Yesterday, I wrote a post about the concept of founder-market fit. The whole idea is that someone who has great experience in their industry or discipline will have an easier time being successful with their start-up.
A friend of mine, John Peltier brought up a good counter-point in the comments section. He mentioned the challenge that entrepreneurs with experience in their industry may take short-cuts with their product because they assume that they know the space. It makes sense to see where John is coming from with this. In order to be innovative, you have to look for inspiration outside of what you know. This reminds me of the famous Henry Ford saying: “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have said ‘a faster horse’.”
In my response, I said that an entrepreneur creating a short-cut because they believe that they know an industry could also be a good thing. The best way to improve a product is to make an assumption or hypothesis, and then prove it right or wrong. So as long as the entrepreneur can see the writing on the wall (whether the idea is gaining traction), I believe that quick assumptions could be a quality trait.
So this brings up the question: is it better to understand the space of which you are an entrepreneur, or is it better to be an outsider bringing new solutions to old problems? What are your thoughts?