August 1, 2022

Is validating your product prior to launch all an illusion

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If you are in the space of creating new things: products, designers, entrepreneurs, you’ll begin to hear the word validation floating around more and more. 

“How can we validate if this is going to work?”

“How do we know if people are going to pay for this product or not?”

“How do we know if this product fits the market?”

“How do we validate if a feature is worth building out?”

“How do we validate a design?”

And my answer is always the same.

You can’t.

I mean you can, but not by treating an abstract idea as if it is the whole truth. 

Because what people are really asking for when they float questions like “How can we validate if this is going to work?” is they are asking for certainty ahead of time. 

But there is only one real way to get as close to certainty as possible, and that is to build the product and make it available for anyone to use and buy. Real users interacting with real things on real days during the course of real problems is when the real work begins and only then can you truly understand your product. A real thing is only something that is available to the market. Not something that you are holding back and won’t push live. 

You are not your users, and in this context, that means you are not real. You cannot validate something that doesn’t exist. You cannot validate an idea or someone's best guess.

If you want to see if something works, make it. The simplest version of the whole thing, or version 1.0, and then send it live to see how the market responds. This is how you can start to validate your product and answer the questions above. Because trying to validate your product prior to launch is just an illusion. 

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