jeopardy!

There seems to be a rampant problem throughout the developer community, and its kind of ridiculous. There seems to be a rampant trend throughout the community of people building things that solve no actual problems. People are going through and building things, expecting them to be businesses, but never stopping to ask themselves if they are solving anyone else’s problems. This my friends is the Jeopardy syndrome.

My good friend Mike told me that we as developers build or buy the fanciest hammers around, and then only after that do we look for nails that need, well, hammering. So my question to you, as you are developing your next great thing, are you solving a real problem? This issue can actually be solved well before writing a single line of code. So how do you solve this problem? Start asking people in your target market if they have a problem your solution/idea can solve. Ask your friends, ask your family, ask your business partners, or be creative and use PPC ads to test your ideas, hey if it worked for Tim Ferris, it can work for you.

The greatest products of our time are always ones that solve a problem. Take the iPod, it solves the problem of “how do I take all my music with me?” or the cell phone “how do I make telephone calls without being attached to a wall?”

So ask yourself the following questions next time you have a great idea for a product:

  • Does this solve an existing problem?
  • Does this ease anyone’s pains in doing stuff?
  • Will someone pay for this solution?
  • Will someone pay you to promote their products via your solution?

So do you have Jeopardy syndrome? Are you figuring out the answer first, and then looking for the question?

7 Comments

  1. interesting topic but i don't see this as black and white. Did Jello solve an existing problem? They invented something and created an entirely new market. On the flip side, Google improved an existing solution with their search but their 'innovation' was AdWords/AdSense. Facebook improved upon previous social networks but their 'innovation' was the news feed. Neither of these are really earth-shattering innovations but I agree they did solve a problem. There's a place for problem solvers but there is also a place for the Jellos of the world.

  2. i am not saying there is no place for Jello, Jello is delicious. like your site, it actually solves a problem (not life threatening, but still a problem) how do we share stories of our disastruous lives.

  3. i am not saying there is no place for Jello, Jello is delicious. like your site, it actually solves a problem (not life threatening, but still a problem) how do we share stories of our disastruous lives.

  4. interesting topic but i don't see this as black and white. Did Jello solve an existing problem? They invented something and created an entirely new market. On the flip side, Google improved an existing solution with their search but their 'innovation' was AdWords/AdSense. Facebook improved upon previous social networks but their 'innovation' was the news feed. Neither of these are really earth-shattering innovations but I agree they did solve a problem. There's a place for problem solvers but there is also a place for the Jellos of the world.

  5. i am not saying there is no place for Jello, Jello is delicious. like your site, it actually solves a problem (not life threatening, but still a problem) how do we share stories of our disastruous lives.

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