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small grammar fixes in index.md in the first few grafs

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dannguyen committed Jun 26, 2012
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@@ -7,17 +7,17 @@ title: The Pokayoke Guide to Developing Software
A good project starts with a _need_. It's nice if it's a big need -- that way you have a lot of potential customers -- but much more important than that is that it's an _acute_ need. Users should be _hungering_ to fill this need -- it should be so that when they find out about your product, they're compelled to use it. If you fill a desperate need of one person, you have at least one dedicated customer; if you fill a kind of theoretical need for 6 billion, you could easily end up with none. And since people are often alike, filling a need for one person usually fills a need for many others -- or can easily be adapted to do so.
It's important that you feel this need yourself. Ideally, it's a need that you have, borne of your own experience. For example, you might be desperately searching for someone to date you. Second-best is if you can go out and try living the lifestyle that inspires that need. For example, if you're happily married, you might try asking your spouse for a pass so that you can go out and desperately try to find a date. It's not really the same, but at least it's something. At the very least, you should sit and watch people who have this need and be able to empathize them. Go be your single friend's wing-person and watch them try to find someone.
It's important that you feel this need yourself. Ideally, it's a need that you have, borne of your own experience. For example, you might be desperately searching for someone to date you. Second-best is if you can go out and try living the lifestyle that inspires that need. For example, if you're happily married, you might try asking your spouse for a pass so that you can go out and desperately try to find a date. It's not really the same, but at least it's something. At the very least, you should sit and watch people who have this need and be able to empathize with them. Go be your single friend's wing-person and watch them try to find someone.
Of course, it is possible for your need to be too idiosyncratic. Sometimes people will be so in love with an idea that they'll pretend to have a need for it. You want to make sure it's a genuine need you're filling and one good way to do that is to make sure you can find at least one stranger who feels the need as acutely as you do.
Example time: I worked on a site that provided people with a list of interesting and funny things to look at. For most office workers, this is a pretty acute need -- offices are boring and you really can only sit at your computer and look at things, so you're desperate for something interesting to look at to break the tedium. By contrast, my friend worked on a site that let you look up various government things that were happening around you (new liquor permits getting approved, people getting arrested, cars getting towed, etc.). You can come up with lots of stories about why this is interesting or why people might want to know this sort of thing, but there's no real acute need that this site fills. Despite the fact that my friend did a much better job than I did, the site I was working on became vastly more popular than his.
## Idea
But a need is not enough -- you also need an _idea_ to meet the need. Look at your idea objectively for a second. Does it really seem like it will really meet the need? Most bad ideas are bad because they don't really. You want to work forwards from the need to the idea, not backwards from your idea toward some sort of justification. The government data site I mentioned suffered from this problem -- government data is really cool and providing people with an easy way to search through it seems like a really cool idea. And once you're in love with that idea, it's easy to come up with needs that it might fill. But you're just coming up with justifications. It's not a direct way of addressing any one need. And it's always better to nail one need than to kind of fill two.
But a need is not enough -- you also need an _idea_ to meet the need. Look at your idea objectively for a second. Does it really seem like it will really meet the need? Most bad ideas are bad because they don't really have a need. You want to work forwards )from the need to the idea), not backwards from your idea toward some sort of justification. The government data site I mentioned suffered from this problem -- government data is really cool and providing people with an easy way to search through it seems like a really cool idea. And once you're in love with that idea, it's easy to come up with needs that it might fill. But you're just coming up with justifications. It's not a direct way of addressing any one need. And it's always better to nail one need than to kind of fill two.
This isn't to say that one idea can't solve multiple needs. Great ideas do. But they genuinely solve them, they're direct and sensible solutions to the problem. They're not just ways to shoehorn different needs into justifying an idea you're already fond of.
This isn't to say that one idea can't solve multiple needs. Great ideas do. But they genuinely solve them. They're direct and sensible solutions to the problem. They're not just ways to shoehorn different needs into justifying an idea you're already fond of.
Take the iPhone for example. You might say "What need does the iPhone solve? Steve Jobs just came up with a really good generic idea and then it happened to be useful to fill all sorts of needs." But that's not true at all. When the iPhone was launched, Jobs insisted it filled three needs: it was a widescreen video iPod, a vibrant Internet communicator, and a phone that's fun to use. Let's take the one of these that seems least like the iPhone. What would you need to just make a great widescreen video iPod? Well, you'd need a big, wide screen that takes up the whole device and a long-lasting battery. You'd also need some kind of input mechanism, but how do you do that when the screen takes up the whole device? Well, you have to make the screen the input mechanism. But now you have a brick about the size of your phone sitting in your pocket. You really ought to combine them. So why not use the touchscreen to provide the interface to a phone that's fun to use? And now that you have a big touchscreen and a wireless connection, it seems silly not to be able to use it to access the Internet... and you're back at the iPhone. Even Steve Jobs wasn't good enough to sell a good idea that doesn't fill a real need.

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