Almost every article about entrepreneurship will at some point repeat the mantra “find a problem and offer a solution for it”. Problem-solution, problem-solution, it is really easy to remember it. However, no matter how simple the concept sounds, many tech companies don’t get it right.
The Reason? People with tech background have such a passion for new developments that they focus more on the technology than on the solution. Many tech companies are born with the cart before the horses: they first concentrate their attention to their know-how and later they see what they could do with it. The result: they have an amazing product, using an incredible technology, with award winning complex algorithms, which nobody wants.
Product development doesn’t start with a technology, it starts with a problem. It doesn’t matter if you are an expert in 3D rendering or a master in searching-algorithms, you have to find out a solution for a problem and not a problem for your solution.
The best example of the last years is Google’s Nexus Q, have you heard about it? Nexus Q was a spherical media streamer device, allowing you to stream music from your tablet or smartphone.
Google was very proud about their multi-participant playlist feature. If people were hosting a party and wanted to let their friends add their own songs to the playlist, they would be able to do that with Nexus Q. If it works? Yes, if you have turned this option on, have sent an invitation e-mail to all your guests, all they have android devices, all they have downloaded the Nexus Q app (even if they don’t have one at home), and all they have bought songs from Google’s music store, then it will work just fine.
Google was more like creating a new problem than solving an old one. Nexus Q was Google’s greatest failure and the reason was that the product management didn’t know which problem they were trying to solve at all. This is an extremely common mistake, where products are born as an arbitrary collection of features.
Not sure if this is also your case? Here is a small list of symptoms that might appear when you do not know which problem your product is going to solve:
• You are not sure when the product can be called “finished”
• You are not developing a new Photoshop, but you have hundreds of features
• It is not easy to define which is the key feature
• You tell potential customers about what your product does and they are not sure if they need it or not
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