Product Discovery Process #2: How to find the problem?

Date 26 June 2023

When building a digital product, you should focus on the user, identify what problem they have, and bring about a value exchange. 

You don't buy a car to keep it displayed in front of your house. You buy it to satisfy your needs: to get to work faster, to take your kids to kindergarten, or to go on vacation in comfort. Analogous market mechanisms as with physical products are at work in building a digital product. As Dave McClure of 500 Start-ups writes: 

"Customers dont care about your solution. They care about their problems." 

That's why when building a digital product, you should focus on the user, identify what problem they have, and bring about a value exchange — that is, offer them a solution to their problem that is valuable enough for them to want to pay for it. Regardless of whether you base the source of revenue on subscription, one-time payment, or advertising, most often the basis for the products revenue is the activity of users — the more valuable users you attract and monetise, the greater the value of your venture.


Imagine you're building an app that will allow people to easily find a trustworthy psychologist. Let's call it "Find a Psychologist.” You can approach that project by defining it as "a list of psychologists and their contacts". This will give you a substitute for a phone book. 


You could also approach it in this way: "I want to give people looking for a psychologist a tool to help them find the right, experienced professional on the first try”. You can find a solution to an important problem and look for the best way to achieve it. For example, it could be an app that, based on an initial inquiry form, presents the user with the top three psychologists out of the thousands in the database. This is a great place to start, considering that people who are looking for a psychologist often have several approaches before they find the right professional for them, as you may be aware.

Putting together your goals and user problems should be the basis for building your product and finding a solution.

Remember at the beginning when I encouraged you not to get attached to your idea? With this approach, you are not limited to one solution. You can find another one that is better and cheaper.


Despite the fact that many people understand perfectly well that the user and his needs should be put first, they are confident right from the beginning that they know perfectly well their future customer and therefore his problems. Thus, they blindly decide to build a full product. This is disastrous thinking, which often leads to a loss of money.


To ensure an effective product discovery process and avoid such pitfalls, it can be beneficial to engage product discovery services in software or work with a product strategy agency. These experts specialize in assisting businesses in the product discovery phase and providing rapid product validation sprints. Their expertise and guidance can help you uncover user problems, validate assumptions, and find optimal solutions. By leveraging their discovery phase services for product development, you can mitigate the risk of failure and optimize the chances of building a successful digital product.


Sometimes, wrong assumptions and even small nuances overlooked by the creator result in a lost opportunity to make a really good product.




CEO Sparing Digital 


View All

Let us inspire you.