I am working on a new product plan and am on a quest for the ever elusive sweet spot.
Definition: a sweet spot is a place, often numerical, as opposed to physical, where a combination of factors suggest a particularly suitable solution.
I know its out there somewhere, waiting for me to find it - but it isn’t making it easy. You see, finding your product’s sweet spot is a lot like Goldilocks at lunch time - very hard to please. A little to the left is too small. A little to the right is too big.
A little too late, you get eaten by bears.
In reality, it is much harder than picking between three different bowls of porridge. There are literally hundreds of levers that you can pull.
Plus there are levers that you don’t even know of yet just waiting to pop their head up right when you think you got things figured out.
There is a lot of temptation to give up and just try to get as close as possible (see Nokia’s N-Gage as an example of a product that was just not there). It usually takes a lot of work, time, sweat, blood, tears, Mountain Dew, etc to get things right.
But when you do, you will know it (see Club Penguin for an example of finding the perfect balance).
Know how you will know? Your customers will tell you, and everyone else they know. Geoffrey Moore describes this in his classic book, Crossing The Chasm:
Numerous studios have shown that in the high-tech buying process, word of mouth is the number one source of information buyers reference, both at that beginning of the sales cycle, to establish their long lists, and at the end, when they are paring down their short ones.
Find the sweet spot.