In the early hours of dawn in San Francisco, I flicked on my laptop and took in the livestream of the BizSpark Euro Summit. Just in time to see a few startups pitching, and then to listen to Bob Dorf, who sharpened people's understanding of what it means to run a startup.
If you are buildng a company or an app (which may one day be a company) you are doing something amazing. You are doing something that not a lot of people can do. you are listening to a set of problems, and you are building solutions for those problems.
Success looks like something that many people cna use to make their lives easier. If you are not building something like that with that mentality, then you are doing something that looks different than your real job.
Your job really is to give customers what they want. I want to really hang on that idea. I get tired of listening to startup founders (you don't hear this from developers much) talking about how they have a solution, but when you ask them more questions, you begin to wonder if they ever listened to anyone when they were building their products. People evoke Steve Jobs and they say, he was famous for saying people don't know what they want. Then why was he in the Apple Store every month? He was watching customers. He was learning how they work, and how they demand. He was not sitting in some kind of lead lined sanctuary, meditating and dropping acid. Well, maybe when he was younger.
It often seems an entrepreneur's own biases, and own experiences shape the app, or the business solution, more than their customer experiences. It's like they have a really cool idea, but they are still in search of a problem. Find the problem first.
You know an app is going to be successful, for example, when you use it, and you are like, "Oh, wow. I like how this solves this problem." Or, "Finally!" You know you might not have a successful app idea when you click on the icon and open up... another photo sharing app! Great!
Here's a rundown of some of these startup heroes at the Microsoft BizSpark Summit, in photographs and in tweets. If you want to join this community, you can do a few things.
Follow @bizspark on Twitter
Join our Facebook page.
Contact me on Twitter @douglascrets and tell me you want to blog with us.
Meet me at RocketSpace, where I hang out about three times a week. But tweet me first to make sure I am there. I might be interviewing people around the city.
And read more tweets and blog posts like this one. Enjoy. This stuff is for you, because it was made by people like you -- startup developers and founders who want to help people,and see the million dollar opportunities that come from such an exchange.