How to (and should we?) build a product with no references?

Nick Naumov
5 replies
I've recently faced the situation when our team has promising product idea, however, we couldn't find any direct references (like competitors) in the market. It results in slow product discovery - hard to find respondents for customer development, hard to test hypotheses on target audience and etc. How would you deal with it? Someone'd say that we should shut down this product because there's no p/m fit for this idea, others'd say that's the Apple way to innovate when you do smth being 1st in the market. I'd like to hear product hunters on that šŸ™


Anton K
Nick, it's a great question. Let's decide who we are - high-risk inventors or serial entrepreneurs. In most product cases, everything has an example like Icar and Birds. I don't need to explain the difference between approaches, but for me, the main thing for inventors - not to copy directly. So, let's separate "no competitors" from "no direct references." Suppose we're talking about competitors. I can't imagine when we can't find a similar product on the market that solves the problem differently. Ok, we're talking about product references. Maybe there are no direct references, and you can unleash your potential to invent something really new, getting inspired by others or similar stuff. I think the best you can do in your case - test an MVP as soon as possible. Does it work for you?
Matthew Johnson
What problem does your product solve? Who has this problem the most? Can you find as many of them to talk to about their problem to validate whether it's a big enough headache to solve, and whether your solution actually solves that problem? And as Anton said, can you then build an MVP as quickly as possible to test it?
Alexander Shatalin
@mattcrail When we are talking about Blue ocean - MVP takes not a couple of months, cause this field a new for you as well. And if you ask people about your future app they will always say "good idea, I will install, take my money" and other UNREAL expectations. Then you will encounter reality and you will see NO MAU, NO Retention, and NO Revenue... Well, as for me if you are do not have a blind belief in your product your main focus is to sell it, to put into the customer's brain this wish. No need to find this wish before - you have to create it :)
Matthew Johnson
@alexander_shatalin I didn't say you should ask people about your product or solution, or what your app looks like, and if they like your idea. I said you should talk to people about the problem your envisioned solution solves for. Basically to follow the Mom Test principles
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