Validation doesn’t come from friends, teammates, investors, or market research. It comes from customers.
They’re all entitled to their opinion about what customers want, or what business model to purse, but in the end, the only opinion that matters is that of your customers.
Mark Suster has a great quote about this in a recent blog post:
“I don’t mind having the debate but a VC who thinks early on that he/she REALLY knows what is going to happen in the market his fooling him/herself. Markets decide. … From customer feedback you need to define your company’s strategy.”
You might find that customers want feature x and not feature y. Or that the customer acquisition cost of your proposed distribution strategy is too high.
There are smart people who may know the industry and your customers well, but data beats hypotheses and takes perceived risk out of your business. So ask your customers!