Getting a product out the door requires a tremendous amount of time, money and effort. There’s nothing worse than going through all that and then have little to no market adoption.
Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball when it comes to getting your product right. But there are a number of strategies at your disposal.
Imagine you are standing in a room where the other end of the room is pitch dark. Now also imagine there is a dartboard somewhere in the dark part of the room. This is a simple analogy to building products and hitting the illusive market bullseye. Each dart is costly. What are your options?
You could build one dart and hope to get lucky. Or, rather than building one expensive dart (I suppose darts have different aerodynamic properties based on shape and materials used), you could build a whole bunch of low cost darts and hope one of them hits the sweet spot.
You could do market research, but that’s like asking people who’ve wandered about in the darkness where they think the dartboard is.
Alternatively, you could do what the Lean Startup movement is all about: You build several low cost darts that have a light on each. And each time it lands in the dark side of the room, it illuminates a part of the wall so within a few darts, you can see the dartboard. If you’re having trouble with this analogy, the light on the dart is what user data analytics is all about and Google and many other companies take this approach.
Lastly, you could do what Apple does. You turn off the lights in your side of the room, drop some acid, put on some Dylan and wait till your eyes adjust to the darkness and are able to see the outline of the dartboard :). Few companies have mastered being able to see into the dark like Apple has.