Do you really need product validation when you already have lot of competitive products in the market and you are just trying to make it better ...?
I'm going to rephrase this question: Do I need to do customer development if there are already existing products with customers, and I just want to do what they're doing but better?
Yes. Without going through the discovery process, you won't know why people use what they use instead of competitors, you won't know what current pain points people have, and you won't know what's currently delighting them about their solutions. It'd be a shame if something you thought needed to be better was actually the thing existing users loved the most.
Feels like every day someone posts about spending years working on product they can’t charge much for and thus may need to start fresh. I’d say yes unless fortune favors you.
100% yes. Just because there are existing products doesn't mean the work is done for you, why would someone use yours over another product? And you can't just say 'because mine is better' because what makes it better? Knowing that requires validation to ensure it actually is better according to your target customers.
How do you define product validation? User hearing with non-product is unmeaningful. After creating MVP, you can start validating it.
I did make that mistake with Allured.ltd. I knew there's a need for book mockup creators because there are so many competing products. So I built it and nobody used it.
My product might be worse, but I almost found nobody to use it.
While I planned and estimated how profitable I could get, I completely eliminated the calculation and cost for customer accusation. After building a product, I tried google ads, soon to realize that, if you are charging $19/month, ads aren't a profitable way of acquiring customers. You don't afford it. At least, in my case, I couldn't.
All these after building the product. I wish I interviewed some people and could have saved so much time.
Do you need it?
Are you much more likely to succeed if you make sure there are people eagerly waiting to pay for your product before you start building?