Essays/linkedin/23-12-12 business readiness
📚 One of my earlier mistakes was to focus on technology readiness instead of customer readiness. While TRL are well defined, they focus on an idealized situation: a perfect customer who knows exactly what they want.
Technology Readiness Levels were defined by NASA to sort suppliers based on some standard qualifiers that worked for them. However, developing technology does not say anything about the business readiness when customers are not well defined.
Business readiness, on the other hand, has no metric.
I have seen pitch decks saying "we interviewed 100 customers", others stating the size and growth rate of the market they want to be in. Or startups that build growing teams as soon as there is funding. What is unclear is what is enough at every step of the way.
A good question would be: can you find customers at every path of your TRL development?
Right after you did the experiment in the lab, would a partner (former postdoc now PI, collaborator, etc.) be willing to get a copy of the system as-is? As soon as you establish a larger footprint of tests, would a power-user get their hands on a rough version?
Low TRL and commercialization are not mutually exclusive. Focusing too much on technology is tempting for scientific founders, it's our comfort zone. That's why finding co-founders with complementary personalities is o important.
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