April 24, 2020
This is part of a weekly journal I'm keeping about my day job running marketing at Inntopia.
As I look back on my side hustles over the years, the one skill that’s easiest to see developing along the way is my ability to see either the potential in a product or the flaws and issues that might keep it from being successful.
To be clear, I still have a long way to go, but I’ve also come a really, really long way.
Interestingly, it’s often as simple as being honest about the answers to questions around the economics, market size, difficulty in reaching that market, lifetime value, and support or overhead costs. We all think through those things, but I think it taken a handful of failures for me to finally admit my rosy optimism doesn’t change the realities of having a product with no market.
Dr Suess, in The Sleep Book, put it this way with is pure gold:
At the fork of a road in the Vale of Va-Vode, five foot-weary salesmen have laid down their load. All day they’ve raced round in the heat, at top speeds, unsuccessfully trying to sell Zizzer-Zoof Seeds. Which nobody wants, because nobody needs.
As the outlook for travel continues to look bleak even as the idea of “reopening” becomes more common, it’s natural that we’re trying to look for new and innovative ways to use our platform. Or, in some cases, extend it into new markets.
And as we do, all this practice building products and finding markets and struggling to find fit? It’s coming in really handy. And it’s interesting to come across that ideas that might have gotten me all fired up a few years ago, but today – looking through that lens of experience – make me leery that we’re going to end up with a collection of Zizzer-Zoff Seeds.
Great ideas only make great products if there’s a market for them.