Make sure the problem is urgent

“Don't build until you find people for whom this problem is, at least, problem #2” - Patrick McKenzie

To avoid lies, fluff and wishful thinking, find out specifics about their actual past behaviour. If they are already trying to find a solution, it’s an urgent problem for them. Otherwise it's not.

Only continue if your intended audience have a strong need for a resolution.

In practice

I spoke to potential users and had a lukewarm response (the problem was annoying, but they weren’t really looking for a solution), but I ignored that and assumed (without evidence, and incorrectly) that artists would also be keen to view other artists work, and would be my early adopters.


Talk to people in niches (e.g. genres, communities) to find what they are already doing, and why.

Build a map of potential problem areas from these conversations (instead of imposing it top down), and validate that its real for an audience by seeing who is actively looking for a solution.

For example, Spotify started by focusing on music fans who were already sharing large volumes of music files with each other. These fans wanted access to a large range of music and were already acting on that using a file sharing systems - the problem was real and urgent for them.

So if the problem is is the high cost of art, or lack of access to a broad range of art, who is actively looking for a solution?