How to give meaning to your product?

Write its post-mortem ahead of time

Most consumer products get phased out. In the consumer tech world all products get phased out; After all, tech advances make this an inevitable fact of life.

A tech product’s “half-life” is now measured in months, if not days, as is the case with some mobile apps that make it to the top of the app store.

Since every product has a finite lifetime, its creator should work on maximizing its impact and making people care about it from day one.

This is hard to do. And most times you have no idea where to begin.

Why not begin at the end? If you want your products’ users and customers to be inspired, you should strongly consider writing (aka typing) its post-mortem on day one.

When writing your product obituary, make sure you talk about:

  1. Why customers loved your product.
  2. How customers spread the word about it (to their friends).
  3. What differentiated it from everything else in the market.
  4. How it changed the life of its users (saved time, made them smarter/sexier/happier, helped them make more money)
  5. Why the timing of its launch was great.
  6. How the business model made its adoption even easier and resulted in creating an insanely profitable business.
  7. The size of the new market that it helped create.
  8. What — almost — ended up killing it (in other words identify points of failure).
  9. How it changed the world for the better.

Imagine if you knew from day one how the lifecycle of your product would play out. I am sure knowing the future would affect how you made decisions. Writing the post-mortem of your product on day one helps set the expectations and let you be in control. At the very least, it serves as a compass for your product development team, when they are deep in the trenches.

Death gives life a meaning; The obituary of a life well-lived is inspiring for all of us. Even that well-lived life is a product’s.