Planning to build a successful product, KILL THE IDEA FIRST
By Philomathes in Product Development
The given nature of my business gives me the privilege to listen to ideas on a regular basis. Do not mistake me for an INVESTOR, I am one of you. The only difference being that we are the ENABLERS, helping you translate and validate your idea into products.
I normally get lot of eyebrows for asking this question in the very first 2 minutes of the conversation with a founder / Cofounder, “Have you tried killing your idea?” Firstly, killing an idea is not a very exciting thought, its actually quite repulsive especially when you are killing your own idea. Secondly, don’t you want my business then why will you ask me to kill it? But TRUST ME, that’s the best thing you can do to your idea so that it Stays Healthy, Stays Alive.
As an ideator, in that moment of eureka you would have surely celebrated the joy of conceiving what you think is the mother of all ideas by shouting out loud in your head:
This idea will be a game changer..
This will revolutionize the way people do business…
Man !! We gonna be BIG!!
This is it!!
How come no one else ever thought about it, I think we are sitting on something big…..let me correct myself, we are going to be the next XYZ…
This is going to change lives of millions..
We will be amazon of….
After the initial hysteria and what follows next is hours, days & months of market research, planning, discussion etc etc….Creating that BIGGER THAN LIFE CANVAS…Ooh Yeah !!!!
Well Hit PAUSE, go for the kill – KILL YOUR IDEA FIRST.
Unlike what Will Smith said in the movie “In pursuit of happiness”, “If you gotta dream, you got to protect it”, I will urge you to let your defence down and go for collateral damage. And if you feel you are not capable to do it then find out the best possible critic in your network. Take it a step further by speaking about it to your Target Audience.
Please don’t worry about the fact that someone will copy your idea or manufacture it before you can. The world is big enough and what I have observed is that “you don’t own an idea till you have made it popular”, so put those fears out of your mind. My Cofounders , always used to say “Tej, what we are thinking, 10 others are already working on it right now. You never know few would have already done it by now”.
While you take this route of self-destruction, don’t lose your focus. Always remember you had set out on this journey to identify the viability of your idea and make it Bullet Proof. Identify the loopholes, the finer points, the cracks, the gaps and make a note of each one of them. Every time someone says “Mate, this won’t work”, ask yourself Why not and get that answer. Every time someone gives you a thumb down, treat it as an opportunity. Asking safe questions, whose reply will only act as a catalyst is not the right approach. Keep your idea alive and healthy by talking to lot of Nay sayers.
During this journey, you should have sourced out answers to questions listed below (there could be many more):
- What problem is your idea resolving?
- How big is the scale? if you can quantify it with numbers even better.
- Has someone else done it in the past or is it doing right now? If yes, what was the customer traction, if that idea failed then why?
- Can you monetize the idea, is there a revenue model? Preferably chose a path, which you can build yourself. If you are looking at a model where you plan to eat out of the hands of an investor, think again!!
- How much time will it take? Quantify this as well….
Then the most important piece…resource consumption in terms of Cost, Time and People. How big is your war chest, remember to build one which can sustain the business for at least 18 months.
More you talk, clearer you would get with the idea and then it will take a proper shape. Obscurity is a bad omen, clarity is your angel.
Put your idea in the firing range of the most fatal set of questions and after all this ordeal, if your passion level for the idea is still intact or rather has gone stronger then this relationship is for keeps.
Everyone has a way of killing their idea, you can probably design your own, which might be both effective and fatal.
To conclude, don’t get married to your idea ever…get married to how it will be executed cause even the most basic of ideas can make you the next pin up boy / girl of the start up world, if you execute it in the right way. What’s the right way, well that you need to figure out yourself.
Do remember building an idea into a product is NO BIG DEAL, getting people to use it is THE DEAL.
The idea behind this article is to bring in a certain amount of pragmatism in our approach cause our attitude is the main incubator of an idea …….Make the idea bullet proof (it can never be 100%) and in the process create the blue print for success. And if you have figured out a blue print for success then do share it with others 🙂
I have been thinking of publishing this blog for a while and fortunately finally got a chance to do so. Helpful links
All the best guys and keep innovating.
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