You’ve had that lightening bolt moment, EUREKA, that’s it my idea will make me a fortune.
It’s easy to get carried away with a new product idea but we can all learn lessons from the “Big Companies” and innovators of the past who spent an awful lot of time and money on products that didn’t set the world on fire.
We often think of Apple as a leader in innovation however they’ve had a few duds themselves which have been shelved in the cupboard of crap.
Libby Plummer from Yahoo has put this great listing of gadget flops together and it will take you down memory lane of some of the products that were to change the world but didn’t, remember Betamax anyone?
Even “SirAlan” has had a disaster with the Amstrad Em@iler – bet he doesn’t mention that in the Apprentice interviews.
Well what can we learn from this?
1. Your customers will decide whether it’s any good or not. I often get asked what I think of a new product idea and I’ll give an honset answer however it’s the market that decides and that’s it. There are so many rational and irrational reasons why your product may not be the next big thing so be prepared for the disappointment.
2. Focus on the customer and not the product. A great product provides a solution to the customer – saves time, money etc. Always keep this in mind. Does the problem you’ve unearthed need a solution?
3. How much!! Yes developing a new product is an expensive game, design and prototyping costs can be bottomless and at the end you could have an expensive product that no one will pay for. You need to keep focussed on simplicity and get it to market without “bells and whistles” leave them for version 2 and 3. You need to get cash in the bank.
4. Technology advances so quickly so be careful, you might think you have the perfect solution using current technology and then something else comes along faster, cheaper and better. Keep an eye on competition.
5. Market research – you need customers views and opinions (honest one’s) and not friends and family. This is ongoing. From my own expeience we developed a product which we delayed for a number of months at production stage to “iron out” some of the “small marks” on the product. We struggled to make the perfect product but then tuned to customers to get their views – they didn’t notice the “small marks.” The moral of the story is it doesn’t have to be perfect as long as it works and does the job.
6. Don’t become to attached to your product… it’s not a baby although it starts feeling that way. Be open to criticism, be passionate about what you are doing but don’t be daft. It’s a product which hopefully you’ll make a few bob on, keep that in mind on your journey it’s so easy to get attached and not listen to others.
Hope this helps and enjoy the flop’s – just goes to show we need to make mistakes before we get it right.