Building the “wrong product” is not a waste of time you learn about the market and technical feasibility. Right and wrong are both gray, not black or white. Customer development and technical development typically require a sequence of prototypes that are “less wrong” over time under they become good enough.
Q: Is Building The Wrong Product a Waste of Time?
Don’t assume that it’s a binary outcome, that it’s the right or the wrong product. It’s can be a range of outcomes that are a shade of gray, not black or white. More importantly, it’s an opportunity for learning more about your customers’ needs. You should plan to proceed by a sequence of prototypes that become “less wrong” over time until they are “good enough.”
Values of “less wrong” may range from 1% of the final version to 80%; the real test is if the prototype advances your understanding of customer needs by triggering additional insights through conversation. If you are not surprised you are not learning and if you are avoiding conversations for fear of failure you are learning much more slowly than you could by taking some prudent risks.
“What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our questioning.”
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