What does it mean for a business, a startup or you to ‘do your homework’?
Does it mean being out there, staying curious about the problem you’re looking to solve trying to figure out what potential avenues towards solving it might be.
Does it mean diving into existing research to be able to say and tell others that you know what is already out there, and that is what you’re building from?
I am not really sure, although I do think the latter resembles more of an exam, where – let’s face it – the only objective is to pass in more or less flying colors and then move on.
The problem with homework is much the same as with communication: The effectiveness and value of it often rests not with the creator but the receiver.
Thus, is the receiver has a misconception of what doing your homework really is, you run the risk of putting in the wrong sort of work for the job while still being able to claim that you have essentially done nothing wrong.
See the problem? Or paradox, even.
The sense of having done your homework needs to rest deeply within you. You need to have a feel for what you need to know, what you need to challenge and the questions you need to ask to get the answers you need.
When you have that, you can think of yourself as having done the homework. But not before.
Homework is an extension of determination. If you’re determined to get something done, succeed with a pitch or with a business or anything else you put your mind towards, you will make damn sure you do your homework. And it will be yours to define and own. Also the results.
Don’t let anybody else tell you otherwise.