A few technical, non-sales guys would like to know "Where to start from ?'


We have an idea and a proof of concept, the idea is pretty specific to stealthy debuggin and binary code analysis .

The problem is that we are pure technical guys,
we don't know the market and don't know how to sell.

What is the best option to start doing market research?

What is the best option or the first step to build a startup / start selling it?

Getting Started Market Market Research

asked May 17 '12 at 04:39
Dot Dot
6 points
  • If your main target market is programmers: buy an ad on stackoverflow:) – Frenchie 11 years ago
  • you should try mingling with the non-technical folks on this site who like doing sales: http://answers.onstartups.com/search?q=non-technical :D – Henry The Hengineer 11 years ago
  • As programmers, you don't have a need for your own product? Do you know 20 other programmers who would try it? That would be a good market. – Jeff O 11 years ago

3 Answers


From the little information you've given, it's easy to assume that you've fallen into the trap of developing a product before figuring out what the market needs.

In this case, I suspect you've scratched your own itch, so assuming your target market is other techies, talk to them. Lots of them. Find out if your proof of concept is something they want and will pay for.

If yes, tidy it up, make it live, sell it, listen for feedback, iterate.

If no, listen to feedback, understand their problems, solve those problems (a new proof of concept), ask if they'll buy it, etc.

You don't need to be a trained salesman to talk about your product.

No-one is going to steal your idea and if your idea is that easy to steal and execute, it's going to get stolen the moment you launch it anyway.

answered May 17 '12 at 23:06
Nick Stevens
4,436 points
  • Thank you Nick! Summed it up in a nutshell – Susan Jones 11 years ago


Learn what you don't know, not what you know.

A product is as much, if not more about marketing and selling than building the technology.

Specifically, before writing a single line of code, having conversations directly with your customers to see if they have a need they will pay for is critical.

Thinking you can outsource sales and marketing is like non-techs saying they can outsource development. Even if you don't do sales ultimately, you need to know how sales technically work online, because sales online are very different (and more technical) than sales in the physical world.

Check out some books like Running Lean by Ash Maurya, or The Lean Startup by Eric Ries in a bookstore.

answered May 17 '12 at 07:41
Jas Panesar
244 points
  • Definitely read The Lean Startup – Susan Jones 11 years ago
  • They've ALREADY built the product. There's nothing actioanble in what you say. – Frenchie 11 years ago


"There's nothing like great PR to kill a bad product" If you're just starting out, then you have a beta-ready product. The very first objective you need to reach is to have a market-ready product. To get there, you need a handful of users that you know really well and who can give you feedback on your product from an end-user perspective.

This feedback will be worth a lot: it'll help you make the adjustments necessary to build a market-ready product. And then, don't think of the product as just the executable code. Think of customer support, documentation...

So, to answer your question: start by evolving your product to be market-ready.

answered May 17 '12 at 09:31
4,166 points
  • Totally disagree. You should have tons of input from your potential customers and ideally also pre-sales before you build a market ready product. Otherwise you could be building something no one wants – Susan Jones 11 years ago
  • Hi. How can you trust those people that they won't steal our idea ? Should we make them all sign NDAs ? Spreading such things is a bit sensitive, and probably like all startups, how can we make sure nobody will try to steal the idea and use it w/ their marketing skills ? – Dot Dot 11 years ago
  • Get over the fear of someone stealing your idea. Ideas by themselves are worthless, execution is everything. Just one example but you will find many more saying the same thing - http://www.secretgeek.net/brilliantidea,asp.aspRyan 11 years ago
  • @SusanJones: totally disagree: at the ABSOLUTE beginning, you want just a few big inputs. And then, after you're launched and live, you want measure usage of all customers. – Frenchie 11 years ago
  • @dotdot - if you "know people really well" and they could turn around and build your product themselves, consider a partnership and get it in writing. – Jeff O 11 years ago
  • @dotdot: if you're pre-launch, I think it's reasonable to ask for an NDA. It won't protect you but if it makes you feel better then do it. In any case, use a software like camtasia to record how people use the software so that you get great feedback and make final pre-launch adjustments. – Frenchie 11 years ago
  • @SusanJones: his problem is GETTING tons of input from customers. Yes, once you have a ton of customers you should measure and quickly adjust based on that feedback. – Frenchie 11 years ago
  • If you are really an entrepreneur, you will find a way to get in front of potential customers and test your idea before you waste time and money building it. That doesn't mean that you can't have a prototype to show. Your customers are unlikely to steal your idea - they are building their own businesses. – Susan Jones 11 years ago
  • Additional to @SusanJones comment, if you can't find a way to get in front of lots of potential customers, you're also not going to be able to get in front of lots of actual customers. The latter requires the former. – Nick Stevens 11 years ago

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