The Paradox of Giving The Market What They Want

Sales and marketing

This opinion post is a response to discussions by panelists at the Open Channel Generation Next Kids conference in Melbourne, Australia, on July 22-23, 2013. Panelists included Daniel Donahoo of Deeper Richer, Anna Komasz of the Australian Children's Television Foundation, and Mark Niems of Pulse LearningIt is based on the eLearning industry, specifically for children, but presents some food-for-thought for most entrepreneurs.

When it comes to money, I've heard many businessmen (and women) want to go with the safe and secure - whether in investments, subcontractors, producers or partnerships. I mean, who doesn't want to make the "right" decisions? However, in my opinion, this is a bit paradoxical because entrepreneurs are risk-takers by nature. We start and grow our businesses, knowing the 9 out of 10 times we fail.   

While listening to the final session panelists at #gennextkids, on eLearning, Mark Niems (Pulse Learning) said: 

Stop building before you've figured out if your product or service is going to sell or not. 

This is certainly sound advice, and runs along the same lines as Noah Kagan of Appsumo, "Test the market before you build anything polished."

You can create "prototypes," but don't waste your time and energy if nobody cares about it.

Something even I have learned the hard way.

Now, there are certainly exceptions, like Youtube stars who posted videos they were passionate about then exploded in millions of views. Increasingly rare these days as more and more videos flood Youtube.

Also, money-wise, we don't know how much they make from the content alone. They may be paid to advertise for other companies, or be paid sponsor fees, but how sustainable is that?

Mark also talks about going to the market and confirming what they want, THEN doing exactly that.

However, is that always the best direction? If Henry Ford listened to what the market wanted, we wouldn't have had the Assembly Line or the revolution of automotives. If he asked the market what they wanted, they would've said faster horses. But, in the context of making money, I can see why Mark would say it's far easier to create something that people want, than taking risks and building something they don't want (immediately). This line of thinking also seems on par with something I read recently:

Make what YOU want your serious hobby. Make what OTHERS want your business. Click to tweet

Now, everybody wants to be able to get paid doing what they love - and it's certainly possible - but is it easier to give what others want before getting what you want? What are your thoughts? How have you followed, or run opposite, this sort of advice?


George Siosi Samuels

George Siosi Samuels

Creative Director & Founder at Siosism

George Siosi Samuels is the Creative Director of Siosism™, a storytelling company specializing in cultural animation and explainer videos. He typically works with entrepreneurs, social innovators and culture-driven enterprises. With a mission to bridge gaps and spread harmony, he helps you to animate your work, culture or business.


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Han Teng

Han Teng ,

hi George, i can see where you are coming from and it is true. I think it comes down to what can an entrepreneur fall back on if he/she fails. If he/she deems that what is left when the business fails is still "enough", then they will be willing to take more risk and ignore what the market wants. With so much pressure from potential customers, it'll be only a matter of time when one will question him/herself if what they're striving for is actually feasible. However, this is a very 'rational' kind of thinking. A true entrepreneur is able to see the future and form it as he/she wants it to be thus his/her decisions now may not seem rational to most people around them. Thank you for the great article