When you have an idea - try to break it
Whenever I get an idea that feels worthy, I save it on a list on my phone. This could be a business idea, a product idea, a feature for an existing product or simply a unique marketing approach for a specific product. So far there are around 30 entries on my list and who knows - one day those ideas might come to life.
But in the mean time, how do I know if an idea is worthy? I try to break it in my mind and imagination.
For example, I’ve watched a documentary on how many kids and adults in some areas in India are forced to collect trash in order to survive, instead of going to school. And how without schooling, their children will be forced to do the same. Naturally I felt bad about it, so I thought what could be done? How could those children learn so that they can break the cycle?
And I came up with the following idea - lessons over the radio.
See, the reason why those kids couldn’t attend school was because they had to instead wander all day collecting trash. But if they had a portable radio with them, they could listen to those lessons nevertheless. Same for women who had to cook at home or for other types of workers. The radio could have channels for different subjects and crafts and if you missed a lesson or simply wanted to repeat it, you could just listen it again the next day. Or maybe in the evening at home, where you could practice with your family.
And if this can be done in India, why not in other places where people don’t have access to education?
So then, what are the problems with this idea? What makes it impossible to work out? What hidden issue can break it?
How much will it cost to run such a radio program? Who will pay for it? How much will a portable radio cost? Would it be convenient for the people to wear it while working? What language should the transmission use, there are 29 languages in India?
help us poke possible holes and force us to think creatively and critically.
And it’s the same with software products - how much will it cost to build this product, how much will it cost for the user to get it? Would it be convenient for them? What features should we build and why? Who are our users? What are their problems?
Answer those questions and you have 80% of the positioning figured out.