Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Perception vs. Reality - Some interesting thoughts

One of the great lessons of starting up has been the realization of the difference between perception and reality. What do I mean by that? Lets say you hit upon an idea which you think has huge potential. You talk to a few friends and they seem to agree. You get down to work, talk to probable future customers, research the market and your hypothesis seems to be validated. You seem to be solving a major pain point for customers. You form a team and start work on the product. As you are nearing the release of your first version, a big company also releases a very similar service, and most of it is for FREE. End of the road for your startup? How does one react to such a situation? Does the motivation level remain the same? 

The above is just an example and if you are starting up, you may come across many similar situations in your journey. It could be something as huge as the example above or something as small as a friend promising to help you out with certain things and then getting caught up with some other important priorities. Whether the startup is going to succeed or fail is just a perception. Take the example above. Its not that the big company was waiting for the release of your first version to near, for it to launch its service. No. It probably started work on developing that service before you did. If , a couple of months ago, you had known that the big company was planning to come up with a service like that, you would probably not have worked your ass off to develop your product.

But you did work your ass off and developed that product, because you thought there was potential. Now, that's interesting, isn't it? A couple of months ago, if you had that bit of information about the big company's plans, the potential did not seem that huge, coz "anyway, they are already doing it." But without that bit of information, the potential seems huge or "nobody has solved this yet, we are going to be rich having solved this." But did the potential of the idea, really change? Before that bit of information, there were say a a supposed 100,000 people who were looking for a service like yours. That number does not change even if you have the information about the big company planning to release their service. The potential of the idea has not changed. What has changed is your perception about the potential, because of the piece of information you were supplied. 

Thus the more information/data you have, the closer is your perception to the reality. This applies everywhere. People are afraid of cancer and not common cold. Why? If I were to tell you that your cancer can be cured by eating a new magic pill, will you be as bothered. 

The reason I write this is to remind myself of this realization. That change in one's perception doesn't necessarily change the reality. 

Posted via email from Random thoughts about tech and entrepreneurship

1 comment:

  1. U r right...
    As we were discussing yesterday: All the game is of perception...
    How we see things