Reinvent a Product From Scratch
24 September, 2021
What's more complicated than building a product? Reinventing one. Understanding the landscape from a new perspective is not as easy as one thinks. I have a 4-person team, and I reach out to potential end-users for product discovery to understand the challenges, but putting something in front of people is intimidating. No matter how many years of experience one might have, whenever it's about releasing something new 一, not an improvement based on customer feedback 一 that's a lot of work. Although I enjoy doing it, it's scary.
To get me out of such intimidation, I would do good market research to see the competitive landscape. I looked at the features, what they were putting forward in terms of their advantages, and their pain points, and if I was aligned with all of that. In my personal feeling, I wanted to be as good as everyone else, and then, knowing that I could improve things or bring a different point of view, I would proceed.
I noticed that when you accumulate a backlog of a lot of data, they come up with a fresh, blank slate. It becomes much easier to create something on the basis of something that can be improved. Now that I am working on a totally new concept, I face some market research challenges. Whether it's educating myself on why they need a particular feature or transitioning from existing technology to new tools, it has always been like a puzzle. Nobody wants to log in to 5 different websites, programs, or tools.
Part of it is an advantage of working at a startup. We have the developers, and the CTO, so we could discuss what we can do before putting it up on a page. Besides, if you have the CEO, who's as visionary and passionate as you are, that would be an added advantage. Typically, there are two types of product leaders:
- (i) Where they would lead the vision
- (ii) The founder who needs help with the translation of the product into functional business products.
When you have a vision, dream, or idea, be confident to move forward with it. The feedback might be scary or demoralizing, but people don't see what you do. You have to put the MVP, and actual users, measure them, and work towards the next round. There will be some business objectives that might weigh you down or change a little bit, but showing the growth, user interests, and products makes PMs the integrator.
- Look for good people to work and collaborate with through complementary skills. Try to recruit people who are more intelligent than you so that you can confidently hand over the work to them.
- Enjoy the process, and understand that every role and the new product has a new, fresh look. You'll have the confidence and be less scared of the unknown.
- Put yourself in your juniors' shoes, and you'll know what or how they might be thinking about the same thing that you are. Answer their silly questions because that's how both of you can learn.
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