I love little catch phrases that make you think about something in a new way. A few months back my good friend Connor Murphy and I were chatting and he couched his current state of being a founder as “living in a sea of assumptions”. This phrase perfectly describes the discovery process I think about all-the-time when I meet a current founder. I call it the assumption/validation game.

In this case, Connor was talking about identifying said assumptions and trying to validate them one by one. This is the essence of early stage entrepreneurship. You are operating with a multitude of unverified beliefs, hypotheses, or expectations about your business model, market, customer behavior, product fit, and overall potential for success. The more you validate, the closer you get to a certified high-growth company.

At the early stage, concrete data and experience is limited, leading founders to make decisions and strategize based on what they assume to be true without having solid evidence to back those assumptions up. That is OK – that is kinda the point at this juncture.. Embrace it don’t be afraid of it

But many founders at this stage fall into a trap; they skip the validation effort and make assumptions about their assumptions. The trap is usually created out of fear, laziness, arrogance, ignorance or a combination.

What Connor was referring to was his current mindset and state of his company where he had identified most if not all of the major assumptions of his business and his ship was rocking and rolling in the proverbial sea.

Why do I know this? Because his next statement was “I need to see land soon” referring to his desire to slay those assumptions and finally find land where he would have product/market fit. Identify the major assumptions about your business, conceive of ways to validate those assumptions, then take the answers to those questions and build a business model. That is the only goal for you and frankly the only milestone that makes sense. 

SIDE NOTE: One of the best tools you can use to play this game is identifying and connecting with people who can help you on your journey. Check out Connor’s very cool app called BRDG – which I use everyday to make introductions between people. It conveniently sits within gmail which is brilliant. BRDG’s super power is that this platform will also help you find the right people much faster and better than LinkedIn. Go try it – you can thank me later.