This is not much of a strongly held belief, but I definitely had to realize that I need to be patient with new people joining the company. It is easy to get frustrated by how long it takes to onboard new people, and it is easy to forget that I have spent now 7 years thinking about product management and learning everything about it. I am not smarter than others on our team, I just have spend much more time in the space and so as a result I have a naturally deeper contest. The advice I would give myself earlier on is to spend more time transferring what I’ve learned about the market to others. Actually I should be doing more of it even now. Thank you for reminding me!
Steve was (and is!) awesome, you are right that lean startup (or Steve’s Customer Development process) is focused on the early stages of a venture. Which btw is the gap I saw when starting Productboard and what we then captured in the Product Excellence framework - What I learned from Steve is the customer-centricity, the maniacal focus on customers and their needs, and then I added to it the aspects of longer-term vision and importance of a clear product strategy that gets you to the vision. The framework of 1. Vision 2. Strategy 3. Execution with the three key entities cutting across (1. Customer 2. Need 3. Product) works regardless of the stage of your product and you need to be very systematic about it. Which btw doesn’t mean that following a specific process will turn you into Steve Jobs, you still need to have the empathy and be obsessed by observing the world, but it does lower the risk of building something nobody needs.
Collectively, these responses aren’t just great urgings to acknowledge the complex nature of customer needs but they also offer accessible models to think through those complexities. Can’t wait to read the book you’re working on (and more interplanetary analogies :)).
Thanks so much for doing this, Hubert! And thanks to all the Relay founders who could make it with an excellent set of inquiries.
Thank you for having me, Akash, awesome questions and community, I’ve learned a lot here myself!
Thank you Hubert – the grey hair doesn’t show, honest! It’s clearly been an amazing journey so far, thank you for sharing and we look forward to seeing the platform continue to get stronger!
Thanks Hubert! It’s been great reading through all these responses. You have such a methodical way of dissecting the discipline of product-building. So many gems in here!
And your response to @navydish’s question is a much-needed reminder for all us founders:
“It is easy to get frustrated by how long it takes to onboard new people, and it is easy to forget that I have spent now 7 years thinking about product management and learning everything about it…The advice I would give myself earlier on is to spend more time transferring what I’ve learned about the market to others.”