Build it and they will come
While exciting and tempting, this strategy has one big flaw: it's very risky. Because guess what? You build it wrong and they won't come.
Perhaps we should rewrite this statement to say, "Build it and they MIGHT come." That's more accurate.
Alright, I'm being a little harsh. Complete failure is not always the case. Most likely if you build it, someone will come. But who?
What if I told you there was a way to de-risk your product development process and seize the biggest opportunity for success? You can do so by first figuring out who you want "they" to be and then build your product in a way that they can't resist.
Think of it this way. If you were trying to give the perfect gift, wouldn't it help to know who the gift was for? Knowing who the gift is for allows you to shop specifically for them. If you don't already know what that person wants or likes, you can do some investigation until you're confident you know what they'll love.
On the contrary, without knowing who the gift is for, you have to take a big risky guess as to what to pick. At best, you can base this guess on what you like, what's trendy, or what you think anyone would like.
Don't Design for Yourself
Designing your product is similar to picking out a gift for someone. Without knowing who your product is for, you'll design the product based on your own opinions and preferences. Unless you yourself are the end user, there is no saying if your product will be successful upon launch. There's a good chance your product won't strongly resonate with anyone since it wasn't tailored specifically to someone.
Instead of designing a product, putting it out into the world and nervously waiting to see who (if anyone) gravitates to it, let's do the reverse.
Put your user first, not last.
An irresistible product solves a problem for the user, delivers the user a delightful experience, and resonates with the user through its aesthetic. Notice what desirability depends on? Your user.
The biggest innovation opportunities stem from humans, your target user.
Don't wait until you need to validate your idea to talk to your user. Get to know your customer before you design anything or even define what your idea or product is.
Gain an understanding of your target user's problems, behaviors, and preferences so that you can design the product to satisfy them, not you. Remember, they are the ones who determine if your product is desirable.
Build it for them and they will come.