Does A Product Need To Solve A Problem – An Interview with Stephen Key

 Does A Product Need To Solve A Problem - An Interview with Stephen Key

Does A Product Need To Solve A Problem

I recently had the opportunity to interview Stephen Key, the author of One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work and also One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs: Live Your Dreams and Create Your Own Profitable Company.

In this segment of the interview, Stephen goes over the Does A Product Need To Solve A Problem.


Transcription for Does A Product Need To Solve A Problem

CHRIS HAMILTON: How critical do you think it is for a product to actually solve a problem? The reason I ask this is because I don’t think your guitar picks necessarily solved a problem. Well, maybe they did. They made kids feel cool. How critical is it nowadays to have something that truly solves a problem?

STEPHEN KEY: Well, traditionally that’s what we’ve been told to do when coming up with new ideas—to make sure the idea solves a problem. But most of my ideas just aren’t that creative. I don’t know. I mean, I’ve got some great ideas out there that I’ve licensed and sold, and they solve problems. The majority of my ideas just put a smile on your face. They’re fun. They’re whimsical. People like them. I guess I don’t see problems like some people do. I don’t design that way. I just try to find things that people will like and enjoy.

CHRIS HAMILTON: So you just dumb it down, make ‘em happy and there you go.

STEPHEN KEY: Well, not dumb it down. What I liked about the guitar picks was that we took an item that’s been around for forty years and turned it on its head. We had guitar picks shaped like Mickey Mouse. We did the trade shows. We won Best of Show at the largest trade shows with those guitar picks. Who would have known that would happen with such a simple idea and such a small change?

It always comes back to keep it simple, make it fun, and look at your market. We sold tens of millions of them and I got to meet some really amazing people.

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