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Illustration by Olga Zalite

Show me a product manager who touts the importance of talking to customers and I’ll show you a handful who find it challenging to maintain such habit.

Direct customer engagement is the best way to develop product judgement in order to make the right product decisions.

The argument that “Steve Jobs didn’t ask what customers want because customers don’t always know what they want” is faulty. …

How did you discover your last favorite product? From an ad, or from seeing it frequently surface in your social circle?

Did you then rave about it to others and make them suspect you’re making commission from luring new users?

The best products of the moment enjoy a cult following. Users are fans who advocate for them at every opportunity. The technical term for this phenomenon may be product market fit, but the real sprinkle of magic is “product essence”.

Photo by Aron

Products have an essence to them, a purpose for which they were made. …

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, Apple was bleeding money and sales was plummeting. There were many product lines and different versions of the same products made to meet different customer needs. One of the first things Steve did was to simplify the product line — cutting it by 70%. He mapped a simple 2x2 that outlined 4 products for Apple to focus on. Needless to say what happened to Apple afterwards 📈.

That was an extreme case of modular productization. But, the principle of this practice can benefit most scaling companies today.

📦 What is modular productization?

It’s the practice of standardizing the core building blocks (modules) that make up products. …


Christine Zhu

I write about product building, DTC products, and consumer behavior.

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