Ideal backwards

I was listening to a podcast the other day with Stripe co-founder John Collison. Of the many things I pulled from the interview, I wanted to share a simple and profound thing for you to ponder.

When an industry, technology, or product area feels mature and “settled”, it doesn’t mean that it’s a bad space to build something new. In fact, such inertia or perceived product maturity may be signs of a huge opportunity. In these cases, you should build from the ideal experience backwards, as Stripe has done with its payments API.

John Collison

Did you catch it?

Build from the ideal experience backwards.

Let’s challenge ourselves to look from back to front and see where we can get closer to “ideal”. What is ideal in the first place?

Doing so will make something for our customers that’s different — not just better.

The light bulb wasn’t a better candle. The iPod wasn’t a better Walkman.

Replacements for a product rarely look anything like the original.

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