The Google way of evaluating ideas

At Google they have a saying: think 10x.

The concept is simple. Focus on ideas that will be 10 times better than what exists today. The rationale is as follows:

Without a desire to bastardise their concept of 10x, it seems logical to combine the concept in a 2x2 examining market size and customer experience.

The product ideas we want are those that will be 10 times better than what exists today and that are addressing needs in a large market.

You can use this 2x2 to quickly evaluate and screen ideas removing those that are less desirable (small market or not 10x).

For example, some senior Googlers have told me that if a new consumer product does not have the ability to scale to 1 billion users, then it is abandoned. So you could imagine for them, you have this grid where a large market = potential to be 1 billion users and customer experience will be 10 times better.

A few pragmatic notes

Whether an idea will be 10 times better than what exists today is largely subjective. But that doesn't matter. What's more important is whether you are striving to build products with the right ambition that will be overwhelmingly better than what currently exists in the market.

Also, we should recognise it is rare to build and launch a product that is 10 times better overnight. More often than not, you're working towards a product concept over the years that will be 10 times better than what exists today.

Finally, this framework is good for the initial screening of rough product ideas. You should do a lot more due diligence and assumption validation before you start building a product :)

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A picture of Scott Thomson, Google Head of Innovation, Customer Engineering, and adviser to Alto

Google's Scott Thomson

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