Relevant problems Vs Cool solutions

We all know the story of Concorde. Most likely Airbus A380 is going down the same path. So what is common to these two planes? These are two iconic planes that epitomizes the marvel of aviation engineering. These planes are not only loved by the plane enthusiasts and the engineers but they are also the planes that lost in the aviation market. I am not here to say that people were wrong to applaud the genius of the engineering but I just want to say that markets work with their own laws. Markets work with its own problems and not the solutions that are liked by engineers. What seems awesome to an engineer can fizzle out in the market.

If I just wanted to conclude with the last line of the first paragraph I wouldn’t have written this post. Because, there is another theory that is exact opposite of my earlier conclusion has also worked especially in electronic and software markets. This theory is popularised by Apple Inc. Where the idea is that customer(read as market) doesn’t know what he needs and the company needs to make sure what it thinks is cool gets sold. In this case market is indeed in the hands of the engineers to shape it.

So as engineers what should we go after? Is it the problems or the solutions? As an engineer what is more important? Is it the relevent problems of the world or the cool solutions that interests us. At a higher level, to begin with, is there even a schism along the lines I am thinking? I will leave you with these questions. Feel free to comment what you think.