Your Idea is Wrong: And That’s the Best Part

Idea

“Fail often so you can succeed sooner.” — Tom Kelley

Having an idea for a new venture can be an exhilarating experience. As the images in your head gain sharper focus, and the potential feature set grows into a rich ecosystem for future users, it becomes increasingly self-evident that wild success is just around the corner.

But your idea is wrong.

It may not be entirely wrong. You may have the right service but the wrong customers, or the right price point but the wrong monetization approach, or the right messaging but the wrong communication channels. Either way, it is extremely unlikely that all (or even most) aspects of the product as you are envisioning it will remotely resemble the optimal version. This conclusion is a matter of basic probability: in a world where even the simplest of concepts are built on a complex array of assumptions, yours won’t all be right.

This is not to say you will fail. In fact, your wrongness might actually be your greatest source of advantage. Right now, there are hundreds of other individuals around the world with your idea — their similar experiences and analysis have led them to imagine a product not unlike yours. If your collective concept was optimized, the chances you could execute faster than everyone else would be very slim. Put another way, if your idea was perfect, someone would have launched it already. But because you are all wrong, and because the truly great idea is hidden beneath layers of nuanced learnings, you can gain a distinct edge through your approach.

The key is not to get the answer right on the first try, which is nearly impossible (assuming your name is not Steve Jobs). Rather, the key is to test your (wrong) product as quickly and cheaply as possible, so that you can learn how it is wrong, and how to make the next version better. By iterating this process, and focusing on learnings rather than outcomes, your path may be circuitous, but you will ensure reaching the finish. This is the premise behind “lean methodology”: spending the least amount of time and money to learn the most.

Armed with the lean mindset, your approach to developing an app turns on its head. Rather than broadening the feature set to increase the likelihood of success, you might constrain it to isolate what works (and what doesn’t). Rather than taking your time to build the perfect design, you may launch a series of prototypes to confirm (and reject) assumptions. Fear of uncertainty and failure gives way to comfort and even excitement with the unknown. The greater the obstacles you face, the more your approach provides an advantage over your competition.

In the midst of all of this flux, the one thing that should remain steady is your mission. Whether to “organize the world’s information,” “give people the power to share,” or “make tools for the mind that advance humankind,” having a concrete objective for your work ensures that wherever your meandering journey takes you, it will be grounded in a more foundational aspiration. This is not mere lip service; it is the core principle that any future product feature must answer to, and the guiding light that will keep your journey of rapid failure on track.

Save


Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

grocery shopping
20 Things You Didn’t Know About Ibotta
10 Things You Should Know About SmartNews CEO Ken Suzuki
Zeev Farbman
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Lightricks CEO ZEEV Farbman
Amol Sarva
10 Things You Didn’t Know about CEO of Knotel Amol Sarva
Hulu
Since There’s No Hulu Stock, How Do You Invest in It?
Stock Markt
Is Constellation Brands A Good Long Term Investment?
Microsoft
10 Stocks to Consider if You Like Microsoft
Amerigas
Is AmeriGas Partners (APU) Stock a Good Investment?
Charlotte NC
The 20 Best Places to Live to Avoid Natural Disasters
Tampa, Hillsborough County
The 20 Best Places to Live In Florida
North Beach
The 20 Best Places to Live in San Francisco
Svolvaer, Norway
The 20 Best Places to Live in Norway
Hotel Manisses
The 10 Best Hotels in Block Island
San Ysidro Ranch
The 20 Best Hotels in Santa Barbara
S&P Oyster
The 10 Best Seafood Restaurants in Mystic, CT
Ritz Carlton St. Louis
The 20 Best Hotels in St. Louis
2021 Toyota Supra 1
10 Things You Didn’t Know About The 2021 Toyota Supra
You Can Own Your Very Own Formula 1 Race Car For $1.9 Million
Lamborghini Centenario
The 10 Coolest Special Edition Lamborghini Models Ever
2020 Lamborghini Aventador
10 Things You Didn’t Know About the 2020 Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster
DS Super PH500
The 20 Best Certina Watches of All-Time
Bowery Pink Silver
The 20 Best Rosefield Watches of All-Time
Watches
How Govberg Watches Has Stayed in Business for Over 100 Years
Aragon Sports Machine Quartz
The 20 Best Aragon Watches of All-Time