Rarely do I hear a podcast that gives me pause long enough to force multiple listens. This week’s feature of Des Traynor did just that. It’s a must listen for anyone building a product. He’ll walk you from discovery through scaling with insightful lessons even grizzled vets can make use of:
Here are some classic product problems Des tackles:
1 - Founder Focus
- Customer focused – use customer conversations to drive decisions
- Pattern focused – use metrics to drive decisions
- Visionary – have a strong belief about the way the world should work and execute on that
- Artistic – execute for personal engagement with little regard to external perception
- Pick one and stick with it.
2 - Scope
Swiss Army knife vs scalpel. Be the scalpel. Your early product should be easy.
- easy to understand
- easy to test
- easy to compare
It should not do a bunch of things marginally well.
3 - Creep
Every feature should help more people or help people do more.
i.e. Each of your features needs to engage a larger audience or more deeply engage your existing audience. Celebrate usage - not launches. Focus on the core – launch features that help everyone – not a small segment (leads to consulting work).
Features are much harder to remove than launch. So, if you make a bad choice that feature will likely rot quietly in your product degrading the overall experience.
Apply these tests to all new features:
-Does this fit your company’s vision?
-Does the reward significantly outweigh the cost of adoption for a user?
-Will this grow your business (higher satisfaction, more users, more frequent usage)?
-Will it matter in 5 years?
-Can we support this feature if its successful?
Beware of features that drive engagement but destroy values. e.g. the LinkedIn/FB friend suggesters Now that everyone adds everyone else on those social networks users no longer have a list of their deep connections.
4 - Purpose
Understand jobs to be done. e.g. Analytics dashboards are often built to be presented. So, portability/aesthetics are more important than precision/detail.
Continue to innovate on your job not on a technology platform
5 - The New Magic (aka core trends)
What was once amazing innovation is now table stakes. These three things are must haves for products coming of age today:
- Do one thing – apps that can be operated with one click (Uber/Instacart).
- Data is there – by connecting to FB/LinkedIn etc. You can get all the data you need. Be very careful when asking users for data that you couldn’t get it elsewhere.
- Recommendation – systems are smart enough to deliver the information to you (ie in a daily email) rather than forcing you to go find it. Workstreams can be made increasingly more passive with daily digests and activity streams.