When we started back in 2015, we thought: Exploring how a to-be-constructed house would be in 3D before buying it, is obviously how the world should function. So, we simply started building it. Once we had prototype, we started talking to customers.
For the first 10 months, we couldn't get a single customer. We just kept building what we envisioned the product to be. Around the 11th month, the product reached a level of maturity and customers started buying. We were happy to find users for our product. By the end of the 1st year, we started getting good traction.
Then, we started thinking: "Ok, we thought this product should exist. It does now and people are using it. What now?".
At this point, it occurred to us that we were business men now and we ought to think like business men. So, we decided to come up with a strategy for how we can build a $100000B business. To build that big a business, we figured we had to target a large market. And people also told us we need to address a burning need. Right, that makes sense.
We decided we should build a real estate market place. We spoke to all our customers. We interviewed a lot of people who bought houses. We interviewed people who were planning to buy houses. We spoke to industry veterans. We understood the pain points. We realised where the competitors were not doing well. We understood the challenges in execution as well. It would be hard, but we knew it could be done.
Then we did a pilot, where we signed up a few people interested in buying a house. We assisted them in buying the house at a fixed charge. We were also fleshing out the product requirements from the interactions. The response we got from home buyers was overwhelming. We started getting enquiries through word of mouth without us even asking. Large market, check. Burning need, check. Scope for competitive differentiation, check.
After the 3rd week, we didn't feel like working on it anymore. Wait, what?
We were just not excited to work on the idea. We had worked on a product for over 10 months with no positive response from the market, but never looked back. But we didn't feel like working on this new direction when we had such terrific response and such a great ambition infront of us. Why was this?
On thinking more deeply about the experience, we realised it happened because simply building a big business was not meaningful for us. Discovering passion is finding this internal sense of meaning. We had always worked on things we found meaningful. We didn't really know what it meant to work on something we were not passionate about.
Passion was not something that we were consciously excited about. It was that calm driving force that we had taken for granted. We realised that passion is not the diamond that lets us cut the stone. It is the flow of water that lets us erode the stone with persistence.
So, we gave up that market size approach to figuring out our place in the world. We started looking inwards. We started asking ourselves: What makes meaning for us?
After almost a year of reflection, a lot of philosophical debates and thought provoking wisdom from more experienced people in life, we feel we understand ourselves and our purpose better.