Blog Archives

The Value of Talking to Your Market

Greetings, DMI class. I hope you found yesterday’s class session helpful in brainstorming your initial new product concepts. It’s interesting to see the direction that everyone is moving in.

Tomorrow we’ll be focusing on conducting original research with your potential market on your concepts. This may help to determine if your idea is just that — an idea — or if there is potential to make it something more. Briggs Chapter 5 hit on this point well.

We also discussed the notion of product-market fit. This article from Entrepreneur might be helpful while you start to contemplate your ideas further: 3 Steps to Determine Product-Market Fit.

When we did the sticky test many of you reported that the “Unexpected” and “Story” traits were a challenge at this point. Talking to your market may yield some interesting ideas on those fronts. I found this NiemanLab article that highlights an unexpected element quite well: Soon, publishers will be able to determine when smartphone users are bored and push content at them.

The NiemanLab is a fantastic source to dive into. Remember that your final concept must have a significant news element built into it. As you continue to develop your idea think about how you’re going to include journalistic elements: news storytelling, generating original content via blog posts like The Atlantic is doing, or other news content formats like podcasting, perhaps partnerships to showcase great content from other journalists, etc. And, some of you are looking at localization aspects – how can you build a hyperlocal news element into your idea?


Solving The Problem

According to Mark Briggs, author of our course textbook Entrepreneurial Journalism, some of the most successful startups began by solving a problem that the company founder faced in her/his daily life. In Chapter 5, he cites Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith as one example. Bhatia and Smith wanted to have the ability to access their work email accounts from any computer with Internet access regardless of firewalls used by their employers. To solve their problem, they created Hotmail.

With Homework 1 you’re going to start identifying some possible startup concepts for your new business venture. One way to think about new products is to identify specific problems you face in activities you perform on a regular basis. Ideally, other people face this same problem, and they would be interested in the solution you develop to the problem.

Chapters 4 and 5 of the Briggs’ text will help you get started on this endeavor. Chapter 4 focuses on innovation: How does one innovate? What are the essential elements of innovation? Chapter 5 helps you to identify if your idea is just that — an idea — or does it have the potential to become a viable business concept.

During our Sept. 9 class you’ll be presenting two to three initial digital media startup concepts. See the Homework 1 handout under the Assignments tab for complete details.

We’ll help brainstorm your ideas during Monday’s class session.