Facing Pain

Apr 19, 2016 · 4 min read
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Facing Internal Pain and Development of “baby” App

What drives us to start developing new a product?

In case of our “baby” app, the starting point was the “PAIN” — not the kind of pain we feel when we can’t hail a taxi (Uber) or can’t find a place to stay (Airbnb), but the psychological pain when we cannot talk to anyone even when we have an urge to do so.

When I think back, it was a good way to start, starting with my own internal pain. That’s because the opportunities to think about a concrete solution will come every time we feel a pain.

Also, if we think of a pain as an inquiry, the solution for the pain would be the answer to that question. Once we find a solution, that also means that we have found a way to use it and people who want to use it.

When we start something through our own pain, we gain the opportunity to think the unique and only one solution.

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If we come up with a good solution, we can recommend it to others with a deep sense of satisfaction. This is a really good thing from the marketing point of view. We are not good at recommending anything to others unless we ourselves are fully convinced of its value.

When we think about application, it might be not good way to think about successful existing application.

It’s because it was the specific pain for that particular person, and the solution was for the person’s specific pain only. It is not easy for others to understand the internal pain and the solution that are specifically geared towards dealing with the person’s internal pain.

In case of our “baby” app, we were trying to come up with a solution so that we can talk to someone whenever we want to. There were some focal points to consider: first thing to consider was “with whom,” and second thing was that this would deal with “the very act of talking.”

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Even from the beginning, we were pretty clear about the first point: we want to talk to ANYONE, anonymous strangers we do not even know. Encountering complete strangers anonymously sounded like a great idea.

The point is that we felt a huge possibility in encountering others for a chat (the first conversation with a stranger is often, albeit not always, the most exciting conversation you will have with them.)

For the second point, we thought about the very act of talking. We started to think of the way we talk not like the way we do in a text chat, but like we do in a telephone chat.

Then we noticed that the pain we feel when we make a phone call has not been eased even with the emergence of digital phone apps.

Someone could be an anonymous stranger”- it includes a solution for those who shut themselves up in the social media domain because of the difficulties of human relationship. We cannot escape or hide from SNS. But we doubted if we can talk whatever we like since the SNS has obstructive in one side.

By focusing on the very act of talking, we realized that this application includes the solution for the difficulties and pain people feel when making a phone call. The phone call or other digital chatting applications inflict unbearable pain on us. In other words, the pain of using a phone gave birth to our “baby” app.

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We came to realize that the solution of “baby” app includes the solution for the serious pain of phone call or digital chat. This painful condition (of when I want to talk but cannot) was the cue to redefine the phone.

The verification or hypothesis always requires assembling the pieces of that theory ourselves. First you need to try and test it yourself. Then you need to ask others to try it. I found, through developing this app, that we cannot move forward without having first tested and experienced ourselves. This is the invariable principle.

It is really difficult to estimate the effectiveness of the solution without any first-hand experience. In other words, if you feel satisfied with the solution and feel that the pain has been eased by it, the solution probably is the right one.

I think it is meaningful to think of an application as a solution for the pain we face internally. We hypothesize, test the hypothesis, and brush up on the theory. Rinse and repeat. Repeating these processes is the essence of application development. Stay tuned!

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