Focus, efficiency and patience; three necessary traits of modern businesses aiming to deliver quality and profits alike. I have repeatedly witnessed new businesses driven by the excitement of making money rather than a conviction of delivering usable solutions. These businesses quickly come and go, only creating unnecessary noise in the market.
I touched on this subject in the context of building brands through products in my personal blog early last year. I noted, “quality digital products can be very profitable and naturally draw the attention of entrepreneurs aiming to make a quick buck. Take caution: quickly building a shell of a product that answers no real need renders very little value. Any valuable product is a result of an effective solution to a problem.”
If there is no problem to solve, there is no product to build.
This same idea rings true when considering the focus of product vs. pitches. True value lies in the honest work it takes to create a product worth taking to market. Valuable products are a result of a business strategy that allows for an investment into talented personnel and the time required for a worthwhile deliverable.
We believe in products, not pitches. Production in the correct order can be time consuming and painful. Find the problem, create the solution, design for functionality first and follow with form. Moving in reverse has proven problematic for all parties involved.
On the other hand it can be intriguing to focus on the tagline and catch phrases. And of course, putting all your attention on getting your picture in the paper can seem much sexier than doing the hard work of solving problems.
But, for us being valuable is more exciting than being loud.
This irrational behavior created by a rush for bucks is nothing new. Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, notes the behavior of the late 90’s Dot-com Boom in his book Zero to One, explaining that one of his acquaintances had planned an IPO from his living room before he even incorporated his company, and he didn’t think that was weird.
Similarly, while big pitches and loud press are an important part of claiming a market, this should be a calculated effort to evangelize your authentic value, rather than an attempt to overcompensate for your shortcuts. Just like the rest of this world, there are no shortcuts and people will quickly realize when there is nothing behind your pitch.
At Accomplice, we build businesses through quality digital products. We focus on usability before form because, while both are important, usability is the value behind true success.
We can, and do, build some pretty fascinating pitches to create buzz for the products we build. We do this only when the necessary work has been applied to an idea of real consequence. This political season reminds us just how common hollow grandstanding is in both business and politics alike. But, for us, being valuable is more exciting than being loud.