I'm building something so ahead of its time that no one wants to use, yet :)
Insights into how Unbundle came to be
It's 2020, pandemic reigns, new startups are on the rise, and everyone is looking for the next big hit. Advice from entrepreneurial household names is flooding social media. Advice like "Talk to users", "An MVP shouldn't take more than 3 weeks in development" and many others are optimizing for a market-first approach:
Pitch it, do they like it? yes, build, else reiterate.
Yet, as an aspiring entrepreneur, I've always struggled with the "Pitch it" part. The struggle comes from drawing actionable insights while talking to users. I mean, do they even know what they want?
Do users know what they want?
As humans, we are wired to satisfy our needs, you might know this as Maslow's hierarchy of needs:
These are basic needs, we don't have to think hard to know what we are lacking, when you are hungry, you eat, when you are tired, you rest. However, how accurate is our judgment when we are faced with the fear of the unknown? Do we still identify the "need" as "compulsory"? What's the weight of the ambiguous future vs the weight of the need.
If there is a dinosaur in front of you, a huge pile of food, and you are finding yourself in a desert. Obviously, your survival mode will kick in and give away all that food to survive for another day.
Now, why am I getting into all of this spaghetti? The insights are pretty straightforward to draw ⇒
The superior -level wise- the need in the pyramid the less relevant it becomes when faced with a complex and ambiguous situation
Peoples’ judgment becomes biased by optimizing for the option they are most familiar and comfortable with
Now is the time to ask, is peoples’ judgment well thought through & optimized for the problem at hand?
It turns out as social beings, we are wired to follow the common path to solve a common problem. However, what if the common solution is a brute force solution? Even worse, what if the advertised solution is worse than a brute force approach and socially protected?
This gets me to my point: Building something out of the ordinary, that challenges the current beliefs and breaks the logical loop of processes is tough. When Elon Musk publicly announced his goal of getting people to Mars, he was thought of as a moron. A dreamer outcast who blew up his fortune on an illusion. Even worse, he is seen as an inspiration to many people (even to me).
I used "worse" as a testament to how volatile and unpredictable public opinion is. My co-founder and friend Maximilian Gutsche once said: "People don't know what they want". In other words, if the need falls at the top of the pyramid (=> relatively less relevant but existent) and is solved through an unoptimized solution, then it's time to find a better solution.
But then, what is all this fuss about? What am I building?
I'm building Unbundle. An infrastructure to help consultants and freelancers sell their services through subscriptions.
Let's unbundle the idea:
It’s hard for Self-Employed individuals to make a stable income doing what they love.
Attention is diverged on getting clients. Looking for work takes from 3 to 7 hours (or beyond) a day. Meaning at least 21 hours a week spent on just looking for clients as a mid-level freelancer. Check out this detailed report by Payoneer.
Parties suffering from the problem: Self-Employed individuals
Unoptimized solution(Brute force algorithm):
Spend time -in parallel to step 2- looking for other clients
Fill up months of pending work
THE solution: ?
Before diving into THE solution. What makes THE solution?
In brief, reimagining THE solution to a problem requires a great understanding of first principles. What makes the current solution what it is? Is it moved by an agenda? How people came to a common solution? What are the components of the common solution? And what are the raw materials that compose those components?
Once a detailed understanding of the first principles is set, one can start working on "candidate solutions". One candidate solution will emerge from the pool and that is THE solution.
Finding THE solution for Unbundle
After applying the process to find THE solution. We -my cofounder & I- have come with:
Combining subscription (stable revenue⇒ safety ) with creative work (doing what you love⇒ passion )
Now, does this mean Unbundle is THE solution? Absolutely not. Yet, the process has given us quite a head start, especially that I'm finding myself educating freelancers on the new way of making a stable revenue. Wild isn't it?
Unbundle is one of many projects that I set my eyes on. If you made it to this point, I'm sure you'll love meeting like-minded individuals! Join the public building of Unbundle on Twitter:
You can follow me on Twitter
Also, you can join the slack group for indie hackers who love building in public! The group remains free for the first 100 people before it goes into invite mode and probably gets behind a paywall.
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