Building Products & The Importance of Focus

We live in a world of optionality. We are constantly being told to buy the newest product, read the latest article, and invent the next big idea.

Optionality can be positive, but the underlying attitude is often a dangerous path for product leaders who are selling their products.

Product Managers need conviction and focus.

I recently argued that Product Managers should only focus on one or two ideas at any given time, and there are good reasons for this argument.

If you have built products long enough, you‘ve probably worked with a Product Manager who “has an idea” for everything on your roadmap. Their ideas are broad and they haven’t spent enough time solving one problem.

In my career, I have observed that the Product Managers who succeed are those who stick with one idea for an unreasonable period of time.

This is no different than entrepreneurship.

Founders are asked to build one idea for a unreasonable period of time. VC’s who fund that idea seek conviction and focus.

Similarly, a CEO or VP of Product seeks to fund a Product Manager who has developed an original solution to a challenging problem — and for any problem worth solving, this requires time.

Focus on one idea that you are passionate about and make sure it aligns with the business goals at your company.

Do not become your product teams version of a used car salesman with many products to pitch and sell — that isn’t how you build great products.

Optionality is good. But focus is better.

And you can only build one great product at a time.

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