Let need decide!
According to human psychology, an individual always takes action to remove a need. Therefore, the first step to build a successful product is to identify a “need” worth to address.
A need is a pain that users have or gain that they will achieve by using that product. Maslow’s-hierarchy-of-needs describes different types of needs that an individual has to survive or grow.
Existing or Future need?
If it is an “existing need” you will have a much easier path. If it is a “future need” you must convince potential users having that need. In both cases, you must always convince potential users that your product or service will resolve that need. It is important to make potential users amazed to convince them to purchase the product. Convincing users to purchase is the hardest part of any business.
Sometimes, you can define a new need for users (which they even didn’t think about that before) according to the “founder’s vision”. This type can be very capital intensive due to high customer acquisition costs which must be spent to introduce the product to market, acquire new users, and keep churn rate as low as possible. Not proper for everyone!
Vision vs Need.
A product vision is a future that the product wants to realize. A product vision can be defined using bottom-up or top-down methodology.
When you determine the vision using a bottom-up methodology, you mostly tie your product to a specific need. Therefore, you most probably lose the opportunity to serve different user needs.
However, if you determine it using top-down methodology, you can attract a large group of users with various needs. A winning product vision must resonate with different user needs (pains and gains). Do you think Uber is one of the most successful service/product? This is the Uber vision:
Imagine a city that reclaims the space once wasted on garages and lots and meters to build new parks and schools and housing
Having a futuristic vision is exciting. However, most of the entrepreneurs are not lucky enough to be able to set a futuristic vision.
A futuristic vision defines a service or product that never existed before, and it will be hard to envision by a normal individual. This group of founders may get hints from science fiction movies or novels, or their ideas may arise from a deep understanding and unseen existing need in the field.
Clearly, it is not easy to raise capital for this type of vision or build a team to realize this vision. We do not have many Steve Jobs or Elon Musk in this world anyway!