Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

Knowing your Market: Analysis vs. Dissection

Posted on: May 22, 2007

You need to know who your customers are. That’s an absolute statement when it comes to business. But where do you draw the lines on that regard?

There are two kinds of analysis that usually goes on. I think the best way to explain this would be by means of an analogy:

There is the first kind of analysis where you walk into a forest, and you can absolutely predict the behaviour, pattern and living environment of the world’s deadliest mammal. You know the area well enough, do have a keen sense of hearing anything that comes your way, and can spot the mammal a mile away – or even track it if required to pursue it. This is the analysis which comes from a hunter’s point of view – or a naturalist’s view.

Then there is the second kind of analysis. Where you just walk into a forest, or even ask someone to go there for you, catch a mammal, bring it to the lab, and just dissect it and start studying its anatomy. By inferences of its evolution – sight, strength, size, and speed, you can profile the animal quite vividly. That’s the analysis which comes from a scientist and academician’s point of view.

I am strongly against the case of the latter. If it is business that you are keen on, then your focus should be on observing, rather than capture and dissecting – a process that kills. Also usually with the academician’s point of view, we study so that we can manipulate. Something that goes beyond the natural order of things when it comes to ‘see a need, fill a need’ motto of running a business.

Unfortunately I am coming across a high number of companies lately that are going the way of the scientist. I have my suspicions that the incubation centres that are based out of academic institutions might be the reason behind that. Perhaps, and I hope that they will change their perspectives to that of a naturalist.

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