Solve. Somebody’s. Problem.

A few months ago I did a startup help call with Bob Kinnison.  Bob had just moved on from Athlete’s Audio, his startup, and we talked about what he learned and his future.  It was an inspiring conversation and I remember it like it was yesterday – mostly because Bob is one of those rare people who can turn “failure” into a positive learning experience.

He’s also a great storyteller as you’ll see in this video about his experience.  I hope you find it as inspiring as I do.



Bob’s story isn’t original – I’ve certainly wasted more time and money making the same mistakes.  But by making it so personal he reminds us all about what really matters in entrepreneurship.  Here is what I took away from it.

Hard work isn’t enough

Execution is hard – really hard.  Customers don’t want to buy.  Tech is hard to build.  Talent is hard to find.

I can get so wrapped-up in the day-to-day hard work and forget that success comes from doing the right things – not just doing things.

Get real with yourself

“Why am I doing this?” is a question I’ve been asking myself lately.  I’ve been evaluating a number of great opportunities and each time I try to examine my own motivations.  Why should I spend my time on this?  For money?  Because I think it will be fun?  For my own ego?  Because somebody else thinks it is a good idea?

Whatever my reasons, they all better fuel one motivation …

Solve. Somebody’s. Problem

When in doubt, start with WHO.  First pick the market you want to serve and then look for a problem to solve for them.  Help them.  Focus relentlessly on making them more effective at doing whatever matters most to them.  The rest is b.s.


He has a number of other great tips in the video description on Youtube – worth a quick read.

Bob…you will achieve amazing things – of that I have no doubt.  Thanks for sharing your story with us and making us all a little smarter.


Photo credit: “Everything” by Logan Campbell

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