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Barrier to Entry too High?

Mr4213

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My first objective has been to confirm my productocracy.

While working in my industry, I found a problem that needs to be solved.

The product I have in mind meets every commandment. Control, entry, need, time and scale.

My concern, is that the barrier to entry is extremely high.

The product involves both sophisticated hardware and software. I would need to first create the hardware and then the software on top of that.

I have no knowledge when it comes to developing software or hardware.

If I spent time learning how to do it myself, I feel like it would take an abnormally long time. I'm not against taking the time to learn, however I feel like it might take years just to learn enough to start building the product. It's not something simiple, like say web design for instance.

I don't see how I could outsource the development either. Finding people with the technical knowledge to develop it would be both difficult and expensive.

Finding investors to fund the development might be an option, but I'm not sure how I feel about the idea. I'd rather avoid investors or partners.

I guess my question is, should I go full in and start teaching myself everything needed to build the product. Or should I move to something that has a high, but lower barrier to entry? When do you guys think the barrier to entry is just too high or is it ever too high?

Thanks!
 

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Vadim26

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I don't see how I could outsource the development either. Finding people with the technical knowledge to develop it would be both difficult and expensive.

But have you tried?

1) upwork.com
2) filter by Phillippines / India
3) find top 10 talents in the country with the skills you need for your product at a cheap rate (if you are from first world country)


I guess my question is, should I go full in and start teaching myself everything needed to build the product. Or should I move to something that has a high, but lower barrier to entry? When do you guys think the barrier to entry is just too high or is it ever too high?
I don’t think anyone will be able to answer that for you, too many variables.

If you have time and a little bit of interest to learn it - I don’t see why not. Outsource - if you have capital, and want to move forward with the progress FAST.

Let’s see what other people will have to say.
 
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FierceRacoon

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Just find two cofounders, one with expertise in software and another one with expertise in hardware, and each own 1/3 of the company. Granted, it is very hard, because you need to find qualified people whom you also trust, who trust you and will believe in your idea enough; particularly the screening part will be very difficult for you. However, it may work. On the other hand, I have heard stories about a nontechnical founder trying to outsource technical stuff, and it just doesn't seem to work well. And you don't need to: at least in the software world, while there are countless startups, there are also many competent engineers looking to be a part of one for the same exact reasons as the ones outlined in TMF/Unscripted.

As a side note, you can pay for help with screening, to have provably competent tech people evaluate your potential cofounder(s).

As another side note, if you understand neither software nor hardware that well, your whole plan may be hopelessly wrong. And even if you plan to go with outsourcing, doing it well requires a lot of competence. At the very least, find advisors helping you for a fee or for a few percent of the company.
 

amp0193

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Finding investors to fund the development might be an option, but I'm not sure how I feel about the idea. I'd rather avoid investors or partners.
If it's complex and you don't have the know how... I'm not really sure how you intend to proceed without bringing in co-founders that know what they are doing.

But if you bring in a technical co-founder(s), you better be bringing something to the table yourself. Either money or expertise in something else.


When do you guys think the barrier to entry is just too high or is it ever too high?
Barriers are almost never high enough. The higher the better.


Solve big problems. Receive big rewards.
 

Rabby

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Can you solve half the problem and launch the bigger solution from your successful execution? If that's still too much to bite off, how about half of half?
 

Champion

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The higher the barrier of entry, the more long-term potential it has!

If you are passionate about learning everything to break through that barrier of entry, I believe you should move along with the idea.

Best
Champion
 
OP
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Mr4213

Mr4213

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If it's complex and you don't have the know how... I'm not really sure how you intend to proceed without bringing in co-founders that know what they are doing.

But if you bring in a technical co-founder(s), you better be bringing something to the table yourself. Either money or expertise in something else.




Barriers are almost never high enough. The higher the better.


Solve big problems. Receive big rewards.

I've started a business in the past, and brought on partners. I've seen firsthand the issues that partners can bring. They can easily end up being a distraction from the business itself. I also do not like giving up any control of the business. I operate under the assumption that the business will be successful, do I want these people to have a stake?

With that being said, I am not completely against partners. A small piece of something is better than a big piece of nothing.

If I were to pursue partners, I know I bring a unique value to the table.

I have about two years of experience in the industry and know exactly what the issues are with the current products available (FYI, this is B2B sales) Partners may know how to build what I envision, but they don't know what the specific problems with the current products are ( I work with the current available equipment on a daily basis and know exactly how it waste my employers money)

I work for a very successful multi-million dollar privately owned company that operates all over the United States. If the product is as I envision, then I can easily place it in front of the owner of the company and sell it to him directly. No middle man or bullshit. This one sale would easily sustain the business I started.

