The Primary Reality Check

Ideas are best materialized, transformed and achieved when a value is attached, and one of the easiest ways to identify your product’s value is by evaluating whether or not it solves a problem or addresses a need — reality check.

Can your idea move a mountain? Good! It calls for excitement, but how often do you consider the primary reality check?

A short story of Motorola illustrating reality check

“The iridium project launched by Motorola in the late 1990s illustrates this point perfectly. Around that time, the mobile market was in ferment, and service operators around the world were fighting to claim the increasing number of mobile subscribers.

Most mobile networks, however, were using base stations that could cover only a couple of kilometers each. Such technology obviously limited the range where operators could offer their services.

In order to address this limitation, Motorola tried to develop a network that would cover literally the whole world. It looked like a great innovation, and the management team was enthusiastic about the idea that people would be able to talk anywhere from the Sahara Desert to the North Pole. They thought this would create value for customers.

The project required an investment of 7 billion dollars and it involved 88 satellites that were placed into orbit around Earth.

After the network was in place, they started selling the services. The handsets were large and clumsy because they required a more complex technology. They were also selling for $3000 apiece, and call charges were incredibly high. But hey, those devices would allow users to communicate anywhere in the globe!

A couple of months later, once the novelty wore off, people started to realize that there was not such a strong need to make calls from a remote city in Siberia or from an island in Polynesia, after all. But it was already too late. Motorola not only missed the sales expectations by far, but it was also forced to keep paying the maintenance of the satellites, which amounted to $200 million, monthly.

Motorola invested in what its managers thought would be a promising innovation, but there was neither a need to be met nor problem to be solved. In 1999, the iridium project filed for bankruptcy”.

The next step after that brilliant idea is to be double-sure it will solve a problem or address a need.

A thorough look into people’s needs can do the magic and bridge the gaps. Also, define your uniqueness to make it conventional. Your unique brand and selling point stars you in a cloud of many entrepreneurs.

How often do you do a primary reality check? Does it pay off? Share in comments.

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