Some Thoughts On Product

  • You don’t really know until you deliver something to customers. Having actual customers use and pay for your product is the best way to find out if your product is any good and what might need to change. The same goes for iterative changes to your product. Build, ship, repeat.
  • Data, both qualitative and quantitative, are only one piece of the puzzle. Don’t forget about intuition and imagination.
  • Ignore the competition. There’s plenty of pie to go around. Focus on making a great product and being good to your customers.
  • You don’t need to meet in person or be in the same location to collaborate and do great, meaningful work. This applies to ALL product disciplines (design, product management, engineering, QA, etc.).
  • Nobody has all the answers. Anyone who says or acts like they do is lying to themselves and those they work with.
  • Accept that you’ll make mistakes. It’s OK.
  • There are multiple good ways to solve a problem.
  • It’s OK to change your mind.
  • Great ideas can come from anyone and anywhere.
  • Start simple. You can always add more later if you really need to.
  • Too many meetings can be wasteful.
  • Don’t blindly follow process. Figure out what works best for you and your team.
  • Be careful what goals or KPIs you set. Many times they end up encouraging counterproductive, wasteful behavior and outcomes.
  • Never take credit for something you didn’t do. Give credit where credit is due.
  • Be wary of “experts”. We’re all just making this up as we go, so why not do what you think? This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn from others and consider others’ point of view.
  • Solve problems.
  • Question your assumptions.
  • Question all the things.
  • Most product and design frameworks and methodologies are the same. Same principles, different words.
  • Talk to customers. They are one of the greatest sources of insight and inspiration.
  • Build things you would use and enjoy.
  • Tinker and explore.
  • Hire only when you absolutely need to. Better to evaluate how you’re working and what you’re working on than to throw more people at a problem.
  • Don’t be afraid to stop doing things, remove features, or shut down entire products.
  • Your product is just a means to an end. It’s the value your product provides that people want, not the product itself.
  • It’s OK to NOT solve a particular problem or offer certain features. You can’t be all things to all people. Besides, doing less, but doing it really well can often set you apart from the rest.
  • Make decisions. The data and understanding you have will always be imperfect, so keep moving. See the first bullet above.
  • Be profitable.
  • Let your product speak for itself.
  • Eliminate any work that doesn’t effectively contribute to improving the product, the business, and team well-being. Beware of busy work.
  • It’s OK to take time just to think.
  • Writing and sketching are great starters and clarifiers.
  • Laugh at yourself and have fun.