One of the shortcuts I use to get a quick read on whether a venture has any real hope for success is to ask the founders “So, tell me about your customers.”
Tragically, many founders find this question a bit jarring. Entrepreneurs talk incessantly about their product, their positioning and their fund-raising activities, but many don’t really think about their customers as if they were actual people with real problems and busy lives.
Those founders who excitedly explain who their customers are, the particular frustrations these people feel, and how the new product making their life a little bit better are likely on the path to success. Startups whose founders brush off the question and steer the conversation back to their vision or fundraising are probably not long for this world.