This one is a little personal, but I need some advice.
I have a friend who is working on creating a new web-based product/business. It’s in the consumer space and that’s all I want to say about it for now.
I’ve talked to her about this idea. She’s been working on it for several months and it will be launching this fall.
When she talks about it, she’s incredibly passionate about it, tells me in no uncertain terms, why she thinks it’s going to be successful and talks a lot about the possibilities of where it could go.
When she speaks about it, I feel the passion and come away thinking, “Hey, maybe she’s onto something.”
But then when I go to beta site, and try out the application, I quickly change my view and wonder, who would really benefit from it, given other similar (but obviously not identical) applications out there.
The space her application is in is a good one, with lots of media/press attention, but I really think she’s got a huge uphill climb ahead, and I don’t see how she will succeed.
But I can’t figure out how to tell her that.
First of all, what do I really know about how the future will unfold? Maybe I’m not the target audience for this application. She’s got a lot of positive feedback from beta testers.
But, here are my reasons:
- The market she’s entering is very competitive with several well established incumbents.
- I think the application is not differentiated enough from other similar products
- I think it is complex for the average consumer
- She hasn’t done a good enough job of segmenting the market and identifying specific targets users
- I think that it may appeal to a small niche of people, but making those people aware of it and getting them to use it may be quite an expensive proposition.
So, here’s the core question:
When someone is working on a new product idea, and you don’t think it will be successful, how can you tell them if they ask you your opinion, without jeopordizing a personal relationship in the process?
Looking forward to any help you can provide.