A couple weeks ago I was speaking with a friend of mine who’s also an investor about a new project that I’ve been working on. One of his first questions was, “What’s the problem that you’re solving?” The more I think about it, the less I think the answer to that question actually matters. Most consumer web startups don’t solve any unique needs: they all help us fill time.
Do you think Mark Zuckerberg responded to the problem question with, “Facebook solves the problem of there not being efficient enough systems for stalking people.” More importantly, there were plenty of other social networks at the same time when Facebook came out, most specifically, MySpace. All Zuckerberg needed to do was go into a meeting and show that he had millions of people and a check was written (yes, that simplifies the story, but you get the point). It also brings me to my point: the only problem you have is that millions of people aren’t using your product.
Your job is to solve that problem. There are countless reasons that millions of people are not flocking to your app, but your job is to figure out how to get them to. Stop worrying about people who ask you what problem you’re solving. My guess is that many great ideas started with the phrase, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” Then someone went on to explaining/teaching the masses why that thing is cool. All the questions that investors ask you are simply ways to weed you out.
Let’s be honest, if you can answer the question: “How many users do you have?” with the response “millions”, you’ll have solved your biggest problem.