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An oldie but goodie from @werner http://bit.ly/Kaf4mX Working backwards from the customer to define the product. via @gunzalis

The advice begins:

"1. Start by writing the Press Release. Nail it. The press release describes in a simple way what the product does and why it exists - what are the features and benefits. It needs to be very clear and to the point. Writing a press release up front clarifies how the world will see the product - not just how we think about it internally."

This is truly a gem.
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12 comments
 
Great streamlined process to follow to nourish a business idea.
 
Looks extremely pertinent to mobile app publishing - must take a gander, and, assuming the reverse process is workable, implement into product development
 
It's not clear to me that this advice is significantly different from "Start with a very detailed design before you code things." The agile development folks argue persuasively that it is very possible to design your way into a bad product by overlooking ways of shifting the design to something which is also elegant in implementation.
 
That's a good way to organize a research project as well: Write the introduction, background and methods sections of your future main paper, and sketch in the results just to remind yourself what you expect. The paper you write in the end will look quite different of course, but the familiar format, and the act of effectively explain it all to a stranger helps you see that it all makes sense.
 
I'd go a step further and talk to customers. Ideally even put up a simple Google Adwords campaign for a "coming soon" landing page with an email sign up for beta testers and perhaps a feature list. That way you find out if no one is interested or if they're interested only in feature X of your product. Even that is not the first step. It's step 4 of
How to Start a Software Business: http://answers.onstartups.com/a/11577/3534 )
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