Showing posts from February, 2013

The problem with building what people want

One of the mantras of entrepreneurship is to build something that people want. The road to success is lined with geeks who dreamt of beautiful solutions existing in perfect worlds for problems that no one seemed to have. Lean startup formalizes this in terms of customer development. The aim is to identify a customer who is willing to pay you money today for what you can deliver tomorrow. Recently there was an article in NYT about how the American fast food industry  has filled people's plates with more salt, sugar and fats in an effort to sell more junk food. Many of the executives, when confronted with questions about these practices, defended themselves on the pretext that they were only giving people what they wanted. If they do not give it to them, someone else will. Why is it that these executives seem to be doing something wrong (or bad if wrong sounds too strong)? They were merely following the oft repeated advice for building a successful business. In fact, making food