Something I haven’t thought of

In a recent meeting with an entrepreneur, I repeatedly found myself discovering things that I hadn’t thought of. The entrepreneur kept enlightening me with his thoughts on his startup’s target market, and his plans for how to grow a successful business in light of his perspective. The more we talked, the more I learned.

After our meeting, I reflected on what I could learn from this experience. I realized that it was natural for a great entrepreneur to have much more insights about their startup’s market than me. They’ve been thinking about and working on the problem much longer than I have, and this should give them a more nuanced take on the problem than mine. While I’m seeing the tip of the iceberg, they should be seeing its whole.

In fact, this difference in our levels of insight is not only natural, it’s a must for all great entrepreneurs. There are two reasons why an entrepreneur may not bring to the table something that I haven’t thought of.

The first is that there are no such insights in the market. In this case it’s not an attractive market because all that can be known is already known by a lof of people. This is very unlikely.

The more likely explanation is that the entrepreneur hasn’t thought about the market in sufficient depth to uncover such an insight. In this case they’re unlikely to be a great entrepreneur.

Great entrepreneurs have at least one, if not many important insights about their business that investors haven’t thought of.