Podcast, Product & Design, Startup Stories, Traction Podcast

Stop Generating Ideas & Start Solving Problems [Traction #24: Nadia Boujarwah, Dia&Co]

Stop Generating Ideas & Start Solving Problems [Traction #24: Nadia Boujarwah, Dia&Co]

Startups are exciting for any number of reasons, not least of which are all the fresh new ideas for products and various approaches to doing the work. But we forget that building successful startups is not actually about coming up with ideas. Instead, it’s about finding problems, figuring out whether they truly matter (and to how many people), and working hard to solve them.

So what happens when you’re obsessed with solving a problem? What does that do to your work, your team, your product, your success? Nadia Boujarwah, co-founder of Dia&Co, shares her story to answer those questions and more.

Plus, 3 special announcements about the future of the show.

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Jay Acunzo

Jay is the VP of Platform at NextView. He hosts two podcasts -- Traction, the official NextView show about seed-stage startup challenges, and Unthinkable, an audio documentary series about creativity in business. A frequent keynote speaker at startup and marketing events, he began his career at Google before leading content marketing teams at Breaktime Media and HubSpot.


  • Andrew

    Episode #24 with Nadia from Dia&Co was great. As someone who’s launching a business myself, it was really helpful to hear Nadia’s journey and how she identified a problem in her own life, confirmed that this problem was shared by others through surveys and interviews, and, only after gaining a deep understanding of the problem, developed a solution that became Dia. I’m curious to hear when you think is the best time to develop a solution and MVP to start reaching out to customers. Steve Blank seems to advocate using an MVP earlier in the process to validate the problem: “the goal is to put the MVP in front of customers to find out whether you understood the customer problem well enough to define key elements of the solution. Then you iteratively refine the solution.” It seems like Nadia waited longer to launch an MVP and instead validated the problem through interviews and surveys. Which model have you seen work better – using an MVP to validate the problem or using qualitative research to validate the problem and develop the solution?

    • Hey Andrew, thanks and glad you liked this episode!

      I can’t give a blanket answer to your question. It by definition has to be “it depends.” Some companies we see fall on one extreme, some on the other, some in the middle. The problem with blanket answers when it comes to startups is that it’s always void of context — and context is everything. Your context will be different than someone who says “X worked for me,” even if you wanted to build a direct competitor to them. So my advice is a bit of a sidestep but I think it’s just as useful: Ask a different question than “should I use an MVP to validate or qualitative research or something else?” Instead, just do what you feel is right, and always err on the side of talking to more customers and listening to problems than you do on the side of building in a vacuum.

      In short, don’t look for secrets or universal rules. There are no absolutes here. Instead, focus on forward progress. That trumps everything. Even if you progress in the wrong direction, you’re learning what you need to find the right path.

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