Any venture must be based on a clear, sound and inspiring vision. Simon Sinek, author of bestselling books such as Start with why and Leaders eat last, calls this vision a “Just Cause”. Without knowing why we are making the product and whom it stands to benefit we set ourselves up to fail regardless of the product’s features.
A Just Cause is a specific vision of a future state that does not yet exist; a future state so appealing that people are willing to make sacrifices in order to help advance toward that vision.
The Just Cause must be:
- For something — affirmative and optimistic
- Inclusive — open for all to contribute
- Service-oriented — for the benefit of others
- Resilient — able to endure change
— Simon Sinek, The Infinite Game —
I like Simon’s definition, especially where he says: “people are willing to make sacrifices”. People do not always expect a perfect product or service from the very beginning. Those who identify with the Just Cause are willing to tolerate some level of discomfort.
In 2016, a startup called Juceiro released a fancy product called the Juceiro Press. Juceiro’s concept was to repeat the success of Nespresso (see also: Keurig) capsules and to provide healthy, organic juice without the need for manual preparation from whole produce. Juceiro Press was a WiFi-connected juicer that used single-serving packets of chopped organic fruits and vegetables. The machine’s only function was to check whether the packet was an original Juceiro product, and that it had not exceeded its expiration date, and if so, squeeze it into a glass. The machine did not work without an internet connection and it cost $400. The startup received $120 million in venture capital funding from investors, including Google.
We do not know what Juceiro’s original Just Cause was, or whether they had one. It is certainly no bad idea to ease access to healthy organic juices and thereby help people to live healthier lives. However, if that was their Just Cause it is quite strange that they decided to advance towards it by developing a product whose only function was to squeeze a bag of raw ingredients that could be pressed manually to similar effect. This Bloomberg News article includes a video demonstrating the difference between the machine’s product and hand squeezing.
Stay tuned for the next article, in which we will focus on Product Validation.
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