Some good methods for invalidating ideas. Method 2, which is morally grey, got ripped into on HN. To that I'd reply that lying is a part of life, and I challenge anyone to go a single day without telling even a single white lie. Not all lies are equal.
Here are the methods proposed to identify a "hair on fire" problem, as opposed to a nice to have:
- Get a focus group, talk to them about the problem you're solving, and then provide them with a URL where they can go later to sign up for the product.
- Cold-email 20 potential customers and offer to pay them money to use the product. When they do sign up, tell them the offer was oversubscribed and is not longer available.
- Create a landing page with a 10-step registration process. Drive traffic to it. See how far into the process people are willing to go (the further, the more desperate they are for the product).
The article also points out this doesn't apply to all product types.