Many newbie entrepreneurs think they know exactly what the market wants. I know this, because I used to be exactly like that. But time and bitter experience has taught me – I don’t know what the market wants. And you reading this, neither do you. Let me explain.

Your range of experience in this world is limited. Even if you are a master mountain climber and a ninja programmer, you don’t know very much about knitting. Okay, let’s say you take up knitting and get to know a lot about that. You probably don’t know very much about the mating habits of the fly-eating plant. Our world is huge and everyone is pursing different interests. Once you leave the basic stuff like food, shelter and mating, people are interested in a very diverse range of things.

If you were given a task such as “find 3 items that will sell best in a market”, there is no way you can simply guess what those 3 items could be. Even if you pick what 3 items you think may sell because they would appeal to you, people who are like you may not be visiting that market. Or maybe you are simply a bit odd, and there are very few people similar to you who will like that product.

The point I’m making is this: if you try to guess what will sell, that’s a bit like guessing what direction the wind is blowing when you are still inside a room. The number of variables are huge, and that makes it really, really difficult.

The best way to figure out what will sell in a market is to look at what’s selling. Sounds basic, but so many people do not do that. Look at what people are buying, understand why they are buying it, and sell something that would do the same thing, but better or cheaper or faster. That’s a good way to find things that will sell.

It’s the same story when picking an idea for a technological product. Don’t try to guess an idea. Don’t pluck an idea out of the clear blue sky and assume you know what’s going to happen. First figure out if there is an existing market for this idea that will move over to your variant. Otherwise, it’s all guesswork, and guesswork is really risky.