Startups 'don't think big enough': Priceline.com cofounder Scott Case - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Sep. 24, 2013 12:00 pm

Startups ‘don’t think big enough’: Priceline.com cofounder Scott Case

Case suggests startup founders take a gamble on "charging 10 times more" what they think their product or service is worth.

Scott Case flanked by Startup Maryland co-chairs Mike Binko and Julie Lenzer Kirk.

Full disclosure: Betamore cofounder Mike Brenner is a partner with Technically Baltimore, which works on occasion from the Federal Hill incubator.

Startups are never short on lofty, sometimes misplaced “change the world” rhetoric, but Priceline.com founding CTO Scott Case thinks that, in some cases, the hype is justified.

Case said that startups sometimes “don’t think big enough,” undervalue their ideas, and then trap themselves in a “JV” business market. He delivered his message to about a dozen entrepreneurs gathered at Federal Hill incubator Betamore last Thursday for the third class in Startup Maryland‘s boot camp for entrepreneurs, Raise Your Game.

Because startups are endeavors that are meant to be quickly built and quickly scaled — and, if the founders have truly made something worthwhile, quickly valuable to more than just a team of capital investors — Case suggests startup founders take a gamble on “charging 10 times more” what they think their product or service is worth. See what happens, he said, because it’s easier to lower a price than raise one.

Of course, that’s not without pitfalls.

“We fall in love with a solution, usually without defining the problem or understanding the market,” said Case of startup founders.

So how did Priceline.com avoid that trap?

Case said: “We had a value proposition that was completely new and novel.”

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Andrew Zaleski

Andrew Zaleski is a freelance journalist outside Washington, D.C. He's written for Wired, Backchannel, Popular Science, Fortune, the Washington Post Magazine, the Atlantic and elsewhere.

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