Founder's Note - June 26, 2024

The Art of Differentiation


When I founded Spatial Labs, I always believed that every product could one day tell a story. Since our inception, our vision as a company has been to build the metadata layer for real-world products, unlocking rich forms of information that people can access, expand, discover, and share. The overall impact of such a feat would be akin to something like Google Search or Shazam, but for the real world.

This endeavor was never just about creating products; it was about forging a new path in how people interact with technology. In the past five years, this ambitious journey has required unwavering dedication, immense focus, trial and error, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Innovation is a marathon, not a sprint, and it demands persistence at every step.

With today's note, I aim to explore the art of differentiation and how it serves as a foundation for carving out a unique path to success at a startup, and why now, more than ever, standing out is critical.

In today's fast-paced world, the concept of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) has significantly evolved. Users now have high expectations for design and usability, shaped by their interactions with top-tier apps and services. An MVP today must be more than just functional; it must also be polished and intuitive. This shift means that startups need to think deeply about the user experience from the outset, ensuring every interaction is seamless and delightful.

Creating something truly remarkable involves equal attention to both the internal mechanics and the external presentation of your product. Robust backend systems are crucial, but so is a beautiful and intuitive user interface. At Spatial Labs, we believe in pouring the same effort into crafting a delightful user experience as much as developing the technology that powers our products. This balance is essential for standing out in a crowded market.

In a world where new startups are emerging daily, it's crucial to distinguish yourself from competitors. Our novel approach to hardware-centered modalities is one of the ways we set ourselves apart. By focusing on NFC and now AI integration in our products, we offer unique experiences that differentiate us in the fast-paced tech landscape. In the age of AI, companies must learn to move quickly while maintaining efficiency and delivering high-quality experiences.

Startups, especially in their early stages, are inherently moldable as such, they require just as much care as larger established companies. The foundation of a successful startup lies in great teamwork and effective communication. Every team member must understand and embrace the company's mission and the challenges that come with it.

Clear and open communication should ensure that everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals, fostering a collaborative environment where innovation can thrive. It's the small wins that set the stage for the larger ones.

Today, I feel many companies think they need to come out the gate with the "immediate home run", but not every product or idea needs to be the biggest and brightest.

Think of the company you're building or a part of as a living organism, with many different functions and elements working together to form a cohesive whole. These diverse services and components may not be standalone products, but together they create a robust foundation. Today, ambitious startups often resemble multiple startups within a single entity.

Consider Tesla, which focuses on vision, machine learning, manufacturing, and networking, or Apple, which excels in finance micro-services, payment gateways, security, cloud services, and retail. Shopify is another excellent example, providing a platform that not only supports e-commerce but also offers a comprehensive SDK, a variety of services, and a strong media presence. Similarly, Canva empowers users with design tools, educational resources, and an expansive ecosystem, making them a multifaceted entity. These companies demonstrate the importance of embracing complexity and diversity within a single organizational framework.

Building a successful startup is more than having a great idea; it requires dedication, focus, and a clear differentiation strategy. At Spatial Labs, we are committed to pioneering new technologies and creating products that not only meet but exceed user expectations. By balancing our efforts on the internal and external aspects of our products, fostering a culture of teamwork and effective communication, and distinguishing ourselves in a competitive landscape, we are setting the stage for success.

Remember, take your time and build something great. Pay attention to every detail, both inside and out. View your company as a living organism, with each part contributing to a stronger whole. In this age of rapid technological advancement, we must move quickly, be efficient, and deliver quality experiences. Lead by example as together, we all push the boundaries of what's possible and create a future where technology seamlessly integrates into our daily lives.

The future is always around the corner. Let’s stay dedicated, embrace challenges, and shape a future filled with innovation and success.


Iddris Sandu Founder & CEO, Spatial Labs