With technical overhead rising due to compounding knowledge and technologies, upfront interaction with the audience being served must increase. It follows naturally, because sinking huge amounts of money and time into a product that no one wants is about the most nauseating feeling in the world. Upfront interaction is the cure.
Sharing ideas with those who will likely be customers. Starting communities around a product while it’s still in implementation. This is where big companies today are losing and where things get tricky.
It’s tricky to navigate this path because the community needs to be all moving towards the same goal. A focused group. With too many different needs represented, the final product will come out meaningless to most. For exactly this reason, big companies struggle to pull this off. They want big markets, so they need big communities, which makes sorting priorities a high effort task, and a mostly meaningless endeavor.
An illustrative example of rising technical overhead is AI tools vs. a simple programmed widget.
In software today, one guy can start to build a simple widget with only a computer and some spare time, and if it doesn’t work out, the audience doesn’t like it, no big deal. He can shoot for the next widget. Moving into the age of AI, which may be a bit more hype than revolutionary at this point, the technical overhead is rising. The concepts behind AI require specific knowledge that lowers the amount of people that can do it compared to general programming. Starting an AI project may require an AI developer, a web developer/programmer for additional parts that aren’t linked specifically to the AI, a significant investment in computing power, and likely someone with a background in the industry they are trying to make a change with AI in, healthcare for example. Don’t forget the CEO or someone to manage those people, find funding to keep the project going, and to start finding some customers.
That’s some rising overhead there, and the reason for seeing a growing number of open source projects. It’s about getting the right group together. In the future, products will have to be developed with small groups of similar customers, even for consumer products. Part of this is going to stem from the long tail that’s already become a bigger opportunity due to technology.
Think about where you can fit a project into the world, and how to bring that group together, in order to get feedback during development, it may be just the ticket your idea is looking for.