The Boring Letter
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The Boring Letter

Usage is oxygen for ideas.

Every month, I pick a question from readers and answer it as honestly and helpfully as I can. This month, something interesting happened.

This is a chat I’ve been having with a friend, working on a tech product in Montreal. We’ve been exchanging updates on our work quite often, and over this period, they’ve been going back and forth on their product launch. Last week, he told me why.

The company was started 8 months ago. They’ve been actively working on their product for roughly 6 months. During this time, they have pivoted 3 times, even before releasing something to the market!

This is wayy too long for a product, with no prior ‘outside’ validation, to be in the lab.

While talking to other early stage teams, I’ve seen this dilemma to ship, time and time again.

Here’s the thing.

The quicker you can get feedback on whatever you’re building the better your odds at making it something your customers want.

To quote Matt Mullenweg, founder of Wordpress:

“Usage is like oxygen for ideas. You can never fully anticipate how an audience is going to react to something you’ve created until it’s out there. That means every moment you’re working on something without it being in the public it’s actually dying, deprived of the oxygen of the real world.”

At Pathao, we realise that you can’t make a fool-proof a business in the lab. We value market feedback a lot.

Don’t over do it though

At Pathao, we’re not afraid to release a minimal product, gauge market feedback and iterate from there. It helps us test hypothesises faster and ultimately make better choices as a business.

There are many tools we use to do this smartly. We don’t test with all customers at once, we don’t test all features at once, our experiments are controlled, and a lot more. I will go into more detail in a future post if you are interested to know.

REMEMBER:

Usage is oxygen for ideas.

It helps ideas survive and evolve.

The best product validation check is usage by customers.

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Collection of essays by Ahmed Fahad on building startups in Bangladesh.

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Ahmed Fahad

Ahmed Fahad

Founding team / VP of Product @ Pathao (pathao.com); Global Shaper @ World Economic Forum. (ahmedfahad.com)