Why Building a Product Businesses “Like” is Not Enough


“We cannot go after thousands of men until we learn how to win one.” – Claude Hopkins, Scientific Advertising Author

It’s a counterintuitive idea, but early on, building a product that a few people love is better than building a product that a lot of people like.

Y Combinator president Sam Altman explains the idea in the Stanford course How to start a startup below (Segment starts at 16:40, but the whole course is worth watching – As is the Lean B2B Course!):

To sum up his thoughts, a product that is merely liked by customers leads to failure (sometimes without even realizing it).

If you build something that a few people love (truly love), you can get a lot of things wrong and still win.

Once you’ve got something some people love, you can expand into something a lot more people love because the keys to growth are a great product and word of mouth.

It’s the same reason why I suggest that founders read/re-read the book Crossing the Chasm before every startup. If you focus on a niche segment, create a product your users want (and love) and dominate your market, your business can scale into adjacent markets.

Do things that don’t scale, gather feedback from your most passionate users and iterate the product. This is how you’ll get most things right in your startup.


⚡⚡ Enjoyed this content? I go into way more detail on this subject in Lean B2B. It covers the ins and outs of finding traction in the market for B2B products. Check it out »


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