While I do not place full blame, the writers behind the Field Of Dreams deserve some sort of culpability for the proliferation of the quote: “if you build it, they will come.” Fast forward to today and that idea has spread like wildfire in the startup community.
Perhaps not a direct attribution, but many founders / makers subscribe to (consciously or more likely unconsciously) this idea when they are in pursuit of building their company.
The reality is that, in building anything, you must build it AND get people to come.
I want to make the case that – at an early stage startup – no one will come unless you get them. There is this widespread belief that great products “just win.” We have romanticized the founder and her/his idea so much that we forget about the actual execution.
“Building it” does not mean they will come. You need to figure out who they are, get to know them, and bring them along a journey such that they are interested in coming.
None of this easy 🙂