AgTech Entrepreneur, start with - what do you need? not - what do you think?
We, at Alpha-Brown, have a unique perspective on the Ag-Tech world. On one hand, we have a wide access to farmers, and on the other hand we have close ties to the business sector - startups, as well as established companies.
A recurrent phenomenon we often witness is over-reliance on pilot groups and early adopters, which are oftentimes limited groups of farmers willing to try, usually for free, the new service/product.
In most cases, the feedback from these farmers ranges from good to excellent. This encourages companies to market the product, as is. However, this is the point where the gap is created, and in many cases, the rate of penetration to the market does not happen as expected and desired. The main problem lies in the fact that these small groups of farmers are technology-biased; they are aware that they are an experimental group, who receives great attention from the producer and more. I want to claim that although this step is vital, these groups do not necessarily reflect the broad image and the product/service's need in the real market.
So, instead of asking farmers of their opinion about the product/service first, companies should ask what do they need. By doing so, you will understand that farmers might need fewer features, or that you might need to offer several versions of the product/service - from the simplest to an advanced version. In most cases, we clearly see that the failure to develop successful tech products is related to the lack f understanding the broad needs of farmers.
That's what we're here for.