An idea can change your life…a very famous tagline from an Indian Cellular Operator…well, but ever though as to what it takes to make an idea a hit.
Well you got to go in very deep to understand and evaluate as to whether the idea can be translated in to a successful product or not. Here let’s discuss about as to what it takes for an idea to be a successful product:
Question: How difficult will it be to launch a worthwhile version 1.0?
In general, if you’re tiny and have few resources, tractability is key, because it means you can build momentum quickly—and momentum is everything for a startup.
If you’re big and/or have a lot of resources—or not very good at spotting new opportunities, but great at executing—a less-tractable idea may be for you. It may take longer to launch something worthwhile, but once you crack the nut, you have something clearly valuable.
Question: Is it clear why people should use it?
Everything is obvious once its successful. Big wins come when you can spot something before its obvious to everyone else. There are several vectors to this: 1) Is it obvious why people should use it? 2) Is it obvious how to use? 3) Is it an obviously good business?
Number two is more affected by the design of the product than the idea itself. You don’t actually want number three to be true. You want it to be a good business, but not an obviously good business, because than you get more competition.
Question: How much value can you ultimately deliver?
The most successful products give benefits quickly (both in the life of a product and a user’s relationship with it), but also lend themselves to continual development of and discovery of additional layers of benefit later on.
Facebook is incredibly deep because it leverages your connections, which touch practically every aspect of your life. Scrabulous, on the other hand—a Facebook app for playing Scrabble—is not very deep. How big is the Scrabble-playing part of your life, and how much can it deliver beyond that?
Question: How many people may ultimately use it?
Wideness, like deepness, is a fairly classic market analysis measure. They are usually inversely proportional—do you try to offer the mass-market good or the niche one?
Question: How will people learn about your product?
I was going to call this criteria “viralness.” However, there’s a lot of focus on viralness these days, and—while sometimes amazingly effective—it’s not the only way to grow a user-base. And it doesn’t make sense in all cases.
Interesting to note: Google web search is not the least bit viral. Nor is Firefox. Nor it Kayak.
Question: How hard will it be to extract the money?
Far be it for me to say that obvious monetizability is a requirement. I’m generally a believer that if you create value, you can figure out the business. However, all things being equal, an idea with clear buck-making potential is better than one without.
Question: Do you really want it to exist in the world?
Last on the list, but probably the first question I ask myself is: How important to me is it that this product exists in the world?
Great products almost always come from someone scratching their own itch. Create something you want to exist in the world. Be a user of your own product. Hire people who are users of your product. Make it better based on your own desires.