Product or market; which do you build first?

Here’s a way of looking at things; when selling a product, there are two routes to market:

  1. Develop a product, then go out and try to find a market to buy it
  2. Develop a market, then try to find products to sell to them

The first route is straightforward.

It’s linear; it seems clear enough.

It’s also potentially very narrow and may well lead to a deadend; what if the market doesn’t want what you’ve built?

The second route is more ambiguous.

It’s difficult to see the path.

You’ve got to have a lot of faith that you’re going in the right direction – that you are actually travelling in any direction at all!

But the potential return is much bigger; you create bespoke products that have perfect market fit.

Moreover, you already have a market, you have their interest; you have an audience.

Building an audience requires you building your own platform; you need your own stage from which to communicate and transact with them.

In whatever industry you are in, at whatever stage of business or career, ask yourself:

Are my efforts helping to build my own platform, my own audience?

If not, you may be selling yourself short.

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