Irem Yallagoz is a marketing grad at NYU and the founder of Leest, a cloud-based hotel concierge that helps lifestyle boutique hotels create personalized travel itineraries for their guests. Leest helps hotels to boost brand loyalty and decrease costs by increasing guest satisfaction and reducing friction.
As the first week of SLP passed, it was obvious these 10 weeks ahead of us would be nothing short of intense. Not only the amount of work that goes into the validation of our concept, but also the flood of information and advice that surrounds us.
Here are the five quotes that condense all of my learnings in a nutshell:
1) "Be in love with the problem, not the solution"
This is, by heart, one of the most important pieces of logic an entrepreneur needs to keep in mind. You are going to be using a vast amount of resources, the most valuable of them being your time. You don't want to keep 'proving' your proposed solution instead of really understanding the problem with deep insights.
At the end of the day, 8 out of 10 startups fail because they understand there is no meaningful market need. You can only accelerate this process by obsessing about the problem rather than the solutions.
2)"No one wants to tell you your baby is ugly"
Would you? It's hard to do so. That's why instead of showing people your product or trying to pitch them your solution, don't try to steer the conversation. Let them do the talking; you get actionable insights and see if they would use your product or not. Their politeness might be your enemy.
3) "Look for patterns"
Too many customer discovery journeys, too little time. As people speak about their experiences, you have to make sure you don't get lost in details or convey premature conclusions -- they won't get you anywhere. Insights you get would have to be statistically significant so that you can go ahead and use them to validate your hypotheses. Try to catch mutual points of all the data you gather and look for patterns to convert them into actionable insights.
4)"Fish where the fish are"
This quote says it all. As an entrepreneur like Jimmy John Shark, you have limited time so you have to speak with potential early adopters of your solution -- take every chance to do it. This led us to plan a last minute trip to Austin for one of the biggest hospitality technology conferences. We couldn't have afforded to miss all the information, connections and learnings packed in a few days.
Make sure you're up for whatever -- it's going to be a real boost for your startup.
5) “The best startups come from founders who experience problems themselves and see the possible solutions”
This one is from Mark Leslie, founder of Leslie e-Lab, and it is of utmost importance for a founder to know what they are talking about.
It really helps if you, as a founder, have already experienced the pain point personally. When you think about it, you will see most successful startups are actually founded by people who thought "why can't this thing be made this way?"
Meet some of NYU's top startups and founders, including Irem, at the Summer Launchpad Venture Showcase. RSVP here!