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Ask HN: Which market testing tools have you found useful?
6 points by atte 1714 days ago | hide | past | web | 5 comments | favorite
I admit it: I've made the typical developer mistake more than once of building a product that I thought was "cool, and easy to whip together with Rails." I've said things like, "I'm sure that we'll be able to find users for it after we can show it to people."

I'm finally over that mentality, and from now on I will only build products after collecting thorough data that demonstrates a market need. So, I'm wondering what tools hackers here have found especially useful for finding markets and testing viability of digital products (web services, apps).

Friends! Talking through things with honest people is the best feedback. This doesn't work if you have a lot of supportive rather than honest and blunt people around, so if needed talk to strangers first. Try going to a meetup for something in your area- doesn't have to be the same language- there will be geeks there. Pitch to them. Pitch to everyone you can that you think wouldn't mind. And of course, put your site up on HN and ask for honest feedback, but do that only when you have something that you wouldn't tear apart yourselves.

BTW- only building apps where there is a market need is a surefire way to stifle creativity and lose interest. Start up a project on GitHub for fun that does something cool and do that to get your creative juices flowing. Then don't abandon it. There was a study a few years ago that found that the majority of "successful" free or open source projects have a developer associated with them that only started that one or two free or open source projects (ever).

1. Talking with your potential users looking for problems - warning: it's gonna be hard but with a very high ROI. 2. I've recently used Google Consumer Survey - you can get a $150 coupon by sending an email request to: pmcdonald@google.com 3. I'm now working on a survey to send to people I know that will be willing to fill in many questions.

In general your time should be spent: 50% problem team - finding more facts about the problem you are solving. 50% solution team - building a very minimal product(aka mvp) based on current data problem team has discovered.

This kind of work should get you into a feedback loop where you not only research but also test - these two together should make you move faster and wiser.

feel free to ask more.

Where would you suggest one might look for people/businesses with problems? Thanks!

Just to clarify - are you suggesting that small businesses can take on problems that some of those large businesses are having?

Wouldn't that require a lot of insider information as well as connections within those companies?

I guess my question was a lot less daring - how would one approach task of finding problems/needs within reasonable reach of his own social or geographical vicinity, such as identifying a small-to-medium businesses niche and approaching those, based on the assumption that it's easier to approach this kind of businesses.


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