Rise on your strengths

Solve hard technical problem for ONE obvious business opportunity (e.g. image recognition solution for construction industry). Better than solving an easy technical problem in a crowded marketplace (a messenger app).

– Matthew Clifford

Quite an insightful statement from Matt at a recent Google event at Campus London. Reminded me of a quote by someone else:

The wise warrior avoids the battle.

– Someone

David & Goliath

It also reminded me of couple of other sayings.

Fight to your strength, defend your weaknesses – anonymous

So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak. – Someone

What Matt and that someone are saying are perfectly in sync.

Matt, via Entrepreneur First, recruits young technical wizards, and equips them with business skills and support to help them launch exciting startups. By the definition of their recruitment filter, they attract people whose strength lies in solving hard technical problems, and who may have weaknesses in other areas – marketing skills to fight for growth and traction in crowded markets, for instance. For such teams, it makes obvious business sense to go after problems that are hard to solve technically, but (relatively) easy to sell to market. And thus, the insightful, powerful statement by Matt.

However. The statement isn’t the final truth for everyone. Following the second set of quotes above, you need to fight on ground that enhances your strengths, and hides your weaknesses, best. If you’re an excellent marketing & sales driver growth hacker, with possibly a good designer and an adequate developer for company, you might want to pick problems that are easy to solve technically, but in a big, vibrant (likely crowded) market – diametrically opposite to what Matt suggested.

And if you start succeeding, you’ll be well advised to acquire/acquihire/poach some of the graduates of Matt’s EF program :)