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Jenny’s drowning startup

Jenny’s heart was all in on her startup, a novel app that aimed to revolutionize online learning. But months post-launch, the expected user growth was stagnant. Maybe, Jenny thought, it just wasn’t good enough.

So, she started adding. A new gamified feature one week, a collaborative tool the next. Her team was on a whirlwind, constantly brainstorming and deploying. “Let’s cast a wider net,” she declared, launching the startup on every conceivable social platform, from TikTok to Pinterest.

Webinars began filling their calendar, alongside speaking engagements, podcasts, and even a fledgling YouTube channel. And every time user engagement dipped or plateaued, Jenny’s solution was consistent: add more.

In team meetings, the whiteboard that once held a singular vision was now a maze of arrows, diagrams, and plans. New team members were hired, not for the core product, but for the ancillary features. The mission statement of the startup morphed weekly.

But amidst the hustle, the app reviews began mirroring a singular sentiment: “It’s become too cluttered.” And the numbers agreed. Users were overwhelmed, and many were leaving.

One evening, in a haze of exhaustion, Jenny stumbled upon the first sketch of her app, penned on a coffee-stained napkin. It was simple, direct, elegant. It reminded her of the original problem she sought to solve and her initial vision.

She called an emergency meeting. The room’s tension was palpable. With the worn napkin in hand, Jenny spoke, “We have a diamond here, but instead of polishing it, we’ve been covering it with decorations. We need to return to its core brilliance.”

The path forward was clear. They needed to refine, not expand. Strip away the trappings and polish the core idea until it sparkled with clarity and purpose.

As they honed in on the essence of the app, its true value shone through. The user experience became smoother, and the app’s core functionalities more robust. The startup, once lost in a sea of embellishments, found its identity and success by showcasing its original, polished gem.

What’s the diamond core of your story?

Lead boldly, speak wisely!

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz



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