Thursday, August 13, 2009

Building An Idea

Sometimes you get lucky and you get an idea. You start to work the idea, and it seems to have some merit. It's a big idea, though, and a lot of work, so you start to bounce it off other people. Simple conversations, really: "Would you buy this? What would it look like if you did?" "Do you see a market need for this?" "Is there a hole here that my idea could possibly fit?"

If they go well, these conversations bring up more questions than answers: "How fast is it?" "When could I have it?" "Could it make my toast in the morning?" This is good but a bit overwhelming. Likely the answers to all of these questions are simply "I don't know yet".

And it's okay. There's probably a very large realm of things you don't know. But we can deal with it. As you talk to people and continue to think through those ideas, commonalities will emerge. So start doing, and start doing in a certain order:
  • First, plan what everyone has asked about
  • Second, do what your probable "first customer" has asked about
  • Third, do what everyone has asked about
  • Fourth, plan what a subset of people has asked about
  • Fifth, well, by now you have something resembling a product and a lot of other things have interfered.
Note the difference here between plan and do. When you're in early stages, as long as you're being honest, it's okay to say you are planning but haven't yet done things. But you have to do something fairly quickly so people understand that it's an actionable idea rather than an idle dream.

Plan for the large group that is "everyone". Do for the one you need to impress. Then do for everyone else.

1 comment:

  1. "Plan for the large group that is "everyone". Do for the one you need to impress. Then do for everyone else."

    Nice ending catherine, :)