Chapter 2. How to Create Products People Want

Avoiding “Ego-First Development”

“WHAT IF YOU LAUNCH your product...and nobody buys it?”

These were the words that compelled me, as a would-be graduate of the 30×500 bootcamp (a class that teaches people how to create and sell their first products), to become a student. It was a moment that would change my life.

Less than six months after graduating from the course, I created two products from scratch that made more money with fewer customers than the venture-backed startup I was a part of for almost five years.

This is a testament to the 30×500 approach: it forces product creators to cut directly to the heart of why a product should exist: to find a customer.

Again, these sentiments aren’t new. I was paraphrasing Peter Drucker’s words from almost 50 years ago: “the purpose of the enterprise is to create a customer.”[42]

Talk about cutting directly to what’s been causing technology’s all-too-frequent product failures.

That’s, in fact, one of the motivations Hoy and Hillman had for creating the 30×500 bootcamp: railing against the phenomenon they call “ego-first development”: thinking that a product or idea is special just because it’s yours.

It’s a fallacy that sets you up for failure. It creates an endless cycle of throwing ideas against the wall with the hopes of finding something that works. Hoy puts it like this:

The core problem with so many businesses is that they’re based on what the business owner wants. They’re fantasizing about being ...

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