(The owner loves me and I can see him anytime I want. I don't waste his time. If I talk to him then its because I have something that provides him value. I completely respect him and his time. This man is my role model. A great man and a great successful entrepreneur. I consider it a personal failure of mine if I waste his time.)

Even if someone could replicate the product exactly as I envision, they wouldn't have the same access or experience within the industry that I have. They could never place it in front of a multi millionaire dollar client with the same ease as myself. Bringing me to the table saves potentially years of time.

Not to sound vain or anything, but I am also intelligent and business savvy. I bring business intelligence and sales ability to the table. Partners wont be able to easily find that combination anywhere else. They just won't. I'm intelligent and I can talk to just about anyone and make them like me.

With all that being said. Is it better to bring partners with technical experience to the table, or just learn myself? I am more than capable of learning everything myself. The issue is the time it will take to learn. I am only 23 though. Even if I spend a few years learning and fail, I will still learn valuable skills that will benefit me in the long run.

I am more than willing to sacrifice and go through the suck to achieve my dream. Its a process, not an event. On the same note, I also understand that it might be more practical to bring on technical partners.
 
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Mr4213

Mr4213

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Can you solve half the problem and launch the bigger solution from your successful execution? If that's still too much to bite off, how about half of half?

This concept interest me. But I am having a problem imagining exactly what you mean. Could you give an example?
 

Rabby

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This concept interest me. But I am having a problem imagining exactly what you mean. Could you give an example?
Well I don't know what the exact problem is in this case, and you probably don't want to describe it publicly. But the meaning is just this... most large problems are actually a collection of smaller problems. You'll have to break down the problem to engineer a solution anyway... so as you do that, you can find smaller problems to solve fisrt. Instead of waiting until everything is solved, you might be able to make those smaller solutions marketable.

Example from my experience: people can't pass a test. They can definitely pass it if I arrange a teacher, organized curriculum, 3 day class, class booklet, and flashcards. But oh no! I can't hire a teacher or get the space for a class because no money. So I make the flashcards or the booklet first, which will help a subset of the people and attract the interest of the rest. Then I use the sales of that to complete the full offering. Make sense?
 

amp0193

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Is it better to bring partners with technical experience to the table, or just learn myself?
Partners.

Yes, they can have issues. They can also make this idea possible now, and not in a few years.

Even if I spend a few years learning and fail
A few years is a long time to work on validating an idea.


Alternatively, license the idea, so someone else can make it and sell it, and you collect royalties.
 
OP
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Mr4213

Mr4213

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Well I don't know what the exact problem is in this case, and you probably don't want to describe it publicly. But the meaning is just this... most large problems are actually a collection of smaller problems. You'll have to break down the problem to engineer a solution anyway... so as you do that, you can find smaller problems to solve fisrt. Instead of waiting until everything is solved, you might be able to make those smaller solutions marketable.

Example from my experience: people can't pass a test. They can definitely pass it if I arrange a teacher, organized curriculum, 3 day class, class booklet, and flashcards. But oh no! I can't hire a teacher or get the space for a class because no money. So I make the flashcards or the booklet first, which will help a subset of the people and attract the interest of the rest. Then I use the sales of that to complete the full offering. Make sense?

You are definitely correct. I do not wish to disclose my information publicly lol.

I see where you are coming from. Unfortunately, in my situation my product is not able to succeed without a full product launch. Without the full product it wont help business owners in my industry.

I can't release specific solutions without the full product. It just wont work.

As an example, I can't attempt to solve a phone issue without creating my own phone. Does that make sense?
 

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OP
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Mr4213

Mr4213

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Partners.

Yes, they can have issues. They can also make this idea possible now, and not in a few years.



A few years is a long time to work on validating an idea.


Alternatively, license the idea, so someone else can make it and sell it, and you collect royalties.

I'm not working to spend years validating an idea. I have already validated it. I have insider knowledge and I know it will work.

I have already talked with a multi-millionaire dollar owner and he has validated the problems I have seen.

The issue is should I spend years learning to build the product, or should I bring on technical partners/outsource the development to speed along the development.
 
OP
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Mr4213

Mr4213

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Partners.

Yes, they can have issues. They can also make this idea possible now, and not in a few years.



A few years is a long time to work on validating an idea.


Alternatively, license the idea, so someone else can make it and sell it, and you collect royalties.

