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Deep Expertise: The Foundation of Successful Product Creation
Our journey to inevitability
A recent conversation with an aspiring founder led to an intriguing question: "How did you know that you were ready to start building your products?"
Of course, creating products isn't about one eureka moment or a quick sprint. It's a meticulous day-by-day process that unfolds over years. So, setting the final product aside, how do you reach this point of inevitability?
It all begins with developing deep, first-hand expertise in a specific area.
The birth of Semaphore
Having first-hand expertise gives you the power to intimately understand the market's pain points, gaps, and opportunities. It allows you to design solutions that are genuinely useful and desirable.
Rewind to the early 2010s, when our company, Rendered Text, was a modest web development consultancy. Every single one of us was on a mission—to become the best developer we could be. Automated code testing and deployment were the backbones of our workflow. As our team and the projects we worked on expanded, we realized the need to formalize the continuous integration process with a dedicated tool.
Our best option at the time was Jenkins—an antiquated software that required end-users to install and maintain both Jenkins itself and the infrastructure to run it—a far cry from user-friendly cloud products like GitHub and Heroku that we were already used to!
This glaring gap presented an opportunity. We envisioned a SaaS solution that required just minutes instead of days for setup, was inexpensive and fast, not expensive and slow, and offered one-click scaling over manual labor. We were confident we weren't alone—after all, we didn't invent the product concept or the core customer needs.
Our hands-on experience enabled us to design Semaphore's MVP with features that directly addressed the problems our very first users were willing to pay for.
In a nutshell, our journey with Semaphore wasn't sparked by a random inspiration or a casual idea—it began with an intense immersion in our domain and industry. That deep expertise gave us the lens to identify opportunities and create something genuinely helpful for our customers.
So if you're wondering when to kickstart your product journey, my advice is this—immerse yourself in an area where you have innate abilities and interests. Develop your unique expertise and let it guide you to the point of inevitability.