IMVU developed cool customized avatars for people and assumed that people would invite their friends to enjoy it also. They had a clear assumption that people will definitely use their product. They invested money and time in creating their product but once they asked people to try it they received a totally opposite reaction. Why is it that after investing so much time and money people didn’t like their product? It is because you can never be completely certain about your customer and the outdated ways of figuring out what customers want always beget incorrect findings and acting upon them ensures the doom of a startup.
The reason why IMVU failed is because they have invested too much in a procedure which is bound to fail. People rarely say what they want. Ask someone would you be interested in a phone which captures video like a DSLR? They will say, yes! Ask them would you be interested in buying this for a thousand dollars and the reaction you are going to get will surprise you. The thing is people don’t totally get your product unless they use it hence they are unable to make a clear decision. Using this approach is a wastage of time and money. Also, you don’t get correct data to make conclusive decisions about how to make the right product.
The dynamics of entrepreneurship are changing rapidly this is why it is the responsibility of an entrepreneur to adapt with it. Modern definition of Product states that it is an ongoing process. It means a product is never done. It keeps on changing to enhance user experience. How can we enhance a product if we act upon assumptions and preconceived notions about what people want we are bound to fail.
It has become necessary to engage the user in the process to create a product they will actually like and pay for. In order to find the validity of your assumptions you need to get your product in the hands of people who are actually going to use it. This helps you to avoid failure on a bigger level because you will be able to get valuable data about how you can tweak the product.
Many successful business started this way including Facebook. Initially it was launched as ‘The Facebook’ and lacked many of the features it has today to offer its users. If they would have sat on it to perfect on their assumptions they would not have succeeded. By launching an MVP with just a few basic features Zuckerberg was able to gather both quantitative and qualitative feedback about how to tweak their service and which features to include to serve their users better.
Traditional product development methods which requires a long period of perfecting the product have become redundant. In order to avoid creating a product that nobody wants launching a product with just basic functionalities to read customer behavior is better than wasting a long period of time and huge amount of money by putting too much effort in perfecting a product.