Whenever someone approaches me with a new project idea – especially if they’re a non-technical person hoping for a technical solution – I like to start with a series of problem statements:
- What are we building?
- Who are we building it for?
- Why are we building it?
I’ll use this blog as an example:
- What I’m building: A blog
- Who I’m building it for: Potential clients + myself as a mind-dump
- Why I’m building it: A creative outlet + a place to capture and sort ideas + because writing makes me happy
Websites, apps, software, laptops, pen and paper and so on are all just tools. They help you get a job done. The basic principle of a good tool is that it helps you do what you came to do as quickly as possible.
A pencil is a bad tool if it has hurdles to jump over before you can get to writing with it – like if you have to sharpen it every time you use it. A piece of paper is a bad tool to write on if it’s damp and you have to dry it out first, or if it has a big hole in the middle of it that minimises what you can write.
Many startup founders thing that their business is a tool for the customer, but usually they’re about 10 steps ahead of themselves. When you start a business, the first user is you. If the entire business relies on you writing a lot of articles, then it doesn’t matter how flashy the design is or how great the SEO is or how beautiful your imagery is. These are all secondary user problems that shouldn’t even be remotely considered until the primary user is taken care of. If you don’t have a good place to write, then you will never write. There will be no articles, there will be nothing to read, there will be no SEO and no one will ever visit your site anyway.
The best tools for the job let you channel that spark of creative energy into productive work as soon as possible.