The following guest post is from a good friend and fellow Heretic Matej Novak, a copywriter with a deep passion for language and branding.
The other day my wife and I were watching TV and an ad for the Dyson fan came on. Have you seen this thing? It’s amazing. No blades, just an empty circle that somehow moves air through the room. It’s black magic, I tell ya.
One of the selling points was how quiet it is. Something about advanced technology, a shielded motor, yadda yadda. It all sounded very impressive. But my wife pointed out that one of the things we like about our fan is the white noise it creates. It helps us sleep.
Now I’m not saying that a quieter fan isn’t a desirable thing (I doubt that it’s completely silent anyway), but it got me thinking about problems and solutions.
Everyone wants to be better, to make a better product — either better than someone else or better than before. We want to be able to say that it’s faster, smaller, lighter, quieter. But we can get so wrapped up in that that we forget to ask if it’s what people want. We could keep making smaller phones, for example, but they’d become unusable pretty fast (and at this point we’ve seen that smaller phones aren’t what people want).
The best products and services are the ones that fulfill needs and solve actual human problems. Sometimes these are clear and obvious, but sometimes they’re unspoken, the kinds of problems that people don’t even realize they have.
It’s up to you to find them. And solve them. Just make sure they’re actual problems first.