The #1 Rule of Product Development: Talk to Your Users Relentlessly

Building something cool isn’t a goal that will guide your product development to success. Solving the right problem is.

“Remind101 co-founder Brett Kopf was diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia in sixth grade,” writes Chris Albrecht in this post for GigaOm. “After struggling to cope with a complicated schedule at college, Kopf and his brother created a text messaging system to send him alerts about assignments.” In this short video interview Kopf describes how after testing the system with a few thousand students at Michigan State, he and his brother knew it was solving a problem, but even so, they struggled to gain traction. They weren’t really trying to figure out the true problem their system was attempting to solve — they were really just focusing on building something cool.

“We weren’t doing a great job of talking to our users, which is probably the most important thing there is when building a product,” Kopf says. Once they adjusted their approach and started actively seeking feedback they realized that teachers were actually the users they needed to focus on. With their new end users foremost in mind, Kopf and his team were able to refine their product to fit their needs and solve the right problem — and remind101 has succeeded as a result.

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