Photo by Eqqman
For the successful products I've worked on, the process has always been like this:
1 – Take an general idea (eg there's a lot of valuable data in everyone's inbox that can be used to solve problems)
2 – Think through some practical applications and users
3 – Prototype the product, and try it out on people
4 – Take what clicked, if anything, and repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have something awesome
I have a bias against big visions, pre-market analysis, or even having a detailed plan up-front. I prefer to bet on my ability to execute the product development stages really well and end up in a good place.
This is not how most people work, and it's definitely not what potential investors and other people involved in evaluating a startup want to hear. I've spent the last few months focused on selling other people on my ideas for where I can take the business, rather than iterating on the product. What I've found is that I'm just not that great at communicating a grand vision. In my heart I believe you always start off with a product that sucks, and you find your way to Jesus through your interactions with customers.
With that in mind, over the next couple of months I'm going to play to my strengths and focus on getting more folks using Mailana and helping me improve the product. If you're interested in helping, please sign up for beta testing!