So what, who cares?

Last week I attended the first Mass Innovation Nights event.  This will be a monthly event to highlight Massachusetts innovators by giving them a forum in which to showcase their latest products and inventions.  It was good to meet so many in the local innovation community, and a great way to learn what's going on in our own backyard.

The next day I was talking to Mark Roth about the event, and mentioned that while it was great to see all the new ideas, it typically took me several questions to get a sense of why I should be interested in them.  Mark called that the "So what, who cares" test.  Entrepreneurs, typically those in the technology sectors, are usually so engrossed in the nuts and bolts behind their invention, that they often skip the first step in explaining them.  At the end of the day, people don't buy cool technology.  They buy what that technology enables. 

Try Mark's test the next time you're evaluating a new idea.  The answer to the question, "So what, who cares" should be easy to understand, and it should matter.  What answers do you get when you ask that question of the new projects going on in your company?