Here’s how I create products. When an idea comes to me, I type it in a phone app and spend days or even months just chewing on it. I don’t hold any brainstorms and I don’t develop any vision boards. I just chew.
How I Create Products
Over time, I add points to the idea, teasing it out. Finally, I take pen to paper and flesh out the idea in my journal, just to see it better. I’m not a visual person, so I prefer words to diagrams.
Finally, when I think I’ve figured out how the idea can make money (and never before), I speak to members of my tribe to ask what they think. I then refine the idea further.
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Then, I launch a pilot. Yes, I typically launch without a formal business or feasibility plan. For me the pilot is part of the product development process. It’s like a laboratory where I can observe how the product idea interacts with the real world and then refine it in real-time.
During the pilot, I develop a business plan using real stats and case studies. I develop the brand and online expressions. I put in place legal and regulatory protections. I also market to a few core customers, never more than a hundred or so.
Sometimes, my pilot can take months. Once the pilot proves successful, I plan the public launch and talk to experts (also members of my tribe) who know how to scale things. The skill to start things is not the same skill that is required to grow things.
I think at heart, I’m more of a structuralist than an entrepreneur. I follow the logic of things; the nature of things.
I also never develop a product I don’t want to personally use. The fact that I understand the problem a product is trying to solve greatly helps in the development process.