Client VS Product Owner

When one comes to a shop - they are customers. When one comes to a bank they are clients. When one comes to an IT shop, who are they?

I am sure most of you just easily replied "clients" and most of you might just be right. Since how are web development services exactly different from any other services people provide to customers? It's the same deal here, you come and say what you want and expect an IT shop to build a mobile app or build a website for you. Which is quite fair.

Why not? How is this different from a hair cut? One comes to a stylist. One knows what they want, they just can't do it themselves. They do not have proper skills to handle their own haircut but they sure know what they want and how they want to get there. Seems legit.

So, one morning Joe woke up and realized: "I need an iOS developer for this amazing idea I have". And Joe was right. Joe had an idea and some understanding of how it needs to be shaped, but Joe had no development skills. So, Joe went looking for development services. He researched shops, did a pricing comparison, even asked about deadlines and prepared some description of his idea. Eventually, Joe felt he was ready to have a conversation with the chosen developer.

Joe was very excited about product development and he went on and on about how it would be cool for images to slide on swipe, and it would be amazing to have floating buttons, and even more perfectly if a button would appear and disappear on voice demand. His listener was an experienced developer, and even though he appreciated nice effect on the front-end, he knew, the main question here would be: what pains will your app solve? Who are the people you are going to present your app with?

Joe did not think of that. He wanted to create app, he needed great graphic designs and good look and feel. He had all of that figured out but he had no idea who his target audience would be. Joe did not want to answer those questions and he ditch the experienced dev and went on with other people, who were excited about the front-end effects too. What should have been 2 months development turned into 7 months and one thing Joe knew for sure - he was nowhere near. He could not even remember what was original idea was. It got lost behind the floating buttons and cool features and small changes here and there.

Joe spent something around $30k on development but he only got lost...

Why did this sad story happen to Joe? Because Joe was a CLIENT. Joe wanted to be right instead of thorough, Joe wanted to be excited instead of involved, Joe though his idea was unique because he did not hear it from any of his friends but he should have made a research, he wanted a bunch of nice looking code instead of a product.

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