Constraints are Your Friends

Matt Harvey, Stanford University February 11, 2011

It’s easy for entrepreneurs to become discouraged when looking at the competitive landscape for a new product idea. However, as a small startup, or as an individual entrepreneur working on the next great idea, how can you possibly “out effort” a major corporation? Rather than becoming frustrated that you don’t have the financial and human capital of an Apple, Cisco, or Facebook, embrace the fact that constraints can be your friends.

In the video clip below, David Heinemeier Hansson, partner at 37signals, explains how constraints help you examine the reality of what you can achieve, and also allow you to focus on bringing the best possible product to life. An individual or small team only has so many hours to put towards developing a new product, so it might be wise to consider building a simple, innovative product that allows you to avoid getting into head-to-head competition against 800-pound corporate gorillas. David Heinemeier Hansson also articulates why this approach can pay major dividends when it comes to winning over customers.