Society's Problems are Not Customer Problems

I see lots of business pitches that confuse Society Problems with actual Customer Problems.

Here are some examples of Society Problems:

  • Americans are too obese.
  • Too few kids have access to college.
  • Too many bicyclists get hit by cars.
  • Society Problems are usually things we all know should be fixed but haven't. Why? Well, they're hard. They are also our common problem rather than an individual customer's problem. That makes it really hard to get paid.

    Customer problems can be identified because they have nouns that are people or businesses:

  • Boats are expensive to operate because they require too many people to drive them.
  • Online retailers have too many returns because sizes are hard to guess for online shoppers.
  • Accountants spend too much effort getting their customer's bank statements.
  • (BTW, these last three bullet points are all problem statements for startups backed by the Geekdom Fund.)

    Customer problems are addressable. You can go find the customer, fix their problem and get paid for doing so. That's how businesses are built.

    There are great companies created to solve our Society's problems, but they do so by starting with customers first.

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