The fastest way to avoid wasting your time making things nobody wants.
When I was building my first business 10 years ago, I thought I had a solid product idea. But I was afraid someone might steal it from me. So I worked in isolation for 6 months until I launched it. At that point, I was out of money, and I had to sell enough pieces.
However, people didn't want my product. Something was wrong but I couldn't tell what it is. And that was the end of my business.
How is it possible that after more than 180 days of effort I made something people didn't want?
My business failed because I kept it mostly a secret. I didn't test my ideas with others until it was too late to change anything. I guessed what people wanted and I was wrong.
What I should have done instead is talk to people early and often about my idea. I would get helpful feedback on how much my product should cost, how it should look, and decide whether it's an idea worth pursuing in the first place.
The good news is that you don't need refined skills and complex software to do this. All you need to start testing your ideas is words.
The simplest kind of prototype I like to use is what I call a Tweet prototype.
Tweet prototypes are text-only prototypes that are just 280 characters long. (Yes, like a tweet. 👏*)* And they're perfect for early testing because they're quick and easy to make.
Their purpose is to briefly explain your idea to someone else and get their reaction:
The first part – being understood – is crucial in improving your idea because people cannot want something they do not understand.
That's why Tweet prototypes are intentionally short and specific. They describe in 3 or 4 brief sentences What you're making, Why is it useful, and How it works. That's all.
Let's look at an example from a course I'm working on: