that there would be such a high demand for a rock in a box. However, those that were surprised were those that were focused on the product and not the problem it solved or the cost of not solving the problem.
The existing problem that the Pet Rocks solved was, of course, the annual problem of gifting in a clever way. The Pet Rock, in its nest, with its instruction manual and nicely packaged was the solution to the problem of what to purchase to show that you care to try to delight and know how to delight. And think of the accessories to buy!
So if I’m not willing to claim that market validation/customer discover helps create a market, why bother doing customer discovery and market validation at all?