Well, time to get this ball rolling.
Several months ago, I started working on a new startup called Urbsly. I had a big idea - that I could make it a lot easier and more fun to grow your own food, if only the available information was organized better and easier to find.
I had also been following the Lean Startup movement, and was eager to put those ideas into practice. So I did.
Over the past few months, I conducted a lot of user interviews, to figure out whether I had a problem worth solving.
It turned out I didn’t… and yet I did. I learned the following lessons:
- The most experienced gardeners cared least about the problems I was trying to solve. They had already solved them. When I asked how, a typical answer was ‘trial and error’.
- Experienced gardeners still had problems, but there were very few commonalities - their remaining problems tended to be both hard and unique to them.
- Less experienced gardeners cared moderately about most of the problems I was proposing to tackle, but with few exceptions, not very strongly about any of them.
- One problem I was interested in turned out to actually be two related problems.
- When I split the problem in two and interviewed more people, one of them got a much stronger response, and it consistently got a strong response even if some other problem was more important to the interviewee.
- That issue about the most experienced gardeners not caring about any of the problems I wanted to tackle? It turns out that there is an interesting exception to that: If an experienced gardener moves to an area with a different climate, they suddenly care about many of the same issues that new gardeners do.
So, I now have a validated problem to concentrate on, and am testing paper prototypes of solutions to make sure I have good problem/solution fit.