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Making It Right: Product Management For A Startup World by Rian van der Merwe, Smashing Magazine

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Chapter 2Uncovering Needs

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Far too often, we hear those words (supposedly spoken by Henry Ford) as a way to justify rushing headlong into executing a so-called innovation before the idea is tested with users. It’s worth noting that not only did Henry Ford probably never speak those words, it also turns out that kind of thinking resulted in “a catastrophic loss of market share from which [Ford] never recovered1.”

The lesson we should take from this story is that it’s extremely dangerous to execute ideas without first identifying and testing assumptions about the value of those ideas. We shouldn’t jump to a solution before we understand the problem. And that’s what this ...

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