The Sadly Short Story Of The Isolated Product Developer

Author: Gab Goldenberg

Jake was a quick-witted entrepreneur oozing with creativity.

He made decent money working for others at the agency that employed him. Somewhere along the way, Jake decided that he should come up with his own product.

So he did. Jake spent all his free time for the better part of a summer in quiet isolation. While he kept up his day job, as soon as the clock struck 5:00 everyday, the fire in Jake’s seat at his desk burned him right out the door to his hatchback.

He sped home (always following the posted speed limits, naturally; his disposable income was for PPC testing, not speeding tickets) and cracked open the laptop.

‘Tippity-tap, tippity-tap’ he tippity-tapped at his keyboard. Slowly, slowly, a remarkable product emerged.

By the end of the summer, Jake’s product was done. He’d had a professional proofreader weed out the grammar mistakes, a humorist eliminated the worst jokes, and a friend informed he needed to shower. (Typing away like that one might get carried away…)

The big day finally came. Crossing his fingers, and tying his dog’s legs crooked for good measure (it was a stuffed puppy; Jake was no sadist… just a taxidermist) Jake launched his product!

“BOOOOOOM!” he announced as he lit his rocket, aiming for the stratosphere. The PPC ads were roaring, his copy was soaring and the Twitterverse was all… well, atwitter.

“fizzle-whimper,” answered the market, in energetic boredom.

“What’s the matter here?” asked Jake. “I’ve worked hard, see! You should be more compliant with what I’m trying to do, geez!”

“Did you ask me what I wanted?” quipped the market. “Why should I care about your product, when you don’t care what I need?”

“Cuz I’m motherf****** Jake with a motherf***** iFrame!” stomped Jake! (He thought he was the next motherf****** Jobs.)

Said the market, “Whatever, perv…”

Moral of the story: Ask what people want. Then develop. It’s funny how this is true in both SEO (keyword research first… building links backwards), product development, and the ways markets develop in general.

Here are some links to illustrate, and below that is a link to download a free chapter from my upcoming book on advanced SEO. I’m asking my subscribers now for suggestions on what they’d like to see in it…

If you liked this post on marketing and creativity, you might want to download a chapter from my upcoming book on advanced SEO.


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  1. Great post Gab. Love how you framed it making it such an entertaining read. Question though. There are many times when asking the market what it wants can be a good way to make a good project. But then there are the times when the market doesn't know what it wants? To reference the famous (and admittedly slightly tired) quote from Henry Ford: if we had asked people what they wanted they would have said 'faster horses'.

    Comment by Kristy Bolsinger - June 28, 2010 @ 10:18pm
  2. Kristy, that's an excellent point. In that kind of situation, maybe you can distill the pain point in the feedback and apply it to your product. E.g. Show that your Ford is faster than the best Arabian stallions. Glad you found it entertaining :D.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - June 28, 2010 @ 10:25pm
  3. Great post. It's not just newbs that make those mistakes, sadly.

    Comment by Troy Redington - June 29, 2010 @ 1:44pm
  4. It was actually quite humorous. People do have to feel out the market place before they decide to really get going with new product launches. Feel out what the community can really use.

    Comment by Maciej - June 29, 2010 @ 5:28pm
  5. @Troy I'm one of them haha! @Maciej - you got it alright! I've developed stuff more than once without first asking people about it first!

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - June 29, 2010 @ 8:19pm
  6. Very entertaining story... which can build on the concept of doing a trending analysis etc

    Comment by Diamondstar - July 14, 2010 @ 11:48am

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