This blog post can be summed into one sentence: “I talked to some people I know” is NOT market research!
Of course you should talk to people you know about your ideas, but you need to ask yourself, who is your target market?
Will your drinking buddies ever buy your enterprise software? Maybe they will, and count yourself fortunate if you play poker with only CIOs. But you probably interact with a lot of other people who are not actually in your target market.
It’s a good idea to get ideas from everyone, but you should put significantly more emphasis on feedback from the people who are actually part of the community you target.
It may be obvious that your high school buddy who runs his family’s (very successfull) car dealership doesn’t know enough about technology to give you feedback.
The really problematic conversations are usually the ones with people who are in the periphery of your target, just not IN it – people who sell to IT in other companies (especially ones with big established brands!), VCs who invest in tech companies, journalists and bloggers – even your fellow co-workers.
All of these people will have insights for you, and you should certainly pay attention to them, but you should never use the info you get from these people INSTEAD of having conversations with your actual target market, the people who will eventually buy your solution. They are the ones you really need to talk to.
If your day-to-day routine does not easily facilitate those conversations – make a point to make it happen. Find those people and talk to them in a way that gets unbiased feedback. Any market research firm would be happy to help.