Product Ideas 💡

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (But Were Too Busy To Ask)

by Jakob Greenfeld


"Validation" is the final stage of the "meat grinder" that we use to find out which ideas we should execute on. At the previous stages we collected lots of ideas and rated their potential. This way we ended up with a short list of ideas that we would like to pursue further. The goal is now to check if our assumptions hold up in a real-world test. The notion "meat grinder" in this context is due do Tyler Tringas.

"If you build it they will come" is one of the most common entrepreneurial fallacies. Probably millions of people have wasted years of their live developing products only to discover that no one wants to buy it. The key to avoiding this kind of worst-case-scenario is doing (almost) the opposite: let them come before you build it.

Product Idea Validation Methods

There are five popular methods to validate product ideas: Let me know if you know any method to validate product ideas that is not listed here!

"Do you want to earn a living as a programmer? Great. Google is hiring. Do you want to run a software business? Assume that you're going to either get really good at writing or become the employer of someone who is, because writing is about as good as software code for capturing an ephemeral idea in a reproducible artifact, but vastly easier to iterate on." - Patrick McKenzie

Each method can work and it's entirely up to you which one you want to use. However, it usually makes a lot of sense to experiment with landing pages and articles before commiting to a fully-fledged MVP. In some these methods, they can be seen as pre-validation methods.

"If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late." - Reid Hoffman

An important point worth pointing out is that asking people if they would be interested in your product is not a proper validation method. Many people will say yes just to be nice even though they have no intention of ever buying it. An amazing book dedicated solely to this kind of issue is The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick.