September 27, 2011

Solving your own problem

Looking for ways to alleviate the problems and pressure in your own life is critical to developing remarkable products. It helps you to understand the real problems that people are faced with, because you have lived them too. Not only does it help you to understand the problems, it helps you to see opportunities that you would not have seen otherwise.

For instance, my friend Shawn at Torqued Racing plans and coordinates track day events where everyday people can come together and get a little bit of frustration out on the track. (They have an event coming up October 2, 2011 at BeaveRUN if you're interested in driving really fast and experiencing the thrill of racing!)

One of the challenges that Shawn experienced with his track days was checking in all of the drivers. Prior to the event, he needed to print all of the registrations so he could check in all of the drivers at the gate. Needless to say, it's an extra step that gets in the way of him being able to do what he loves, which is hitting the track and having a good time with fellow driving enthusiasts.

Rather than complaining that there wasn't an easier way to manage this process, Shawn decided that he would solve his problem on his own by building a mobile solution that allows him to check drivers in at the event. And, because he knew the problem that he was trying to solve, he built the application so it would still work in areas with limited to no internet access.

It is better to solve the problem that you have, and then share your solution with others, instead of looking at the problems that others are experiencing and then trying to figure out how to solve them. By addressing the area where you are experiencing the most pain, you end up creating products that are remarkable. And even if no one else uses your product or solution, at least the problem that you had is taken care of.

Doing work this way helps you to better understand the problem, builds common ground between you and your customers, and provides you the opportunity to test the solution, adjust, and retest.

Ultimately, this makes you products better, which of course, makes your customers more happy.

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