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Entrepreneur Office Hours: Issue #205
What can you do with 1,000 chocolate bars?
While I don’t live a wildly exciting life, mildly strange things occasionally happen to me. One such thing occurred this week when I somehow wound up with over 1,000 MrBeast chocolate bars.
What does one do with 1,000 MrBeast chocolate bars?
Well, if you’re like me, you also happen to teach a class called “Learning to Fail” where you regularly challenge students to do ridiculous things. In this case, I challenged them to build models of Duke Chapel — the centerpiece building on my university’s campus — using chocolate bars.
Here’s the TikTok where I document the adventure:
While I should probably spend the rest of this space discussing the importance of the entrepreneurial lessons related to my chocolate bar challenge, I actually just want to reiterate how much I’m starting to love creating content on TikTok.
I know I probably sound like an 18-year-old here. And I also realize that, in its early days, TikTok was little more than a platform for tweens to do silly dances. But it’s evolved into an incredible storytelling and teaching tool.
I know I seem like a broken record here, but, if you’re not exploring ways of telling the story of yourself and your work on TikTok, you’re missing out on an enormous entrepreneurial opportunity.
Some thoughtful early planning can lay a great foundation for creating the kind of businesses other companies want to buy.
You don’t have to be a marketing expert to build a successful startup, but every entrepreneur should at least learn the fundamentals of advertising.
Office Hours Q&A
I'm in the early stages of customer validation for my startup idea. I'm struggling to determine the right balance between sticking to my original vision versus being flexible and changing the concept based on customer feedback.
When do you know that feedback means you should fully pivot versus mildly adapt? What are the signs that your initial idea is fundamentally flawed versus just needing small adjustments to better fit the market?
The balance between conviction and flexibility is a fine line every founder walks. Too much conviction leads to stubbornness. Too much flexibility creates chaos.
A helpful framework here is the 1-3-10 rule. FYI – it’s not my rule. I stole it from someone, but I can’t remember who, and I’m sorry for not giving that person credit.
Anyway… the 1-3-10 rule tells us if 1 person doesn't get your version, that person is probably an outlier, so ignore what you’ve been told. If 3 people don't get your vision, investigate why with curiosity. If 10 people don't get the vision, it might be time for radical change.
In other words, you want to make decisions based on patterns, not single datapoints. One person not liking or understanding something doesn’t mean anything. Ten people is a strong clue that you're going in the wrong direction. It’s time to return to first principles – where is the disconnect between your vision and your customers’ needs?
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!