My Pragmatic Marketing mug stares at me every morning with the same stark reminder:
Your opinion, although interesting, is irrelevant.
It’s a nice grounding statement, and more constructive than myOnion mug. But my mug delivers more than caffeinated goodness—it delivers a message that I need to step back whenever I get excited about a new idea, technology or cool feature and ask, “Does anybody else care?” Or, more specifically, “Will anyone pay money for this?”
After all, we don’t want to end up with the software equivalent of Smuckers Goober, Whizzers cordless power scissors, or the JL421 Badonkadonk Land Cruiser/Personal Tank. (Although I’ll admit that each of these products fascinates me in some way (cough, cough, Christmas present...)
All product companies face the same challenge: coming up with what to build—which means figuring out which market problems to solve and for whom. Our product happens to be software, but the challenge is still there—and our approach to gathering and processing market intelligence is one that can be used by product companies of all types.
It’s a process that can be summed up in 3 steps:
And as long as we’re on the subject of Christmas presents for me, I’ve been wondering: How did the iPod Dock/Toilet Paper Holder make it off the sketchpad and into the market anyway?