To add value, you have to discover the meaning of value.
One of the fundamental lessons in business is about adding value. It's a tough lesson for people who don't come from a business background. As a design-minded or product-centric founder, you might wonder what else do you have to do in terms of adding value when you are already pouring your heart and soul out into the product to make it useful to others. There's the catch.
Your care almost doesn't matter. Because what you think is useful to others is often not. This is unfortunate but because we don't possess the magical power of reading other people's minds, we have to depend on actually asking them what they want or value. I've been amazed at how many times what I thought they valued was different from the reality.
A good habit worth cultivating is to immerse yourselves in the community. Strive to learn what they value by asking questions. By befriending them. By showing empathy and genuinely giving without asking much. But this won't happen magically. All of this is tedious and somebody has to do the leg work. And should be you. So start small. Get used to organized micro/mini events with a group of like-minded passionate people. You can also take the events online but always have an offline component. It doesn't have to be fancy. Just encourage open sharing of lessons and insights and make it about them. The community.
Value is in the eye of the beholder. They'll gradually teach you what's valuable to them.
To practice my own preaching, I've started a small group at Atlanta Tech Village. It's called Zero to Ten. Nothing fancy. The goal is to enable an hour of informal group discussions around the topics of MVP, problem statements and products. Very founder centric but open to other startup audience.
What are some other ideas? Please feel free to send me some tips/thoughts you may have.