While discussing the features of our new product in the Startup that I’m working on, my co-founder told me to hold my gun and focus on the first principle – what are we trying to solve here.
I was too eager to show off the tools we were building but he insisted not to as we are not ready. The tools will set off lots of expectation from the potential customer and we will end up focusing on the tool and not the problem.
The potential customer, as a normal human being, will also praise the tools and say good things – which, btw, is the least useful data for us to valuate anything.
If you are going to show a gun, be ready to use/fire it for the right purpose. If we are showing the tools, then that tools should be useful to the potential customer.
Chekhov’s gun is a dramatic principle that states that every element in a story must be necessary, and irrelevant elements should be removed. Elements should not appear to make “false promises” by never coming into play.
So, if you are going to show a tool/demo, be ready to use it and make sure it is relevant.
- Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.
- One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn’t going to go off. It’s wrong to make promises you don’t mean to keep.