The San Francisco Fallacy: The Ten Fallacies That Make Founders Fail — By Jonathan Siegel

3 min readJul 4, 2022

I enjoyed reading this short book. It is filled up with beliefs (incorrect ones), that we Product Managers, Entrepreneurs make all the time despite our conscious attempts to not fall for them.

What is a fallacy?
They are cultural beliefs that may have long run their course and may no longer be correct in a particular context or time. Fallacies are carried forward through consensus and conformism.

Among the 11 fallacies the author lists, here are some of them, I could relate to and took away the most. These are my notes:

  • The Idea Fallacy — The belief that ideas are more important than execution. Don’t get too carried away with the brilliance of your ideas. In the same breadth don’t get intimidated by the fact that others may also be executing on the same idea as yours.
    Practical step to avoid Idea Fallacy: Test it out in the market, if it works, develop it, If it doesn’t, move on. If there are already competitors with the same idea and they’re thriving, that proves there’s a market. Take it on. Share your ideas — don’t hoard them. An idea that you’re never going to execute could be the seed of somebody else’s success — and help make the ecosystem better for everyone.
  • The Quality Fallacy — It is the belief that quality is a goal in itself — that your product should be as good as it can be before bringing it to market. On the contrary, quality is a distraction. Your product should be only as good as it needs to be to be brought to market. Anything more is a waste. Waste will undermine your company in the long run and lower the chance of your product finding market success.
    Practical step to avoid the Quality Fallacy: Focus your energies and resources where they’re most needed: build a minimum viable product (MVP); then concentrate on getting that to market and getting customers to it. MVP it! — The least-developed version of the product that
    will actually work. Take anything else away from it and it won’t function. Anything additional would be excess. If the market wants additional features, it will tell you. Does it do the job? Yes. Then we can use it to find out if the market wants that job done.
    The Quality Fallacy is the belief that that the time to ask the market is when you can present it with a perfected product: only then will you be able to truly tell how it responds. So the trick is to bring your product to market as early as possible. You should launch products when they are
    barely working — when they are “minimally viable”: a minimum viable product (MVP). Put it out there. Let people work it out. Let them respond. Let them contribute to making it better.
    Landing pages are your superpower here! A landing page is simply a web page to which the user is directed from a link elsewhere. It’s the page the user lands on. In most websites, the landing page is the home page. But in this context, the landing page is the only page. The landing page is set up simply to gauge interest in the subject matter. It should normally be striking and simple, clean and bright. It will present the product or service, make an offer (whether a “free trial,” a fixed price, or a subscription option) and have a simple call to action (from filling in your e-mail address to registering to giving credit card details).

Other key learnings

When you write your Business Plan, here is one unique way to write one:

List down these 3 things:

Things that you know (Known Knowns):

Example: Your target market needs a product like the one you are envisioning

Example: You/your team has the capability to build that product

Things that you know, you don’t know (Known Unknowns):

Example: What users are willing to pay for such a product?

Example: Will they trust a brand new product like yours to own their data?

Things that you don’t know, you don’t know (Unknown Unknowns):

Example: How the market tide may change with the advent of a new technology and its impact on your product/service?

I liked this short book, that helped me reinforce certain concepts. I particularly liked the approach to planning.




I love the profession of Product Management that helps me build meaningful relationships with teams and customers. I just can’t get enough of reading!