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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Positive Problems - Embrace Them

The Lightner by pfv. (CC BY-NC)
There is an interesting trend I have noticed when working with startups and small clients. Not all problems are created equal. There are those you absolutely must resolve. And then there are those that would be nice to have resolved but that presume the whole apparatus works as expected and depend on those others.

And this exactly is what brings me to the concept of positive problems. If there is one thing where some startups go wrong, it's premature scaling. They start to think about scaling the technical side and architecture before they have proven the whole concept even works in practice. I consider scaling related issues a great example of positive problems. You should be glad to have those.

Before you have been able to prove the basic mechanics of your business model there isn't much sense in prematurely optimizing your system. It simply doesn't make sense to scale a zero. It remains a zero still. Rather optimize learning and find the winning combination, the right value proposal for the right market. Even achieving this can be a huge leap for a small company.

In short when prioritizing what to develop and when optimize learning in the beginning. It can be useful to have those scaling issues somewhere in back of your mind but I would not worry about it before you can find something that works. You can switch gears then. I know there will be people that disagree with this statement. In the end it comes down to what can you afford.