I am in the midst of figuring out a Software-as-a-Service web application product to develop and potentially sell to the right audience. It might feel a little backwards to have to figure out an idea, rather than waiting on an epiphany, but I think the best ideas are rooted in research of the core audience, and birthed out of necessity.

If I place myself in the right mindset, and keep my ears open to the pain points of others through the simple act of listening, something might come of putting in the forethought. I’ve gone through the process of prescribing a product-based solution in the past, and designing within a vacuum of my own thoughts and pretenses. Those vain attempts at eliciting success have resulted in many learning experiences, for which I am grateful; identifying the problem and audience, at its core, is far more important than what the product does, how it functions, or what it looks like.

The former approach is akin to putting the cart before the horse. The latter relies on targeted market research, identifying and empathizing with the audience, interviewing tangential members of the product, writing down pain points, positioning self for growth or pivot. The latter means to listen, to identify, to prescribe, and to build in an agile process that takes into account the cycle of feedback given from the early adopters—the people who are willing to sacrifice in order to see a product through to the end.

Creating a product has its caveats, and is never a straightforward approach. It’s not about being the first to market. There will always be vultures who seek out new ideas and copy them for the sake of mirrored success. It’s not about creating numerous tools with shallow applications or a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. It’s not about building an encompassing product that will solve all of the worlds’ problems in the first go.

“Why the product exists must first be considered and why someone wants it must match” — Simon Sinek

Creating a product means figure out a problem and build a solution. A solution that aligns with the belief systems of the founders and the users. A solution that is based on trust, attentive feedback, empathy. This is why I am doing the research prior to envisioning the end-product, maybe it’s more about the journey.