A common refrain when building new products is to build painkillers, not vitamins. It’s a way of saying - build products that solve a real problem for users. One they are familiar with, and hate dealing with.

Sometimes this is obvious - they will tell you their pain, and it will be obvious. Most times it’s not and takes investigation - through conversation, and the learning from building products that don’t work quite as well.

Innovating from first principles is an exercise in serving a customer need, with the best tools available to you at the time. This cycle takes many years and many companies die in the effort. Some can do it once, but very few can do it again and again.