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E127: Fake It Until You Make It Is BS

Companies like Theranos have shown that ‘fake it till you make it’ is all BS.  Still, there are too many people that feel this strategy has merit.  I want to tear it apart by breaking down why it doesn’t work.  We’ll also talk about what you should do instead.

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Episode Transcript
 Hey folks, Sean here and today what I wanna talk to you about is the ill faded strategy that is typically making the rounds, at least somewhere in the business world of the so-called fake it till you make it approach. Now, I pretty much hate everything about this yet in business and especially in tech or software and sas, it’s always making the rounds because there’s always a group of people out there trying to vy for unicorn.

They want to be the billion dollar company. They want to be the next big thing, and they’re willing to skip as many steps as possible in order to try to pull that off. I don’t know why. I mean, I understand the appeal of course, but I don’t know why this isn’t looked at more objectively because of the ridiculously low success rate.

I studied the numbers on this, and the numbers are just ridiculous. I think it wound up being a 1.3% success rate for those that actually attempt this strategy and then have an acquisi. That goes beyond that valuation. But anyway, I know it’s not necessarily a logical approach, so to speak, so that may or may not deter the people who are trying to leverage this strategy.

But what I wanted to draw your attention to is that this is, this tactic has been falling further out of favor. And I think that’s a good thing. And that’s probably a combination of things like Theranos, where. You know, founder Elizabeth Holmes was sentenced to prison for 10 or 11 years for defrauding investors, combined with, you know, these economic factors as well too, in that money’s no longer cheap.

So with rising interest rates comes basically like tighter wallets for the most part, and people being, especially investors being less likely to invest in just the next whatever thing. Now, having said all of that, The development of AI tools has led to potentially more activity in the space where people are spinning up just about anything that has AI in the name.

I think Y Combinator, like two thirds of their applicants are working on something AI related, which is probably somewhat predictable. Anyway, what I wanted to talk about is I wanted to issue caution when it comes to strategies like, Right. I don’t think this is something that should really ever be entertained besides the fact that it’s ridiculously low success rate for probably relatively obvious reasons.

It doesn’t. It doesn’t enable you to build a company, a business, a product with solid fundamental economics. And that’s something you can do from zero without investment, you can do it totally bootstrapped, you can do it nights and weekends. You can build a proper business that’s going to be financially viable.

Using the slow and steady approach. It’s really like, whereas everyone else is trying to do the fake it till you. My experience has been, it’s more like if you remember the story from maybe when you were younger, the tortoise in the hair, slow and steady typically wins this race, right? But you gotta know which steps you need to do and which ones you need to complete, and how comprehensively you need to complete them before you move on to the next step.

And there’s not a lot of people talking about that. So I’m gonna be continuing to provide more of that type of content as we move forward because it. I’ve been doing and it’s been working out just fine. I, you know, I’m not married to any particular concept I’m working on. I’m looking for problems worth solving, right?

That’s the place to start. And then when I find one that looks like it’s got a lot of opportunity for me to provide a bunch of value back to the ICP or the ideal customer profile, I look to design a UVP or a unique value pro. To capture that value provided back to the icp and then we can take a component of that as well also, and that becomes potentially the revenue that we’re generating for providing for, for solving that problem, for that target market.

That’s really what it’s all about. And then it’s slow and steady there. You can always accelerate or you can always invest more. You can always dedicate more time. Right. But I’m also an advocate for only doing that when it makes good financial sense for you.