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Beartraps 2020-12-23 20:22:39

I've noticed that founders can take one of two approaches when serving their customers. They can either remove beartraps or provide superhero-capes. This post explores beartraps.

Beartraps are obstacles preventing someone from taking a swing. For example it used to be difficult to deploy an ecommerce storefront. In the 90s and early 2000s you needed to know how to code, or pay someone who did, to develop and deploy a custom ecommerce solution. This set the barrier for conducting commerce online extremely high.

I believe one of the greatest, recent beartrap removals was Shopify decimating this barrier to entry in e-commerce. By offering anyone with internet access and a spare $30 dollars a month all the digital tools required to sell online, Shopify has exploded the number of people who fit into the demographic of 'able to start an online business'. 

There had been plenty of no-code website builder tools back in 2006. There had also been plenty of payment gateways that allowed you to conduct online credit card transactions, and lastly plenty of web hosting providers. Shopify was the first to successfully bundle and offer what these separate solutions were offering to e-commerce specific practitioners (mostly web developers) and offer one just for merchants.

Shopify's first customers weren't merchants already selling online successfully, their first customers were people who couldn't sell online because they had a beartrap gnawing on their leg. They found online merchants as customers not by finding them, but by enabling them.



More from Abraham Kim

Much easier to avoid a bear trap instead of trying to remove one "gnawing at the leg," no?
2020-12-23 21:41:12
In this example I envision the path through a forest as the journey. And the beartrap removal is like coming and getting rid of these beartraps that these people keep running into.

So for an individual it's definitely easier to avoid a bear trap. But from the perspective of a founder it's much easier to solve people's beartrap problems.

let me propose a thought experiment for you. Would your newsletter be easier to write for people with painful problems (say sleep or diabettes) or would it be easier to write for people with little painful problems (none of those and are just jolly and zen lol).
2020-12-24 17:13:40
I would say it depends on the problem. Sleep doesn't seem to be a popular topic even though millions of people are sleep-deprived. Food/diet topics tend to be more crowd-pleasing. In terms of easier or harder to write, it's much easier to write about topics I'm interested in for sure.
2020-12-24 21:09:02
Oh wow so there should be a different word for problems/deficits taht people don't know they have. Becaue obviously so many people are sleep-deprived but they don't feel it like a beartrap. It's like a hidden worm inside them.
2020-12-24 21:28:51
oh wow did you see what just happened? Timezone shift? Interesting edge case we've uncovered
2020-12-25 15:04:45
I did not notice what happened. I am in a different timezone than normal. Did that throw something off in the back-end? How do you ascertain someone's timezone?
2020-12-25 15:36:16
mmm to me the comments in this thread changed ordering. But when I look into the database I see that you haven't actually changed your timezone. It still says you're in America/Phoenix. I'll have to look into what's caused the ordering change.

Backend accepts whatever user sets as their timezone on their profile-edit page.
2020-12-25 15:48:35
eh nevermind. I was just seeing things. The ordering is correct. carry on.
2020-12-25 15:55:43