It Ain’t Always a Problem You’re Solving

Twice this week I’ve seen posts advising entrepreneurs to “be very clear about what the problem is that you’re trying to solve.”

And yet, that framework often simply does not apply. What problem did Twitter solve? What about Instagram? Or YouTube? Or Facebook?

More broadly, what problem does TV solve? Or radio? Or the movies?

Things that entertain us, or allow us to communicate in novel ways, or that give us new forms of self-expression don’t really solve problems. They satisfy needs.

Building something that satisfies a need is quite different from making something that solves a problem. If you’re an entrepreneur, it’ll help if you know which of these things you’re trying to do.


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