Originally posted in our May 2021 Top of Mind Newsletter.
Thinking about obliquity in more practical terms, we could understand the concept of achieving a complex and dynamic goal by finding the smaller, more achievable goals that make up the whole. When we think about entrepreneurial ventures, we talk about minimally viable products (MVP), which are, in a way, a simplification of a more complex mission.
In a guest blog for Steve Blank, investor Shawn Carolan writes about the importance of MVPs and breaks down how we can find one in our respective field to eventually achieve the business’s mission.
He writes about how resource limitations are often a critical barrier to achieving the end goal of a startup, but in fact, this becomes the secret to success. When you don’t have finances, you are forced to find the simplest solution to a problem faced by most people that generally align with your mission. Simply put, how little can you do to create buy-in from as many people, and will this keep them interested in your solution? As more people buy into your solution and stay for more, you then “earn the right to build more.”
For a tech company with an ambitious goal to become the quintessential platform for a particular service, this might look like focusing on a specific market segment, then expanding as you continue to grow and retain users of your platform. In time (remembering the concept of obliquity), working towards the mission will create sustainable growth and uncover opportunities that were not obvious when defining the business’s goals at the start.