Steve Blank

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are world-class inventions that changed the nature of funding for startups. But don’t use such platforms prematurely. If you’re trying to crowdfund your initial idea, that almost guarantees you are working on the wrong thing.

New entrepreneurs misunderstand what Kickstarter is for. They think it’s a way to do customer discovery, to test their product’s appeal. In fact, going on Kickstarter freezes customer discovery in its tracks. The minute you commit to Kickstarter, if you get funded, you are entering two years of indentured servitude until you deliver that product. The money isn’t worth the sacrifice. Instead, do the hard work of customer discovery, which will likely take more than 90 days. Potential customers should be grabbing your minimum viable product out of your hands and writing a check on the spot. Once you have a product you know solves a real customer problem, then Kickstarter can help you scale demand.

Kickstarter before customer discovery is the lazy entrepreneur’s approach to starting up. Don’t be a lazy entrepreneur.

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