Differentiated Beliefs

May 21, 2024

When building a startup, you must have a differentiated belief about the world. Some truth that few people agree with you on, but that you know is true. Some way of thinking about the world that the incumbent products miss. And then you start building from there.

AirBnB's belief was that strangers would allow strangers to stay at their places.

Apple's belief was that people want a high-end personal computer in their pockets.

OpenAI's belief was that large language models allow for useful intelligence if you scale enough.

Those differentiated beliefs are what determine the initial spark of success when working on ideas. It may become less relevant once you grabbed a large market, and scaled. But in the early days of a company, you need a differentiated view of the world and work your way backwards.

At jamie, we believe that a specific, opinionated user interface on-device is preferred over a general voice or text AI assistant to eliminate busy-work.

We may or may not be right about this. And if we find out that we aren't we adjust. But we are building from this belief.

I would go as far as saying that every company is building from a belief about the world. Consciously or unconsciously. And the differentiated bit, in other words, is your unique selling point in the market.

When you work on companies, become aware of the differentiated belief about the world that you are building from.