Jason Fried

February 26, 2021

A product's gravity

I'm often asked how I know when an idea might make a good product.

First, I never know. It's always a guess, a bet. I'm just trying to do what I can to increase the odds, to beat the house.

But more specifically, it's always a feeling. It's never a number. It's never a quantity of yesses. It's never about early feedback. It's never about research.

What does this feeling feel like? It feels like gravity, like magnetism.

An idea starts somewhere. Low density, like interstellar gas.

And often times it just stays there. Particles too far apart to attract one other, forces too weak to bind. Just a set of disparate ideas, no product to be had.

But sometimes, a few things start to come together. Excitement, insights, concepts start to spin. Potential begins to orbit the idea. And then the idea starts to move. It picks up mass. And more and more things are attracted. Concepts tie together, cases become clear. And then... Snap! Stuff begins to collide. Pulled into the core by a force that feels like gravity. A strong magnet. Snap! Ah, this could work with that, and that feature begets this one. Flows materialize. A name might even be pulled in. Snap!

It pulls. That's when I feel like I'm on to something.

About Jason Fried

Hey! I'm Jason, the Co-Founder and CEO at 37signals, makers of Basecamp and HEY. Subscribe below to follow my thinking on business, design, product development, and whatever else is on my mind. Thanks for visiting, thanks for reading.