Henry Ford famously said that if he asked people for what they want, they’d ask for faster horses. Henry Ford understood that the purpose of the horse carriage was to transport someone from point A to B quickly. Understanding this, he figured that the steam engine can be attached to a carriage creating an early version of the automobile.
Naturally, we tend to think in terms of solutions rather than problems. Back when I was a venture capitalist for FRV, I’d hear pitches from student entrepreneurs enthusiatstically pitching their product but rarely explaining the problem that they’re solving. More often than not, they were unable to explain the problem clearly, they realize they were solving the wrong problem, or they were trying to solve too many problems.
Fundamentally, as a product manager or an entrepreneur, thinking with a problems first mindset is vital. Much of a product managers time is spent determining which are the most important problems to solve.