In a guest post for VentureBeat yesterday, Jon Soberg with Blumberg Capital took the idea of crafting a new product around a well-defined target market and threw it under the bus. We couldn’t agree more. Soberg tells the story of a pair of entrenpreneurs who, when asked the standard question about their target market responded, “Reality has it’s own voice.” Soberg goes on to say:
The best in the business set themselves up to “listen.” They go in with plans to learn and questions to answer. They try to find the reality in the feedback. It is an art, as well as a science. Most companies now overflow with the amount of data they collect. The best ask and answer questions constantly. They collect data that can help them “listen.” This doesn’t mean you go in without a hypothesis. It does mean you try to prove your hypothesis wrong, and if you do, develop a new one.
Well said. Choosing your target market before your product is released is akin to pointing out where your home run is going to land without being Babe Ruth. You can’t do it, and you’re going to be wrong. If, however, you engage in a two-way conversation with the market as a whole during your product development you will find what people use your product for and what they want it to do for their lives. Today’s business structure no longer allows for foisting your product on the market, it requires the market to pull the product out of you. Silicon valley and our entrepreneurial/intrapreneurial ecosystem needs this kind of mental reset.
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