Should We?

Yesterday, I tweeted out a quote I found from Jurassic Park: 

I think it is becoming increasingly easy to convince yourself (and your team, and investors, and the press, and your friends, and your teachers, etc.) that what you are building is worth their time and attention. 

Conversely, it is still just as (if not harder) challenging to convince your users that it is worth any investment of their time / money. 

Because of this, it is doubly important to be sure that what you are building is solving a real and tangible problem.

It sounds easy - to build a problem that solves a real problem - but our ego and bias are near impossible to avoid getting in the way. Sometimes our intuition is right, but more often, it is our own thoughts and perspective that lead our product astray.

We get to a point where we are just building to build our fanciful idea - versus solving a real problem.

You see this all the time here at school. Most people "making things" have been working on their product for multiple months now before even exposing it to the public. 

I have done it before too. And it has cost me tons of time and resources (more importantly (to me) - it has cost me the time of other people. I wasted others' time by having them get in on the project. And that responsibility is what hurts me most when our projects fail). 

It is fine to "build just to build" - but I try to separate that framework from one that is user-centered and problem-focused. Why? Because the former and latter have very different inputs and consequences.

Building just to build is an art in itself - and one that can very rewarding.

But building for a user that is geared towards solving their problem intimately is more of a combination between a science and an art. I would argue that, early on, this type of experimentation and testing is actually more of a science.

Many of us, however, try to make it an art early on.

We throw up a beautiful landing page. We have brilliant UX. We have a great domain name.

An art.

But much of this falsely validates our ideas. 

We need data to inform our decisions early on in the process so we get away from just building and move towards solving a real problem.