If you aspire to be a software entrepreneur, you have a lot to learn. The more I learnt and looked ahead, the more I realized that I knew nothing.

In the words of Einstein,

‘’The more you learn, the less you realize you know.’’

When the world around you notices how much you have grown from all the learning, it wants to tap into you. What I mean by that is a whole different post so let’s leave that for another day.

I can’t speak for those on this path with me, but when I look back at myself about 6 months ago, I understand now that I was blind.

As entrepreneurs, we want to solve problems, and make money in the process. This isn’t often the case but that is our high. Solutions come to us as instantly as we see problems. Validation is just one of the boxes you have to check off. You pray there is someone out there who feels the pain that you believe to have identified, will log onto your website, put in their card details and click confirm. You dream of someone who will download you app never to uninstall it. When speaking with potential customers and users to find better understand their pain, we are careful not to impose a potential solution. We have learnt to isolate our very own ideas of what we think the solution is or should look like. With time and practice, we muster the courage to fight the urge to ask this very question every single day:

“I have an app that solves [this problem you are having]. Will you use it?”

Every so often when we spot a problem, most times our immediate solution sounds something like this,

“An app that helps you [envisioned solution goes here]

But let’s take a step back, and grow up for a second. I say grow up simply because grown ups are associated with being in the habit of thinking through their problem, though it’s not always the case. So in the spirit of reasoning, let’s grow up for a second and ask ourselves,

“Is the solution to a problem necessarily an app?”.

When we disregard the impact of this question we end up building “new straws that help us drink water easily”. Sometimes the simplest answer to some of these problem is for the human race to grow up. But asking that is asking a fish to climb a tree. We have never been more stupid — so we get apps to abate our stupidity.

Let’s face facts. Its 2016. Apps are the new rage. There is an app for everything. From finding sex, to mapping all the places you have pooped at (yes, that actually exists). There is always that app that promises the ultimate solution. Do we really need to build one more app that will forever chase home screen real estate? I dare ask once again, do I really need an app to solve this problem?

We need to start rethinking our approach to solutions as a whole. It is one thing to identify a problem. It is another thing to identify a solution. It is an entirely different thing to find a solution that optimally solves the problem you identified. It might not seem like much, but it dictates how you will go about solving your problem. It is for this same reason that there are hundreds of ‘Todo’ apps out there, but we all still love one in particular, despite all the ‘blissful’ functionalities it may lack. (I love Google keep).

If you catch yourself thinking that building an app is the solution even before you have thought through why people are having a particular problem, perhaps you need to take a step back and grow up.

I hope we learn to really analyze the solutions we create to solve problems. In the meantime, I pray that Chanl isn’t a straw that ‘bends at the elbow’ and helps you drink water easily as you are lying in your bed.