Developing New Podcast and Business Ideas by Focusing on Customer Problems

If you are looking to start a new podcast or business and don’t know what topic or industry to start with, we recommend focusing on two things, 1) an industry you are passionate about and 2) customer and personal frustrations within that industry. Let’s do an exercise together.

Photo by Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash

Define something you are passionate about. It can be anything from writing, to real estate, to teaching, to sports. Whatever it is, write it down. Next, write down all of your individual pain points you experience related to this passion that consistently frustrates you. If you have multiple passions, do this exercise for each passion. You will eventually have a list of problems for each of your passions. From there, we need to group similar customers problems and see if we can see any themes resonate with them, this will allows us to focus on solving one big problem.

If you already have a podcast or business idea you are passionate about, write down all of the personal or customer frustrations you hope to help your listeners solve for. Write down as many as you can.

Let’s do an example together. Let’s say, ever since childhood, you have always been passionate about playing and helping others play sports. As a child you played a variety of sports including baseball, soccer, tennis and basketball. Now as an adult, you are currently the assistant coach for your 15-year-old daughter’s JV softball team. You have been helping out in practice and games trying to learn as much as you can from the head coach. During this time you have been frustrated by a few things including coaching inefficiencies during practice, sub-optimal strategies and manual data entry during games, inconsistent umpires and a lack of a real-time and continuous feedback loop for athletes when no coaches are present.

You take these frustrations and combine them into a single problem question you would like to solve for. “How can I help athletes and coaches in all sports dramatically improve performance?”

Let’s now write down as many ideas as we can that will help us solve for the current challenges we are experiencing. If you are just developing a new podcast, don’t add business and app ideas, just stick with the audio content that best provide answers to your problem question like the one above.

Here are the top ideas we came up with out of over 50 for both developing a podcast and a new business.

  1. Develop a podcast full of coaching strategies. Interview the top coaches within their field
  2. Invent a physical tool to help athletes swing, kick or shoot properly in real time
  3. Give umpires and referees video glasses and have the fans vote whether a foul took place, the ball beat the runner, they were offsides, whether it was a ball or strike, etc
  4. Develop an app to help with scorekeeping
  5. Develop an artificial intelligence app that acts like a coach, umpire and score keeper
  6. Take videos of athletes and watch what they are doing well and not so well so they can change their form during the next practices
  7. Develop a game theory podcast to help coaches make better decisions during various times of the game
  8. Have a team of ex-sport professionals go to each game and take score, offer game strategies and offer real-time feedback for each player to help improve their game
  9. Develop a live wisdom of crowds app to help fans vote on the best strategy to take during a game

Let’s revisit the problems we are trying to solve for and see which of these ideas can eventually solve for them all. (the number tied to the idea is added if it can solve the problem)

Coaching inefficiencies during practice (1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Manual data entry during games (4, 5, 8)
Suboptimal strategies during games (5, 7, 8, 9)
Inconsistent umpires and referees (3, 5)
Lack of real-time feedback for athletes when no coaches are present (2, 5,)

Idea 5 (Develop an artificial intelligence app that acts like a coach, umpire and scorekeeper) is the only idea that will allow us to eventually solve all the problems we have been experiencing. It also is the one that will require the least amount of resources to scale rapidly. The others involve physical products or more people as we scale.

Now that we have a business idea and have brainstormed all of the problems this new product or service will solve for, we need to narrow down our initial product launch to solve for one large problem rather than many. This will dramatically help in future feature creep which we will discuss in further chapters.

In our example, the lack of real-time feedback for athletes when no coaches are present is essential to helping athletes become better. It not only is a big problem but it affects nearly every athlete in the work since most can’t afford to have a personal coach helping them every time they are practicing.

A common denominator for successful athletes is what Malcolm Gladwell calls the “ deliberate practice.” In his book, “Outliers: The Story of Success”, he shares numerous success stories of how people who consistently practice at least 10,000 hours over their life, become an expert in their realm.

When psychologists talk about deliberate practice, they mean practicing in a way that pushes your skill set as much as possible. What if, by providing real-time, analytical and data-based coaching feedback, we could dramatically improve the athlete’s performance in half the time? What if we developed an app on the phone that would use real-time video, artificial intelligence and learning algorithms to give athletes constructive feedback on their form, weight distribution, and velocity just as Tiger Woods or Pete Rose would give you if they were standing right behind you?

When athletes are playing without coaches and with their peers during offseason or if they are practicing by themselves in the backyard, they need real-time coaching feedback in order to improve. If they develop bad habits while practicing, these bad habits will carry over to the game.

This will be the major problem we will initially focus on in future posts as an example; to give high school athletes the tools to self-coach and improve even when no coaches are present.

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