Every problem has an owner

I spend a huge amount of time going through startup slide decks with founders. One thing I frequently discuss is who the owner of their problem is.

Most decks (rightly) start with the big problem the startup is trying to solve. The big problem can be everything from inefficiencies to the climate crisis. Unfortunately, many decks fail to clearly communicate who the owner of the problem they’re solving is.

Because every problem has one or more owners. Put differently, all problems are subjective. My impression is this is (too) obvious for most founders, and thus fail to include it in their deck which is their plan. This is a bad idea.

Very often, this is a reflection of a company that hasn’t though enough about their go-to-market strategy. What will their beachhead market be? Who will the company target with their product - who owns the problem? And maybe even more important, who they won’t target?

A problem owner should be a specific type of person or company, and if it’s a company also the specific role(s) within said company. Once the owner(s) of a company’s problem is communicated clearly, it’s a lot easier to further dissect a company’s product and plans - and potentially build confidence around an investment opportunity. Everyone wins.