The strategist

People talk themselves into starting companies usually. It’s kind of fun to daydream about and a thing that some very technical, smart people do is sit in their corporate jobs and get enamoured with a strategic or theoretical insight.

This happened to me of course, but an even better example is this former Goldman banker and former BD head at a monster clean tech startup. Came to me pitching an idea that turned on buying energy from power companies at their wholesale rate and selling it at the retail rate, to owners of electric cars, in a virtual spot market.

I mean it was weird, impractical, lengthy to explain, but based on a really glaring “arbitrage opportunity” (warning! There are none!). Went nowhere.

Variants: – market inefficiencies – entrenched incumbent strategies – psychological or behavioral deficits/biases – basically any hocus pocus that says “other people don’t know what I know”

My point is this: if there isn’t an excellent compelling product idea linked to a customer problem, beware. The Adam Smith Invisible Hand will beat the crap out of you. Strategic insight won’t help. So if your idea smells like this, dump it for something that requires real work.