So now that we had gone through all that process on picking the best idea, we were finally ready to jump in and start hacking away, secure that we were implementing the best idea we could think of. Right? Not quite. All we had was a one-sentence idea that we were excited about and which had beat out all the other one-sentence ideas that we compared it against. Implementing an unformed idea would likely result in something novel but not a commercial success. We were missing one crucial thing: the product vision.
What does it mean to define the product vision? If what you had was a great idea for a screenplay, the product vision would likely be a rough outline of the major plot points. Even if you aren’t blessed with “the vision thing”, you can still find success in this step. Coming up with the product vision involves thinking beyond just the jazzy whiz-bang of the initial idea and answering some very important (and basic) questions:
- who is the target customer?
- what is the problem your solution is solving?
- how is your solution going to make money?
In the course of addressing these questions, we found that our initial idea was actually not the best solution for the problem we were trying to solve, but we were able to make adjustments and enhancements so that we were truly happy with our end result. Trying to answer the money question also forced us to be creative with applications for our solution that we might have otherwise ignored.
In the end, this process turned “just another neat idea” into a vision for something that we we’re willing to bet the next N months/years of our lives on. I’d say that that’s time well spent.