In this accessible, prescriptive, and widely applicable manual, Google’s first engineering director and current Innovation Agitator Emeritus provides critical advice for rethinking how we launch a new idea, product, or business, insights to help successfully beat the law of market failure: that most new products will fail, even if competently executed.
Millions of people around the world are working to introduce new ideas. Some will turn out to be stunning successes and have a major impact on our world and our culture: The next Google, the next Polio vaccine, the next Harry Potter, the next Red Cross, the next Ford Mustang. Others successes will be smaller and more personal, but no less meaningful: A restaurant that becomes a neighborhood favorite, a biography that tells an important story, a local nonprofit that cares for abandoned pets.
Simultaneously, other groups are working equally hard to develop new ideas that, when launched, will fail. Some will fail spectacularly and publicly: New Coke, the movie John Carter, the Ford Edsel. Others failures will be smaller and more private, but no less failure: A home-based business that never takes off, a children’s book that neither publishers nor children have any interest in, a charity for a cause too few people care about.
Most people believe that their venture will be successful. But the law of market failure tells us that up to 90 percent of most new products, services, businesses, and initiatives will fail soon after launch—regardless of how promising they sound, how much we commit to them, or how well we execute them. This is a hard fact to accept.
Combining detailed case studies with personal insight drawn from his time at Google, his experience as an entrepreneur and consultant, and his lectures at Stanford University and Google, Alberto Savoia offers an unparalleled approach to beating the beast that is market failure: “Make sure you are building The Right It before you build It right,” he advises. In The Right It, he provides lessons on creating your own hard data, a strategy for market engagement, and an introduction to the concept of a pretotype (not a prototype). Groundbreaking, entertaining, and highly practical, this essential guide delivers a proven formula for ensuring ideas, products, services, and businesses succeed.
Asking why some ideas succeed and some fail, Savoia, former director of engineering for Google, proffers a theory in his persuasive if unsubstantial debut: it's imperative to "make sure that you are building The Right It before you build it." For Savoia, all ideas can be classified as either the Right It "an idea for a new product that, if competently executed, will succeed in the market" or the Wrong It, which will fail under the same circumstances. The Right It beats the "Law of Market Failure": no matter how well implemented, "most new products will fail in the market." In finding an answer to the question WTF? (Why the Failure?), Savoia guides readers through creating conditions for the Right It: relying on data rather than opinions, clarifying one's thinking and logic, developing "pretotypes" nonfunctional mockups designed to test the desire for a new idea as well as workable prototypes, and choosing the tools at one's disposal. Energetic and clear, this would have made a good TED Talk, but as a book, it feels more superficial than substantive and does little to stand out from its competitors.