What problems are worth solving?
Start by looking for those in pain.
But how do you know if they really are in pain?
Look for friction. Serious signs of friction.
Because you don't want to waste time luring people towards a goal.
You want to offer help to those who are already stuck or burned by their motivation. You want to offer a painkiller to those frequently and significantly dealing with friction felt striving towards their goal.
You're not looking for a job-to-be-done.
You're looking for the job-that-needs-to-be-done.
Your job is to verify that need and create the painkiller.
Look for clues like demonstrated demand.
How do you build a product others will want?— Corey Gwin (@corey_gwin) November 20, 2019
Start by looking for demonstrated demand. pic.twitter.com/tW1UNKIGhN
And make sure you talk to those you're helping.
Understand motivations and goals:
What actions do they actually do that cause them pain?
What are they already trying to do to reduce that pain?
Those are signs of opportunity to help. To create value.
And while it's possible they'll know what's causing them pain, it's very likely they don't know what they need to alleviate it — that's why it's a pain.
It's important not to ask directly about what's causing them pain or how they wish it could go away because you want the pain and the desire to alleviate it to be genuine. The need should be apparent to you as an outsider.
It's your job to identify these pains and motivations causing them as opportunities and it is exactly why you'll later get rewarded for the relief.
Pre-commitments help hedge the risk of your time spent creating the relief. It also indicates extreme pain and desire for it. It also requires trust in you. Be sure to earn and keep that trust.
It's also smart to ensure selling the painkiller will help you achieve your own aims. Not all pains need relieving. Some might even be necessary.
You also don't want to just sell additional force to overcome friction.
Sell what reduces or eliminates friction.
Lubrication is one way to reduce friction — simplifying or easing the process in achieving a goal.
But how do you eliminate friction?
You don't push a heavy couch — there's too much friction. You lift it up first, with some help, to make it easier to move around.
Great products do the same. They're levers. They lift our efforts with little extra effort — leverage.
But it's also what makes building them difficult.
A lever has to be able to understand how to correctly lift someone's motivations. They have to properly fit into the system and flow. They're custom made with attention to all the detail and it's why they are so valuable.
But even new levers have frictions.
Frictions that might just be new problems worth solving.