Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fighting the Five Core Product Problems ft. Des Traynor

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:

  1. Do one thing – apps that can be operated with one click (Uber/Instacart).  
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


  1. nice post ,


    Padmavathi Travels - We offer best service and best price in one day package from chennai to tirupati by car,chennai to tirupati tour package, chennai to tirupati
    package , tirupati packages, best tirupati package from chennai, car packages,one day trip from chennai, car rental package,balaji darshan booking, tirupati tour,sharing tirupati
    packages from chennai, Anna nagar to tirupati packages, tambaram to tirupati packages, velacherry to tirupati packages, T.Nagar to tirupati packages,tirupati mandir package from chennai.

    chennai to tirupati packages
    One day package from chennai to tirupati
    One day trip from chennai to tirupati
    chennai to tirupati package
    tirupati darshan package
    tirupati packages
    tirupati package from chennai
    one day tirupati tour package from chennai
    tirupati darshan booking in chennai
    tirupati tour
    chennai tirupati tour

  2. I needed to thank you for this incredible read!! I unquestionably adored each and every piece of it. I have you bookmarked your site to look at the new stuff you post. 성인용품도매

  3. For example, Korea completely bans pornography nicely as|in addition to} strongly prohibits nearly all forms of Japanese media. Rep. Celina Babauta mentioned she doubts if the “beautiful figures” offered by Yeom are “realistic,” referring to his projected potential income. “We had been promised a $7 billion business casino investor, Imperial Pacific International, and fast-forward right now, the 카지노 사이트 casino fee is in want of $1 million to continue to operate,” Propst mentioned. Yeom was invited by House Gaming Committee Chairman Edwin Propst to debate the problem with lawmakers.