Feb 13th, 2020

Are You Working on the Right Thing?

Together with many, many others I regularly put my finger on the pulse of ProductHunt to explore which products and services are new, hot and trending. Going through the list of “next favorite things,” one can only wonder what the rationale behind quite a few of the listed products is. Clearly some of them are meant to be a personal project or a side hustle — but quite a few seem to aspire to be the new new thing, alas their target group is minuscule and/or the problem the product solves is close to non-existent.

Which brings me to the quintessential question every entrepreneur should ask themselves (ideally before starting their venture): Am I working on the right thing?

As innocent and obvious as this question sounds, browsing through ProductHunt and its fellow brethren, indicates not every entrepreneur might have a good grip on the answer to this question. And again — nothing wrong with frolicking when you are toying around with an idea or it’s a side project. But when you consider this to be your ticket to startup nirvana, better have a good answer.

And the answer always starts with the customer and her interplay with the trifecta of Frequency / Density / Friction.

When looking at a product or service from the perspective of the user/consumer, Frequency describes the amount of times during your day you encounter the problem, which your offering aims to solve. Density describes the time/effort spent inside of the problem and Friction is the level of pain the problem causes you. This triple play was popularized by my friend and bestselling book author Chris Yeh.

Good businesses have high levels of all three ingredients — if one is missing, you typically don’t have a business (at least not one with a fast growing, large market).

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