Throughout 2023, I spoke at multiple events, some of them as part of my book, Fall in Love with the Problem, Not the Solution – A Handbook for Entrepreneurs, launch campaign and part of it during fundraising and mostly during my regular course of business and speaking at different events.
The question that repeated itself more than any other question was why I call my book “Fall in Love with the Problem, not the Solution”. Those who have seen me speak at events know that I’m nearly always wearing a black T-shirt with exactly those words. In this article, I will explain the reasons I think entrepreneurship is about emotional engagement and value creation.
The Core Of Entrepreneurship: Value Creation
The answer is rather simple, at the end of the day the entrepreneurial journey is about value creation, and the simplest way to create value is to solve a problem.
But there is so much more to it. When you fall in love with the problem, it serves as the North Star of your journey and when you have a North Star, you make fewer deviations from your course and are more likely to be successful.
Of course, there are cloudy nights, or you may get distracted by Venus and head west rather than North, but at the end of the day when you remain focused on the problem, you’re more likely to be successful.
The last part, which occasionally is the most significant one, your story is going to be way more compelling. Just imagine that in 2007 I would have told people “I’m going to build an AI crowd-source-based navigation system.” Everyone would say “Oh yeah, very interesting”, but no one cares.” If I had said “I’m going to help you to avoid traffic jams” then people would care (as they did).
When your users or customers care about your journey, they want you to be successful and will help you get there.
The Emotional Foundation of Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship usually starts with a very strong emotional engagement. You run into something that you really like, or you truly hate, and then you start to build your dream, and develop the passion for it until you are willing to sacrifice.
Think about it as falling in love. There are many ideas that you think of, and eventually, there is one idea that you tell yourself this is what I am going to do, right? With dating it may be the same – you go on many dates, and eventually, there is one that you tell yourself “This is the one”. In the beginning, all you want to do is spend time with your date. You don’t care about the rest of the world.
The same with your Venture. You are thinking about it from multiple perspectives – you examine the problem, research who are the people who actually have this problem, and plan in your head what you should do tomorrow morning. Again and again, until you feel confident enough.
Facing Skepticism and Doubt
Then you share your idea with your friends. The first reaction would usually be the same, they will tell you: “This will never work”, and these are the nice guys. The less pleasant people would tell you: “This is the most foolish idea I have ever heard”. Trust me, I have heard them all, with Waze, and with other startups I built.
Now, remember we said building a startup is like dating? Introducing your idea to your friends may be like presenting your date for the first time to your friends. So, you take your date for the first time to meet your friends and they are saying: “That person is not for you”. This is where you disengage from your friends.
The Journey Begins with a Problem Worth Solving
So, the good news is that you are in love, and you don’t listen to anyone else. The bad news is that you are in love, and you don’t listen to anyone else. The reality is that you must be in love in order to go on this journey.
And for me, this journey always starts with the same thing. Think of a problem, a big problem, something that is worth solving, that the world would become a better place if you solved it.
The journey begins with recognizing a significant problem, one that, if solved, could better the world. If the problem is unique to you, a therapist might be more helpful (and cheaper) in solving it than building a startup. But if it’s a common issue, shared by many, it’s worth pursuing.
Conclusion: The Heart of Successful Entrepreneurship
The key to success is creating value and falling in love with the problem, not the solution, makes your story compelling and your fundraising easier. It also helps you attract users more effortlessly.
Being in love also prepares you for the sacrifices and challenges ahead, which are inevitable.
The article was preveiously published on Forbes.