Will they ever come?

Perhaps you’ve built something, and you’re waiting for the throngs of people to come, beating down your door. They won’t.

Looking back is easy, of course, but from here we can see that we built something for ourselves, not for a problem others were having. At least it isn’t the best solution.

Our would-be customers, by the way, have adopted non-competing (but substitute) products instead, at a much faster pace than anticipated.

Did we build something for others, or for ourselves?

Building for others means testing, and asking questions, and being involved in communities committed to caring for our prospective customers. Even if they’re not trying to solve the same problems, we can learn what other problems our audience is experiencing, and perhaps solve those, too.

It means starting small, investing little, leveraging emerging technologies, learning about your prospects, and most of all, solving their problems.

Once you’ve done that, you can visit them and ask for the sale. If enough people buy because of your direct influence, and if you’ve built sociality into your product or service, the rest will come.

I’ve been listening to Seth Godin’s Startup School Podcast, and it’s amazing. Check it out in the Podcast section of iTunes.