How to Evaluate a New Product Idea

Evan Williams has a very useful post describing a different matrix to use when evaluating ideas for new businesses–particularly technology companies.

Over the years, I’ve talked to a lot of people about what their business ideas. Many of the ideas fail to pass more than a couple of the criteria that Evan describes.

During these casual conversations, I’ve struggled to figure out how to help people see the same picture I did about the likelihood of their ideas being successful. I don’t want to discourage them from pursuing their dreams—there are far too many people already discouraging people from taking risks. At the same time, I want to help people understand where the limits of their idea are and help them have a realistic picture of the challenges they face.

The next time I find myself in one of these conversations, I’m going to point them to Evan’s post to help them evaluate their own idea. Maybe this will help us develop a common language to use when discussing how the viability of the idea.