How to validate a product idea


Derrick Reimer is co founder of Drip and now building StaticKit.

But in the gap between those two projects, he worked on a Slack alternative called Level. Which ended up failing after a year.

In this episode of The Product Business, Derrick looks back on how he failed to validate the product, despite thinking he was asking the right questions. And how he’s now validating his new product.

For the first 5 minutes, Derrick and host, Scott, talk about the current landscape for static websites. After that they get into the idea validation chat (so hold tight if you’re not technical).

3 lessons…

  • Two mistakes Derrick made in validating Level as new alternative to Slack:
  1. Not going deep enough when people said they weren’t happy with Slack. They talk up the pain but nobody had actually tried to find an alternative. They weren’t actively trying to solve the problem. When it came down to it, they didn’t feel enough pain to go through a move to a new platform.
  2. He also talked to people who didn’t have the ability / authority to make the shift from Slack to another platform. Their pain didn’t matter if they couldn’t make the change or force others in the org to change.

  • Build a product you’re going to use yourself. When you’re in it everyday you get insights that you can’t get from only building for others.
  • Luck plays a bigger part in business than people want to think. Having an idea, shipping it and being in the right place at the right time. Then iterating on feedback. This happens more often than structured validation. So ship fast and often to cut risk and increase chances of finding something that works.

Derrick is the co-founder of Drip, which was acquired by LeadPages. He started an app called Level, worked on it for a year, and it ended up failing. We talk about why it failed, his framework for validating products now, and how he is applying that to his next project StaticKit.