Idea to Product: The Muddy Waters of Creation

A Boat Shoe Sandal, it seemed like such a simple thing at the time, something you tap into your search box and get pages upon pages of options to buy. Like every other time I had ever thought of something I needed/wanted and turned to the internet for. I never expected to be left with an empty search result page.

That was the first time I thought I might be on to something. Google being the end all be all of human imagination, I figured surely there were existing options. When i came upon no other offerings similar to what I was looking for I was baffled. I figured I was surely not the first person to think of it, but possibly the first person to think that it could be done right, and actually look good.

I won’t go through the rest of the story as I did in my last post, but I do want to talk a bit about having an idea and making it work.

Ideas are just concepts, they are not products. This may be obvious, but it is important to say, because it highlights the realization that there is much more work to be done. An idea is great, but it can go many ways from brain to paper to shelf. The first step I took to test my idea was to, as quickly as possible, make it in my own way. Make the product, doesn’t have to be pretty at first, so long as you can make it. If you can’t make the product in some form then you need a new idea.

first dory

I think it is very easy to have an idea and try to get really far in the process without ever having made a product or version of the product. People can get overly caught up in the other aspects of the business and never have the idea fully realized in a product. On the other side of the coin, it is just as easy to get overly focused on the product and find your self in the middle of a desert with nothing but a bottle but no water.

Make sure your idea has a market to pair itself with. This way you will know before hand that you are not walking into the aforementioned desert and instead into a lush oasis of customers. Some would say that identifying your customer is the first step in creating a business, but I don’t see that as a natural progression of ideation to creation, instead as more formulaic, being more helpful in nichepreneurial endeavors. I think when the idea hits you, you’ve got to hit the ground running on developing a product that you can test in the real world, and in that real world testing you will find you customers, what you do with their info is a whole other story.

If you’ve got an idea, make it a product asap and then share that version. Don’t try to sell unfinished goods, but get people to look at it and think on it. You will always be surprised by what you hear, and the more eyes the faster you’ll understand where and who to market too.

Get it made, make it work.