Amp0193

Don't just like my thread and not say something lol.

You have been in this forum far longer than me. You joined in 2013. At that time I was still in high school.

I value your thoughts and opinions. You have experience and knowledge that I do not.

Please tell me what your opinion of the situation is?
 

amp0193

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I've said several things in this thread.

A Like can mean: "I like your post". Or "I agree with that" or "ok sounds good".

Not really much more to say about that.

You got my opinion earlier.
 
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Mr4213

Mr4213

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I've said several things in this thread.

A Like can mean: "I like your post". Or "I agree with that" or "ok sounds good".

Not really much more to say about that.

You got my opinion earlier.

I appreciate that input. I will spend time later tomorrow when I get off work reading over this thread. Sometimes I can sound impulsive and ignorant. I value your input and advice. Thank you.
 

Michael Burgess

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I don't know how anyone else feels about this, but I don't think the idea being toyed with here is so world-changing it needs to be hidden from public awareness. I realize @Mr4213 probably wants to keep it hidden for fear of someone else running away with his mutli-million dollar prize for the great idea, but that's not how business works:

Look at MP3 players - lots of them around before the iPod dominated.
Electric cars? Tesla wasn't the first to market.
Coca-Cola? Surely not the first guys and gals to bottle water with sugar in it.

Ideas just aren't that important, its what somebody does with the idea, and how quickly and well they act on it that matters.

I don't mean to dismiss how big and important your idea is, because ideas are the seed of fantastic successes - but ideas are only the starting point, and need a lot of care and tending to grow into something great. Execution is what separates the wheat from the chaff, and will make or break any idea.

Without the technical skill yourself, the idea is dead in the water.

As other people have mentioned, you'll need to either:

1) Figure the skills out yourself (which might be difficult, given both hardware and software alone could be full time pursuits - let alone marketing, finance, production, etc)... or,
2) Partner with others. And that may be difficult to convince them if you don't tell them what the idea is.

Based on what little I know of your situation, I would be trying to assemble a team of people to help with the idea and bring it to life. You bring the passion and sales, using your time to build a team of technically competent people. You would be much better off with a small part of the watermelon, than a tiny wilted grape you own outright. If you're onto something big with the idea, trust that there will be plenty more in the future to work on (no shortage of problems on the planet...), and it's better to have something positive going soon than just an idea.

Hope I didn't come off as a total a**hole, and good luck with the idea!

;)
 

FierceRacoon

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Let me add a bit more. Based on my experience from a few tech startups including one successful exit (acquisition) and several failures,

(1) nobody will steal your idea. You can walk into Google or Bank of America and they won't listen. You can buy Facebook ads explaining your idea, and nobody will care. As an illustration, if you apply to YCombinator or Techstars, very competitive incubators, you will be allowed a 1-MINUTE video pitch, if you made it to that point. The people making decisions there listen through thousands of compelling 1-minute pitches of ideas that have been thoroughly worked on for a long time.

(2) you will not figure out the skills in a reasonable amount of time.
We interview people who went through some of the best 12-week data science bootcamps with a prior M.Sc. or Ph.D. in Physics/Economics/Finance, and all of them are really bad programmers. Really bad. They can't properly code a 10-line function, and they need 15 minutes of guidance to find their own mistake.
We also interview college graduates with a B.Sc. degree, many with an M.Sc. degree [in computer science], and the majority are not good coders. That is, I won't hire them for a software development position to follow directions — and you want someone who can independently build a new product.

Now, if you really want to do it, you will eventually succeed, after a few years of hard work. But if you are only doing it to start a business, that strikes me as remarkably poor judgment. Even when you do start a business, all of your time and energy will be going into coding, because it will still be very hard for you and will still be taking enormous amounts of effort... and you also need energy to run the business per se.

(3) the idea is not validated until you have tested it on users. I have worked on an idea approved by several millionaires who kept giving money, it was approved by the users in theory — but they did not care to use the offering in practice. We have burned through an impressive pile of cash with zero organic users, despite the idea having been "validated" and despite the founder and the investors "knowing that it would work".
 

NursingTn

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You're thinking too hard on this.

If you need to bring others into the mix because the solution requires a team to implement, then do so. If you do not need to bring others into the mix, then implement the solution to yourself.

If you can't spend the time to learn everything to do it yourself, then partner up, lawyer up, and hit the gym and own the decision.

If you have all the time in the world to learn everything to do it yourself, then forget partnering up with others because you can do it yourself.
 

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