Every time I drive to visit family in Maryland I sit in DC traffic and think…”I wish we could teleport.”
Unfortunately, as far as I know, teleportation is not possible.
At one point in time, you could go online and purchase a usb pet rock.
This would be something that is possible, but not useful.
Yeah there is overlap between possible and useful, but I think which question you choose to answer will guide what you produce.
Is it possible?
This is where most innovation happens. Whether we are talking tech, science, or something else entirely.
Searching for new possibilities requires curiosity and imagination.
A curiosity-driven programmer might spend many sleepless nights working on a concept that is novel but far from useful. It is important work but rarely immediately useful.
Is it useful?
This is an entirely different question. One where possible is a pre-requisite.
It requires knowing what’s out there. What can be adapted and then implemented to meet the needs of real life people doing real life things.
Useful is about making the possible practical.
Which question are you answering?
Finding what is possible requires research, exploring, and prototyping. It requires keeping an open mind and sometimes failing to find a solution. Collaborating with others trying to solve the same problem speeds up the process.
Finding what is useful requires connection to people in need. Understanding broadly what is possible, then leveraging that knowledge to solve everyday problems.
Already know which question you’re trying to answer? Does your team?
And not to worry, even though the usb pet rock is no longer available, you can still purchase unicorn meat.