Hacker Career Advice
What I Learned From Fyre Festival
The original concept for Fyre was a marketplace for booking talent, like celebrities & musicians. The origin story? Founder Billy McFarland tries to book Ja Rule for a party, realizes the booking industry is broken, and resolves to change it.
It’s not a bad idea either. Certainly no worse than an app for hailing taxis, because “finding a cab in San Francisco is broken.”
So, Billy parlays his good idea into a startup, raises funds, hires a team of devs to turn it into a working product, and seeks out creative ways to market and launch it, including the ill-fated music festival.
Obviously, things went from interesting marketing stunt to full-blown dumpster fyre pretty quickly. But if you look beyond the scam, Billy’s real failure—in my opinion—is that he never validated Fyre’s product/market fit.
Until you know that your customers, and not just investors, want & value your product, you don’t need to spend heavily in marketing or PR.
Bottom line: Don’t be like Billy. Focus on finding your product/market fit first and then look for innovative ways to reach customers.
Also, and I hope this isn’t news to you: don’t lie, scam, or abuse people’s trust.