#Asia Respect: This Founder bares all and shares exactly why his startup failed

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It is easy for the Peter Thiels of the world to offer advice, but the best guidance comes from our peers still slogging through the mud

Leggo

[Editor’s Note] Before hearing from Edric Subur about his experience as Co-founder and CEO of Leggo, we wanted to give readers a very short synopsis of what the service provided. 

Leggo was a meet-up messaging app and wanted to solve the pain point of a WhatsApp conversation becoming a mess when a large group is trying to organise a get together. 

“Leggo works with a few tabs to indicate when, where and who you want to meet. Your friends don’t need to have the app — they’ll receive a text with a link embedded. They click on it and vote on time and location. It consolidates the votes and informs you on what’s the best plan,” Subur told e27 back in January 2015. 

Now, let’s hear from Subur. 

The (in)famous post-mortem post

Recently, I had to return my pass to Singapore Management University’s Business Innovations Generator for my startup Leggo because I had stopped working on it.

Although it has been over a month since I decided to quit Leggo, I can not help but feel sentimental about giving away the last attachment I had to our startup.

[The BIG staff member] asked me why did we fail? And what have we learned? I gave him a quick few one liners, but I think the full one-year of battle deserves more justice.

Also Read: How pivoting saved Taiwan’s Gogoro from failure

So here it goes: the the famous post-mortem-why-did-we-fail-what-have-we-learned post.

Not listening to customers

As much of a lean startup advocate I am, in the middle of the journey I found I had come down with the assume-customer-will-like-it-by-adding-this-cool-feature disease.

We got too paranoid about what our competitors were doing and added their features to Leggo; making the false assumption that our users would also love it. We ended up with a jumbled up product that customers did not understand.

Unfortunately, this discovery was made after a much-too-late validation.

So point is, talk to your customers at every step of the way.

Taking the green light too easily

This is a radical problem all optimistic founders have.

In one of our ‘almost failing’ consultations with Virginia — our entrepreneur in residence — she asked, “I don’t get why people don’t want to use it while your interviews revealed that they do?”.

I came up with an ‘oh the real world is different’ excuse but deep down I knew that my mistake from the very beginning was shaping the truth to my own favour.

I over-highlighted when a potential customer would make the slightest agreement with our idea while ignoring most of their negative cues.

Had I been brutally honest with myself, I could have failed way back in February 2015 when people were not responding well to our first version. Instead, we made our own case as to why users are not using the product. It took us another 7 months of iteration to build a product that people don’t need.

Chasing vanity metrics

For people not looking at our real data, it would be easy to assume that Leggo is doing great.

The reason was because of all the publicity I circulated on social media. Press coverage, funding, competition, these are all the cosmetics adorning us from the outside.

But inside, we were bleeding.

Going after these shallow validations distracted us from doing what truly matters and fooled us into thinking that everything was okay.

Not building something people need.

At the end, everything boils down to this.

As mentioned in All In Startup, we were not solving a ‘migraine problem’. People get headaches about scheduling a meet-up once in awhile but they can live with it.

The pain is not strong enough for people to switch from the traditional method of doing things. What is worse, we were easily comparable with the competition.

Also Read: Why do startups fail: Part 1

Our product was not bad, but it was just okay. And being okay does not cut it in the cut-throat startup world.

We needed to be different, we needed to be memorable, and most importantly, we needed to be 10x better than the existing solution; we needed to go from ‘Zero to One’.

With that, I can finally close this chapter in peace. I’m excited to embark on my new adventure with Prabot and apply all the things I have learned.

You will not go to waste, my dear Leggo.

So long for now.

This article was originally published on Medium.

The post Respect: This Founder bares all and shares exactly why his startup failed appeared first on e27.

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