Building Products

Julie Zhuo
Jun 2, 2016 · 7 min read

I recently gave a talk at TNW Europe about a framework we use at Facebook to help us focus our product development process. Working on that talk got me thinking about the many other lessons I’ve internalized over the years about what it takes to build great products.

This list is not complete nor certain. If there were some perfect step-by-step instruction manual out there (Step 1: Start with inspiration. Step 2: ??? Step 3: Profit!), then we’d shell out good money for it and then pat ourselves on the back while watching amazing new products bloom around us like flowers fields in May.

The journey is 1% finished. Let’s keep trekking and learning.

On Framing

  1. A product succeeds because it solves a problem for people. This sounds very basic, but it is the single most important thing to understand about building good products.


  1. Good execution is about getting to believable conclusions in the shortest amount of time possible.

Measuring success

  1. How you measure success is critical to the long-term results of your team because it’s the thing that people rally around. Make sure to give this exercise the proper time and attention (more, even, than you would give to thinking about “how should we do this?”).

Team Dynamics

  1. Thinking in terms of your role (what’s expected of a designer? What’s expected of an engineer?) will cap your ability to have impact. Instead, think in terms of What can I do that will most help my team be successful?”

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The Year of the Looking Glass

A collection of essays by Julie Zhuo on design, building…

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