There are too many problems I want to solve but how do I focus?
When I find good problems to solve I always tell myself to start small and test the idea. However, I seem to be very good at being ineffective starting a project. I get caught up in trivial details or focus on the easy things and obsess about them. This project destructive behavior keeps me from delivering any kind of core value that I can use to test my idea and build on it. I also seem to overwhelm myself with features and plans that cause me to become frustrated and quit when I find the easy path out.
How do you re-train your brain to be more effective at starting from nothing and are there any books out there that dive deep into the problem of starting?
Don't ever guess. The validation is only when you bring the product to people and they vote with their credit card. You walk in the dark in uncertainty for a long time. Most of the time you are spending your own money. When you validate or request feedback, do it in a market not out side of people. People are only seriously answering your question when you ask them if they want to pay.
Have you heard of a minimum value product (often synonymous with “viable” product)?
I prefer value, because i find it easier to think about what’s the bare minimum solution and marketing/sales effort that will result in someone paying you for your product.
Also, are you talking to other people to validate and research your problem?
Any thoughts you have about what a solution looks like without doing research with your target audience is not a great way to start.
The design process, after you think you’ve got a problem that would be valuable to solve, looks like....
User Test / Validate
If you’re designing before researching the market, competitors, etc, you’re all but fumbling around in the dark.
You might get lucky, but you’re likely wasting your time...which only grow more precious as you get older.
This might be a dumb question, but where do you go to validate your ideas outside of close friends that probably won't give you the best feedback? It’s not a dumb question, but more of a mental block... the potential customers of your product (might help to get really clear and concise with who this is if you haven’t already).
Find them, talk to them, and ask them questions about how they encounter the problem. (This is another reason why networking is important.)
If you can’t do it without a product or business, you likely won’t be able to do it with one.
You should not be saying, “hey, what do you think about this idea?”
You should be conducting research on the potential customers. What are they doing, why are they doing it, what tools do they currently use, and what do they still find challenging.
As a designer, it’s up to you to thread the needle.
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