The Drake Equation
The bigger N is, the more likely we should have encountered civilization. But we haven't. And what does that have to do with product management, anyway?
- N = the number of civilizations in our galaxy with which communication might be possible;
*= the average rate of star formation per year in our galaxy
- fp = the fraction of those stars that have planets
- ne = the average number of planets that can potentially support life per star that has planets
- fℓ = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop life at some point
- fi = the fraction of the above that actually go on to develop intelligent life
- fc = the fraction of civilizations that develop a technology that releases detectable signs of their existence into space
- L = the length of time such civilizations release detectable signals into space.
Quote from Wikipedia
The problem with the Drake equation is that there are too many unknowns. How many planets support habitable systems. How many lives grow into sentient beings, and on and on. The number could be 1 (we humans) or trillions. As such, the trying to compute the equation is meaningless.
Applied to Product Development
Whether a start up or a well established company, new product development comes with a business plan and every business plan has a section that talks about how your product is going to take the world to storm. Unfortunately, it usually looks like the the Drake Equation with nearly as many unknowns.
This is a real working hypothesis I saw once upon time:
- R = The elusive revenue number
x= The masses who used email
- fe = The percentage of people relying on e-mail for a critical tools.
- fu = The fraction of those people that really had this problem.
- fc = The fraction of people who would pay for a solution
- i = The number of people who would convert from a free to a premium model.
- pu = The retention rate of the of the software.