How to come up with Product Ideas?

Abhilash Marichi
4 min readFeb 13, 2021

Let’s say you want to come up with an idea, hoping that you could turn it into a successful start-up. If you are someone scrambling for ideas then maybe this post would help you in some way!

Photo by Alex Andrews from Pexels

Don’t look for great ideas, instead, look for close problems

The most common mistake is trying to come up with great ideas. It often leads you to a painful path and will make it very difficult for you to move ahead when the situation gets tough. The highly recommended approach is to look for problems around you, look for what people complain and then see if you are interested in solving them.

“Most people have Ideas book, instead you must keep a Problems book and note down all the problems that you see around you.” — Michael Seibel (Co-founder Twitch)”

I would recommend, spend some time closely observing your surroundings and make notes of problems and your solutions to them. Keep in mind that the solution need not be an epic solution. Even if it takes few steps towards betterment that could be enough.

Once you have made this list, the next step is to select the problems which you love to solve personally. If the problem is something that you face, then it would a great choice since you yourself will know if your solution actually solves the problem or not.

“Work on the problems that you want to see solved.”

After shortlisting the problems you love to solve, you must think to yourself what makes you a better person or how are you in a better place to solve it?

You must research what others have done to solve this problem and learn what worked and what did not. See how your perspective is different from theirs. Spend as much time as possible to research and learn this will save tons of time in the future and do not shorten or skip this step.

Most people, including me, hesitate to go through other solutions. I sometimes feel that, if I look at other’s solutions then my solution would lose its originality. But we must remember that there absolutely no need to re-invent the wheel if somebody has already invented it you must look at ways of using it. So don’t try to start from scratch always, even Albert Einstein did not start from scratch while coming up with E=MC(Square).

“Even Albert Einstein did not start from scratch while coming up with Theory of Relativity”

Albert Einstein published the theory of special relativity in 1905, building on many theoretical results and empirical findings obtained by Albert A. Michelson, Hendrik Lorentz, Henri Poincaré, and others.

Albert Einstein

So now, you must be with a problem, and achievable solution, your approach to solving it, and then your next immediate step is to build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

“Do not fall in love with your Product. Instead fall in love with Problems and Customers”

A huge mistake one does is to fall in love with a solution or the product. You usually cannot build a successful product if you just fall in love with what you have built, instead, you must love the problem and your users to whom you wish the problem to be solved and alter your solution/product until you solve the problem.

One of the best ways to avoid falling in love with your initial product is to build MVP as early as possible and putting it out.

You must handpick your initial customers who really have problems and provide your solution to them. Do not try to get many customers with your MVP, instead, all you need to do with your MVP is validate or invalidate your hypothesis and check if your solution actually solves the problem or not. Make as many iterations as possible until you solve the problem or at least the one core aspect of the problem as quickly as possible.

Once you solve the problem well, it is recommended that you do NOT go for getting too many customers, instead, enhance your product in such a way that your first few handpicked customers become your true fan and love your product so much that they speak about it with others with a similar problem. If you do this carefully, you would be on to building a great brand along with and user base who love you very much.

My uncle, whom I considered to be highly successful said to me once, “A start-up or a product is like baby, you need to nurture it, take care of it properly for few years first, only if you take good care of it in the initial days it will grow up to be great and make you proud and earn money. Don’t expect a baby to start earning as soon as it is born.” I feel this analogy actually applies to most Startups (maybe not for all businesses) and I felt it is so true.

If you are patient and enthusiastic and reach this point in your journey then you can consider that you are starting your journey and you have a greater chance of being successful. Keep in mind this is just the beginning!

I hope this post helped you in some way to start your ideation process and building products. Let me know what are you planning to do in the comments and I would like to listen to your ideas and I wish you all the success and a great learning experience in solving problems.

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Abhilash Marichi

Data Engineer at Amazon. I write about Data, Product & Life.