Mini blog on building startups — Focus on your product

Antti Saarnio

You are building on a sand, if your product is no good. Your success eventually is defined by the greatness of your product

When we founded Jolla in 2012, I made one major mistake. I thought that it is fine, if I as a chairman of the company focus on strategy, business partnerships and fund raising and let the others take care of the product, as they had the background and know-how for it. I am not sure if my early involvement in the product design would have made the situation better or worse, but the truth is that as a founder, I could not escape the fact that when the first version of the Sailfish OS was not intuitive and user friendly*, I was responsible for it to my shareholders and investors. I definitely was also the one to suffer, when trying to sell the first prototype to investors and business partners.

I think my mistake is one of the most common mistakes startup founders with business background make. They tend to focus on business and funding, while letting the engineering team take care of the product. However, the product is the key to success. If your product is no good, however good is your sales pitch to investors and customer is, you are just building on sand and your startup house will eventually collapse.

As a founder you can’t escape the responsibility of how good your product or service is. Good user experience means everything and your success eventually is defined by the greatness of your product.

*) Eventually we got the user interface right thanks to focus group testing with users and great effort by Jolla’s design team.

Antti Saarnio

Written by

I am constantly curious to participate on the world changing projects. Founder of Zippie, co-founder of Jolla

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